The Cowichan Valley Regional District honoured colourful and sometimes controversial former Area E director Loren Duncan for 15 years of service last week.
"Director Duncan is a tenacious person to have sitting at the board," said former director for Cobble Hill Gerry Giles, who came in to do the presentation, as she had served nine years with Duncan.
Duncan, who was known to be colourful and sometimes offbeat, always did his homework and stuck to his core values, whether they were fashionable at the time or not, Giles said.
He often thought of himself as the "official opposition" at the board table, she said, and could be a "little bit of a bulldog."
He was a leader in the area of environmental stewardship, she said, particularly for the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers, with a passion for "the need to value those entities and protect them for future generations.
He also "led the charge" on using riparian area legislation.
Duncan was ahead of his time in his call for parkland acquisition, she said, and he was also in the forefront of trying to get funding for the Hospice Society from Island Health. It’s an issue that is going to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this fall. Duncan also played an instrumental role, as the CVRD’s representative on treaty negotiations with First Nations, in changing the district’s relationship with their aboriginal neighbours.
"Loren is tough, he’s outspoken and at times you could say he’s even over the top, but at all times he acted in the best interests of the community and the best interests of the people in his area," Giles said and his voice will be missed at the table.
Duncan urged those on the board to continue the fight on dirty dirt, a term he coined for contaminated soil, getting more recognition for the Koksilah River, and finally starting work on a regional growth management strategy.
"It’s been a great 15 years to serve the public and I thank you all," he concluded.