Jon Lefebure

Lefebure new CVRD chair

It may be a familiar face at the head of the table.

It may be a familiar face at the head of the table.

But this could be a new-look Cowichan Valley Regional District board.

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure was elected chairman Wednesday, but not before the new directors served notice this term may be marked by a new way of doing things.

New Cobble Hill Director Matteus Clement shook things up during the election of the chair, by asking for a candidate question period prior to the vote.

Staff recommended against the move because the board had no chair and doesn’t typically conduct business without one. But Clement suggested if the move broke no rules, then common practice could fall to common sense.

“Common practice should involve some transparency and accountability,” he said. “I think that appointing such an important position — not only financially, but this is the spokesperson of the Cowichan Valley Regional District — (warrants this).

“I would like to be able to ask these people questions that I haven’t been able to ask.”

Veteran Saltair Director Mel Dorey supported the move, which eventually passed after some debate.

“It shows that the board is open and that we are not closed to a new type of thinking, and they will be welcome at the board table to make new changes if they see that they need to be made,” Dorey said.

Lefebure said he is very optimistic and excited about the board and its mix.

“I do not like backroom politicking, which is divisive. I do not like cliques or believe in a division between electoral and municipal members. Historically, there have been efforts to create power bases based on that division, a practice that is not based in my belief in logic or reality,” he said.

“The truth is that we are all elected…and we come to this table and are tasked with the additional responsibility of being concerned for the entire region.”

He will lead a board that will include six first-time directors: Clement, Kerry Davis (Mill Bay), Sonia Furstenau (Shawnigan Lake), Alison Nicholson (Sahtlam/Glenora), Rob Douglas (North Cowichan) and Bob Day (Lake Cowichan).

Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo — who, along with North Oyster’s Mary Marcotte, was also nominated as chair — is the new vice-chairwoman.

Former chairman Rob Hutchins was appointed to the board again despite now being a councillor — not mayor — for Ladysmith. He will sit on the board until June 30, and Mayor Aaron Stone is the alternate for Ladysmith until June 30.

Hutchins joins Dorey, Iannidinardo, Marcotte, Lefebure, Ian Morrison (Cowichan Lake South) and Phil Kent (Duncan) as directors returning from the previous term.

Tom Walker (North Cowichan) and Klaus Kuhn (Youbou) will also be back at the table after not holding office the previous term.