New Board Chair and interim CAO for Regional District

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, December 15 2015

Bill Veenhoff is the new Chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN).

Bill Veenhoff, who represents Electoral Area H (Shaw Hill, Deep Bay, Bowser) defeated Joe Stanhope, Director for Electoral Area G (Dashwood, Englishman River, French Creek) at the Board meeting held this past Tuesday, December 8. Stanhope has been the Chair of the RDN for the past 15 years, and will remain on the board as Director for Area G.

Colin Haime, representative from the District of Lantzville, is the Deputy Board Chair.

Veenhoff said he ran for the chair position as he was getting pressure from some of the other directors to do so.

“I put my name forward in 2013; it was probably time that we got a fresh set of eyes on the whole thing. I think I can do a fair job.”

As for his agenda, Veenhoff said there are things he “and other directors want to push.

“The fundamental priority is to protect the federation - make sure that as electoral areas and municipalities with divergent priorities, we maintain good dialogue and healthy communication.

“I sense a desire for a greater empowerment of the directors so we can influence the things the staff are working on for the betterment of our ratepayers. The other priority would be that staff continue to work in a safe and engaged healthy environment.”

Veenhoff said the Board will be facing some immediate challenges, both with a long-term strategic planning process which kicked off on Thursday last week, and in filling the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the RDN. Current CAO Paul Thorkelson tendered his resignation in November. Dennis Trudeau has stepped up to stand as interim CAO until a permanent one is hired.

Howard Houle, Director for Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy Islands), said Trudeau made total sense as the interim CAO. “He’s served as General Manager for Liquid Waste; Solid Waste; and Transit - our three biggest functions. He’s well qualified for it.”

Veenhoff said he wants to make sure Trudeau is successful, and is looking forward to the hiring of the new CAO.

“It will be critical as it will determine the tone of the RDN for the next several years.”

Veenhoff said, “It is worth mentioning, Joe [Stanhope] has left the RDN in great shape and he can be justifiably proud of his accomplishments. All the residents of the RDN need to be thankful that Joe was there when he was.”