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Mack wins in SLRD's Area C, Macri returns in Area B

New board to be sworn in Dec. 15



With the election behind him, former Pemberton fire chief Russell Mack is looking forward to getting down to business as the new director of Area C in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).

"The first thing is just to go and meet with the administrator and sit down and have a talk, and then meet with the other elected representatives," Mack said.

"We've talked by phone, but I'd like to sit down and have a coffee with them, talk to them and see where everybody wants to go... there's some pretty important issues that are on the table right now."

The unofficial vote tally had Mack at 257 votes, while challengers Kevin Damaskie and Lee Brodowski had 221 and 97, respectively.

Having been involved with the administration process in his role as fire chief, Mack isn't worried too much about the learning curve that comes with his new position.

"I have a really good support group, and I have people that have been there before that I can talk to," he said.

"Being involved in a roundabout way, sitting in meetings like when I was the fire chief or the works manager, I was involved in all the managers' meetings, so I know how the process is supposed to work."

Likewise, Tony Rainbow — who was acclaimed in the SLRD's Area D — has some experience he can draw from to help him in his new role.

He was previously elected to Greenwood's Boundary Community Human Resources and Health Centre board, and spent time as the chair of the Surrey Food Bank.

Oddly enough, it's his approach as principal of the Midway high school that may serve him best in his new job.

"My job as a principal was to run the school, but also to make sure that every community felt that it was their school," Rainbow said.

Rather than hold parent meetings at the school, Rainbow would visit people in their communities as a more direct approach.

"What that did is it solved a lot of problems before they became a problem, because they could talk to me directly, they knew I was listening to them, and if I could do something I did, and if I couldn't, I would tell them I couldn't and I would tell them why I couldn't."

Rainbow is planning a similar approach in Area D, where he has already been out to several communities to hear the concerns of the electorate.

For incumbent Area B director Mickey Macri, the election process was a first.

Though he's been on the SLRD board for 12 years, this was the first time he was not acclaimed.

Though Macri's 75 votes edged out Eckhard Zeidler's 63 and Ron Rooke's 37 (unofficial), he said he would have liked to see a better voter turnout — something he would like to improve upon for the next election.

"Better communication needs to be done though for the Regional District out to all our communities, not just my area, but all of the Regional District to let everybody know there is an election, right straight through to all the First Nation communities," Macri said.

Now that the election is over, Macri would like to continue working on the Agricultural Advisory and Northern Economic Development and Initiatives committees.

Area A director Debbie Demare — who, like Rainbow, was acclaimed — said she's happy to see Macri return, if only for the sake of consistency.

Having two returning directors will also help with easing the newcomers into their roles.

"Obviously, the more you support other people in their learning, the better the whole group is going to function, and the sooner you can actually get to moving forward," she said.