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Ex-fire chief Mack rounds out SLRD Area C candidates

Newcomer Tony Rainbow acclaimed in Area D



After 18 years spent putting out fires as the chief of the Pemberton Fire Rescue Service, Russell Mack is hoping to douse some flames of a different sort.

The longtime Pemberton resident has put his name forward for the soon-to-be-vacant director's chair in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) Area C.

"Doing the fire chief job for 18 years, I was involved with all the meetings and just saw that there was cooperation needed between all levels of government," Mack said.

"It was just frustrating because I thought we could be doing so much better if we all worked together."

If elected to the SLRD board of directors, Mack would like to bring the strong working relationships he's developed over the years to the table.

In talking with residents of Area C, Mack has identified six key priorities held by electors in the area.

In no particular order, they are: boundary expansion, recreation, transportation, IPPs, infrastructure and the local economy.

"Obviously, forestry farming and tourism are our biggest things, and we want to make sure we maintain and enhance what we've got, and make sure that they're viable going into the future," Mack said.

He's also heard concerns about the high cost of fire insurance in some of the outlying areas, he said.

"That's going to have to be dealt with at some point in time, because the fire insurance is just ridiculous," he said.

"So we're going to have to figure out a way to improve on that."

The issues can be addressed, Mack believes, but it will take some creativity in terms of finances.

"All this stuff can be done, but it's all about money, right?" he said.

"And you've got to be conscious of the taxpayers and how much they can afford, but there's probably some creative ways to get things accomplished."

But the first step to addressing the concerns of Area C residents is cooperation, Mack said.

"Get all levels of government working together in a productive way so that we're all trying to accomplish something that's beneficial to the whole community," Mack said.

"I think that's the No. 1 priority, because everything else will sort of flow from that."

Meanwhile, political newcomer Tony Rainbow has been acclaimed in the SLRD's Area D.

According to an emailed campaign bio, Rainbow recently moved to Furry Creek from Surrey, B.C., where he lived for more than 20 years.

Rainbow spent more than two decades working in school administration before his retirement, serving 17 years a principal, eight as a vice-principal and four years on staff at the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

This is Rainbow's first foray into municipal politics, but he has "extensive experience working collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders and developing effective teams."

Rainbow was not immediately available for comment.

General voting in Area C takes place Saturday, Nov. 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pemberton Community Centre (7390 Cottonwood Street, Pemberton) and Blackwater Creek Elementary School in Birken.

Go to and search under the election 2014 tab for stories on all the candidates in Pemberton and the SLRD.

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