Ian Morrison is the new chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Morrison has served as director on the board for Electoral Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) for 10 years, and was vice-chair of the board for the past year.
He was acclaimed director of Electoral Area F for another term in the municipal elections on Oct. 30, and was elected as chairman at the board’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 7.
Morrison was challenged at the meeting for the chairperson position by Aaron Stone, the mayor of Ladysmith, and Klaus Kuhn, director for Electoral Area I (Youbou/Meade Lake).
Stone dropped out of the race after the first ballot, and Morrison defeated Kuhn on the second ballot in a 10-5 vote.
Sierra Acton, director for Electoral Area B (Shawnigan Lake), was elected as vice chairwoman of the board.
Morrison said he was pleased to be finally elected chairman after three attempts during his decade on the board.
He said his first main priority is work with the new board to fill committee and outside appointments.
“Some of the directors are brand new, so they will need to find their feet and voices,” Morrison said.
“There will be a lot of work in the weeks ahead to discover their skill sets and interests to determine what roles they will play. The board is filled with diverse people with diverse views. In my speech to the board, I talked about the three pillars of sustainability — economic, environment and social — and we have advocates for each of these pillars on the board, and that’s good.”
Morrison said he will be expected to make some of the appointments, and others will be appointed by the board, but he’s seeking consensus from the board on all appointments.
“We’re just at the first step in a long journey,” he said.
Morrison said his priorities as chairman are second to the will of the board, but he’d like to build on the successes the district has had at improving community engagement and consultations.
He said he wants to take it to the next level and improve the public’s interactions with the CVRD even more.
“The organization itself is on a fairly firm footing, but there are specific areas where I think we can improve,” Morrison said.
“One of those is the time it takes for us to process development, zoning and other applications, which I would like to see sped up. The numbers of applications being received is increasing, but we need more human resources and that’s a problem.”
Morrison said schools are producing plenty of municipal planners, but there are not many qualified to meet the district’s needs at this time.
“It’s a challenging labour market for us, but it’s very early in our mandate so we’ll see what we can accomplish,” he said.
“I’m very excited about the next four years and I hope and expect that every member of the board will bring their ‘A’ game to serve their communities.”
This story has been corrected to reflect who dropped out of the race for chair of the CVRD first, and that Sierra Acton was elected to the position of vice-chair. The original story contained incorrect information.