The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) has unveiled its new board of directors.
Municipal and electoral area directors conducted their oaths of office in front of Tracy Green, Justice of the Peace in and for the Province of B.C., at the inaugural board of directors meeting on Nov. 9, 2022.
Bob Beckett is returning for his second term as director for Bamfield, while Penny Cote is representing Sproat Lake for her sixth term. This will be the first term for Fred Boyko (Beaufort), Vaida Siga (Long Beach) and Susan Roth (Beaver Creek).
While Cherry Creek is still waiting on the results from an application to the Supreme Court, which will determine whether or not a byelection will take place, director Mike Sparrow is representing Cherry Creek on the board until a decision is made.
Directors for Port Alberni (Sharie Minions and Debbie Haggard) and Ucluelet (Marilyn McEwen) also took their oaths on Wednesday. Tofino councillor Tom Stere will return to the board for his second term, but was unable to join the meeting in person. Stere will instead complete his oath prior to the next board of directors meeting.
The four Maa-nulth Nations on the board (Huu-ay-aht, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht and Yuułu?ił?ath) did not have elections this year, so the directors representing these nations were not required to take oaths on Wednesday.
As their first order of business, the new board voted for their chairperson and vice-chairperson. Huu-ay-aht councillor John Jack was re-elected as board chair by acclamation, while Haggard was elected as vice-chair.
Jack called the new board “a team with potential,” making note of the even split between male and female members on the board (seven men and seven women).
“I see people with working class backgrounds, professional backgrounds, people with experience in natural resources and land use, people with medical backgrounds as well as fire service backgrounds,” he said. “It’s a strong group. That’s something that gives me a lot of hope.”
However, there are still First Nations without a voice at the board. At this time, provincial legislation says that only treaty nations can join regional districts as voting board members, but there are six other First Nations with territory in the regional district that are not treaty nations (Ditidaht, Hupacasath, Tseshaht, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht).
“It’s time for that to change,” said Tseshaht First Nation elected councillor Harley Wylie on Wednesday. “We all have to work together to make this region successful and prosperous.”
Representatives from both Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations were invited to welcome the new board to their territory on Wednesday. Hupacasath elected Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder thanked the board for showing respect with the invitations.
“This is paving a new way,” she said. “Even though we’re non-treaty, we’re exercising our rights and titles more and more. You have an opportunity in your next term to lead the way, if you decide to bring on the Hupacasath and Tseshaht as non-treaty voting members of your board.”