Aimee Watson. File photo

Aimee Watson elected RDCK chair

The representative for North Kootenay Lake took over this week

Aimee Watson is the new chair of the Regional District of Central Kootenay board.

She was elected Thursday at the new board’s inaugural meeting following the recent municipal elections. Watson is the re-elected representative for Electoral Area D, which comprises communities in the North Kootenay Lake region. She succeeds former Nakusp mayor Karen Hamling as board chair.

Why did she want to be the chair?

“I love the work,” she told the Nelson Star on Friday. “I am passionate about local government, and I really, really love working for people, problem solving. I love the fact that we are on the ground and get to work with constituents directly.

“It is passionate work for me, it is ‘heart work.’ The people at the board table become my mentors and my colleagues and I want to work with them.”

Watson said forestry is an example of a complex issue that requires teamwork.

“When you bring that to the board table, in the context of what is actually our mandate versus our lobbying power, versus everyone’s diverse points on how to deal with it, I love that stuff.”

She said forest and wildfire issues, including emergency management, are top of mind for her and a priority of the RDCK board.

“What is the best way to be prepared for things when you have no idea what they might look like? There are a lot of moving pieces in that, and it will be a constant job to make it as seamless and responsive as possible.”

Another big issue is recycling, specifically finding a new agreement with Recycle BC.

As for chairing a large board with representatives from nine municipalities and eleven rural areas, “that’s the kind of thing I like, finding common ground. We are all there for the best of intentions [and we can] find a solution that is built on context that one or the other may not have had before.”

One new electoral area director — Adam Casemore, who was elected to represent Electoral Area C — joined the board and took the oath of office at the inaugural meeting. Returning representatives for the remaining electoral areas, both re-elected and acclaimed, were also sworn in.

Area A – Garry Jackman (Acclaimed)

Area B – Tanya Wall (Elected – Incumbent)

Area C – Adam Casemore (Elected – New)

Area D – Aimee Watson (Acclaimed)

Area E – Ramona Faust (Elected – Incumbent)

Area F – Tom Newell (Acclaimed)

Area G – Hans Cunningham (Acclaimed)

Area H – Walter Popoff (Acclaimed)

Area I – Andy Davidoff (Acclaimed)

Area J – Rick Smith (Elected – Incumbent)

Area K – Paul Peterson (Acclaimed)

Directors appointed by RDCK member municipalities—five of them new—were also welcomed to the board:

City of Castlegar – Mayor Bruno Tassone (New)

City of Nelson – Councillor Janice Morrison (New)

Town of Creston – Mayor Ron Toyota

Village of Kaslo – Mayor Suzan Hewat

Village of Nakusp – Councillor Joseph Hughes (New)

Village of New Denver – Councillor Colin Moss (New)

Village of Salmo – Mayor Diana Lockwood (New)

Village of Silverton – Councillor Leah Main

Village of Slocan – Mayor Jessica Lunn

Board meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. in the regional district boardroom, 202 Lakeside Drive, Nelson, unless otherwise specified.

Agendas and minutes are available on the RDCK website.

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