There was a bit of a surprise Wednesday night as Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton was elected as chair of the North Okanagan Regional District board.
Acton was chosen by secret ballot — following an official swearing-in ceremony for the 14 directors on the board.
He defeated Electoral Area B director Bob Fleming who was also running for the post which he had held for the past two years.
“My availability is 100 percent,” Acton told directors in a short speech ahead of the election. “I believe in equity, equality, honesty and ethics.
“Everyone should feel heard and should be heard.”
Newly-elected Area C director Amanda Shatzko, who is in her rookie year as a regional politician, was acclaimed as vice-chair after Fleming declined a nomination for that position.
Acton is hoping his small town experience will help when dealing with contentious issues in the North Okanagan.
“As a small town mayor, we don’t have a lot of involvement with some of the things that go on at the regional district. It gives me, I think, the ability to remove myself from a lot of the more contentious issues between the bigger centres,” Acton told Beach Radio News following his election as chair. “I’m hoping that we can create a lot of really open dialogue and create some real teamwork at the regional district.”
Acton also praised his predecessor, Bob Fleming, for a “good job in raising the level of awareness for what the regional district does in the region” adding that he hoped to “step it up a notch.”
When asked if her election as Area C rep and as vice-chair would mean a better relationship with the City of Vernon than had been seen in the past, Shatzko said, “I believe so.”
“I’m known for sitting on boards with regards to working with diversity and inclusion so, having open conversations as well as collaborating and working with different groups, that’s what I’m really open to.”
At the start of the meeting, all 14 directors took an oath of office administered by Judge Jeremy Guild.
Chair Kevin Acton – Village of Lumby
Vice chair Amanda Shatzko – Electoral Area C
Bob Fleming – Electoral Area B
Rick Fairbairn – Electoral Area D
Hank Cameron – Electoral Area E
Denis Delisle – Electoral Area F
Shirley Fowler – City of Armstrong
Jim Garlick – District of Coldstream
Brian Schreiner – City of Enderby
Christine Fraser – Township of Spallumcheen
Victor Cumming – City of Vernon
Akbal Mund – City of Vernon
Dalvir Nahal – City of Vernon
Brian Quiring – City of Vernon