50 years of RDCK

The Regional District of Central Kootenay celebrated its 50th anniversary in December 2015

The board of directors for the Regional District of Central Kootenay consists of one representative from each of 11 electoral areas and nine municipalities.

The board of directors for the Regional District of Central Kootenay consists of one representative from each of 11 electoral areas and nine municipalities. — Photo courtesy RDCK

It’s a big year for regional districts in B.C., as more than a few of them are celebrating their 50th anniversary since being incorporated in 1965. Among that number is the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK).

The Central Kootenay Region encompasses 11 electoral areas (Areas A through K) and nine municipalities: Castlegar, Creston, Kaslo, Nakusp, Nelson, New Denver, Salmo, Silverton and Slocan. Each area and municipality has one representative on the RDCK board of directors.

Electoral Area directors serve a four-year term, while municipal directors—almost always the mayors—are appointed by their council to sit on the RDCK board for a one-year term. For the mayors, that one-year term is invariably extended for the duration of their term in office.

The stated mission of the RDCK board is: “To provide area residents and communities with services, governance and representation in a manner that supports the economic, social and environmental goals of the region.”

Lawrence Chernoff, long-time mayor of Castlegar, kindly provided us with insights into the RDCK gained from his years as a director on the board. At present, he is vice-chair of the RDCK board.

“I think that the most important benefits that the residents get from the regional districts come from the fact that the rural areas and the municipalities work together,” Chernoff said. “It’s important that the district functions as a whole for the advantage of everyone in every area. We continue to work together—to give and take—and accomplish things.”

That collaboration means the sharing of costs and resources, and it gives the rural residents a louder voice in the larger political and economic landscape.

“Regional districts enable electoral areas and member municipalities to partner to provide services requested by their residents,” said RDCK corporate officer Anitra Winje. “These services can be regional, such as mapping, sub-regional (delivered to two or more members in the region) such as transit, or local (provided to an electoral area or a defined portion thereof) such as street lighting.”

For a list of approximately 165 services delivered by the RDCK, please visit http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/government/welcome.html

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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