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Farewell to outgoing RDCK chair and directors

Long time director and chair John Kettle and several directors were thanked for their years of service at today's meeting.
Regional District of Central Kootenay board chair John Kettle (centre) receives parting words from board vice chair Lawrence Chernoff (left) and former board chair Gary Wright at Thursday’s board meeting.

Whether it be retirement, or lack of re-election, the Regional District of Central Kootenay board bid a fond farewell to chair John Kettle and several directors at today's meeting.

After 12 years on the board, Kettle said one thing that changed was his level of expectations.

“When you get in there, you just want to get things done,” he said. “Government, by its nature, is as slow as a slug.

“There are things you want to see get to the front. When they finally get there, you either win or you lose: they are defeated or amended, but there’s a lot of compromise. Politics by its definition is the art of compromise.

“You get a reality check of how slow it moves through the system. You want to leave it better than I found it.”

He said at the end of the day, it’s about the tax payers being better served because of what directors have done.

As a director of Area B, rural Creston, the highlight accomplishment for Kettle was the construction of the Creston recreation centre. “It’s been absolutely huge for our valley, second to none, in my opinion.” Kettle said he was one of only a couple of directors on the board when the project began who got to see the centre through to completion.

His parting words for his fellow board members were full of praise.

“We’ve got a really good board,” he said. “They work really hard and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. I can retire knowing that we did our best and we left it better than we found it.”

Former board chair Gary Wright (former New Denver mayor for over two decades) attended the meeting and gave Kettle a good natured roast during the presentation along side board vice chair Lawrence Chernoff. Kettle later said, “Wright is one of my mentors.”

As a parting gift from RDCK staff he received the book, Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia and a tiny red chair. “I think it’s because I served two tours in Vietnam,” he said.

For the immediate future, Kettle and his wife are going to Alabama for two months for their first “real vacation” in 12 years.

“We’ve rented a cottage on the shores. We’re going to stick our feet in the sand and have gravy and biscuits for breakfast.”

Although Kettle is originally from Texas and his wife from Mississippi, he said he’s proud to be Canadian and they’ll have cable so he can still watch hockey games.

Outgoing directors Ann Henderson (Salmo), Hillary Elliott (Slocan), Andy Shadrack (Area D – Rural Kaslo), and Ron Mickel (Area F – Rural Nelson) were thanked for their years of service as they end their terms, as were John Dooley (Nelson) and Gordon Zaitsoff (Area J Lower Arrow/Columbia), who were absent.

A new chair will be elected and new board members will be inaugurated during the December 11 meeting.