Squamish director Patricia Heintzman will sit as Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board chair in 2013 after she was acclaimed to the position at the start of Monday’s (Dec. 17) monthly meeting in Pemberton.
Heintzman was nominated by outgoing chair Susie Gimse. The Area C director had served in the position for the past two years.
Heintzman thanked the board while accepting the position.
“That’s a lovely vote of confidence and I’m looking forward to 2013,” said Heintzman, who also spurred a round of applause after thanking Gimse for her efforts as chair. “She’s guided the ship through some challenging times, done it with aplomb… and has been extremely valuable to the regional district.”
Whistler director Jack Crompton will serve as vice-chair for the next year, having been elected to the position on Monday. Crompton defeated Electoral Area A director Debbie Demare in a secret-ballot vote that Heintzman said was close.
The board authorized nearly $28,000 from Area D select funds to be spent on three different projects in Furry Creek and the Upper Squamish Valley during Monday’s (Dec. 17) board meeting.
Among the three initiatives supported for funding was the facilitation of community meetings between stakeholders in the Upper Squamish Valley to help determine the future direction of the area.
Area D director Moe Freitag said with a number of varying interests in the region — ranging from residential properties to sawmills to music festivals and more — it’s been difficult to reach a consensus on certain issues.
“They can’t seem to come to any sort of agreement on the direction of the community,” Freitag told the board. “It’s a major drain on staff and it’s ridiculous how much time has been spent on a few issues up there.”
Freitag said the focus of the meeting would be on developing a five- to 10-year plan as envisioned by local stakeholders that can help inform future decision-making.
“(This will) give us a tool to go back and say, ‘This is what was said in those meetings,’” Freitag said.
The other two funding initiatives apply to Furry Creek. The first calls for a $9,000 for sidewalk improvements, subject to a legal opinion on service boundaries.
Freitag said developers installed the sidewalks but that no service agreement was ever reached for maintaining or repairing them. He said he brought the issue to the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), which suggested removing the sidewalks altogether.
“I don’t think that’s an option,” Freitag said. “My wishful thinking is that I’ll pony up some of my select funds and then maybe we can work with MOTI to come up with some funds and get the project done.”
Almost $14,000 was approved for the maintenance and capital costs associated with train whistle cessation in Furry Creek. Freitag saluted the work of SLRD staff for engaging CN Rail officials in talks about the issue.
“This is a project that (former Area D director John Turner) has been working on for years and it’s finally moving forward,” Freitag said.