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Turner elected chair of regional district board

The board of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has elected John Turner as their new chairman.

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Turner, who is the electoral area director for Area D, which stretches south of Whistler to Lions Bay, won the majority of board votes at December’s monthly meeting last Friday. He thanked the board for their confidence in electing him saying, "I’ll do the best that I can and I’m looking forward to it."

He is well aware it will be a busy year for the board members as they work to complete the Regional Growth Strategy, which is a long-term planning document for the region, as well as an Emergency Preparedness Plan. But he said he’s ready for the challenge.

Turner beat out 2004 board chair Susan Gimse for the position.

Both were nominated by fellow board members and each gave brief presentations highlighting their skills and passion for the job.

Turner, who has been an electoral area director for two years, focused on his work on several committees, such as the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan, the Sea to Sky Trail Committee, the Howe Sound Community Forum and the Lower Mainland Treaty Advisory Committee.

"I like to think I’m a team player," said Turner in his pitch to the board.

Gimse, who has been a director on the board for 11 years and is the electoral area director for Area C north of Pemberton, said the regional district has experienced many changes over the last several years. Some of those changes include a rapidly growing population as well as the plethora of independent power project applications on regional streams. Gimse said she was proud of how the board has reacted to those changes.

"There is a greater level of confidence in this regional district," she said.

In the end however the majority of the board, which is made up of the mayors of Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton and Lillooet as well as electoral area directors, voted for Turner.

Later in the meeting the board voted on the vice chair position. Again there were two nominations: Gimse and Lillooet Mayor Greg Kamenka. The board chose Kamenka, who has been a director on the board for two years, as the 2005 vice chair.

Every year the board elects a chair and vice chair in accordance with the Local Government Act.

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