Bob Wells, right, arm wrestles Edwin Grieve after the two directors each received five votes for chair of the board, Tuesday at Comox Valley Regional District chambers. Scott Stanfield photo

Bob Wells, right, arm wrestles Edwin Grieve after the two directors each received five votes for chair of the board, Tuesday at Comox Valley Regional District chambers. Scott Stanfield photo

Courtenay mayor to serve as regional district chair

The vote came down to name drawn from hat

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells has added another title to his name.

Tuesday at the inaugural meeting of the Comox Valley Regional District board, he and Area C director Edwin Grieve were nominated to serve as chair of the 10-person board. Each received five votes after two separate elections were conducted. So it came down to names being drawn from a hat. Obligingly, outgoing chair Bruce Jolliffe drew a name — and announced Wells the winner.

Area B director Arzeena Hamir was elected vice-chair.

Grieve, who served four years as CVRD board chair and two years as vice-chair, thinks the chair’s effectiveness diminishes by a quarter if a mayor takes the seat.

“Things like the Mayor’s Lunch would suffer without the perspective of the 23,000 people who live outside the municipal boundaries,” Grieve said in a speech before directors cast their vote. “My focus is for the welfare of the entire Comox Valley as a whole. My interest is to be an honest broker.”

Wells, who chaired the water committee, thanked Grieve for being a mentor during the past term on the board.

“He was the person who put me up for the water committee, and I think without that, I would not be here today. I expect that you will challenge me, and keep me on task. I actually expect that from everybody here.”

Wells foresees a number of major challenges over the next term. Among other things, he hopes for a review of the Regional Growth Strategy to help clarify and streamline the document that guides growth in the Comox Valley.

“But also there’s things to celebrate,” he said, noting staff efforts with the sewer treatment facility, and an impending Liquid Waste Management Plan.

“One of the things I will be looking for as well is continuing to improve on our communication to make sure the Comox Valley is aware of what we’re doing, what the challenges are, and that we engage with them to help bring us some solutions.”