SLRD board re-elects chair and vice-chair 

Patricia Heintzman and Jack Crompton to hold down top jobs for another year

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Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) chair Patricia Heintzman is going to hold onto her regional district job for the year ahead.

And Whistler councillor Jack Crompton was re-appointed to his role as vice-chair.

At the end of every year the regional district board votes to elect a board chair and a vice-chair.

The decisions were made at the regular meeting of the board on Monday, Dec. 16. Area D director Moe Freitag said he fully supports Heintzman's work as board chair.

"She's got a significant amount of experience," said Freitag, who recently announced he won't seek re-election to the SLRD board in municipal elections set for late next year. "I like having a municipal director as chair because I can hold them, in my opinion, to a greater level of account for their electoral area issues. They have a responsibility to the regional board and they also have a responsibility to their taxpayer but their primary role, the way I understand it, is their responsibility to the regional district. So, it puts (them in) a situation where they really have to expand their horizons, put their regional hat on and (be equitable)."

Heintzman said she learned a great deal about regional district issues in her first year as the board chair.

"The board's done a lot of work this year," said Heintzman.

She's looking forward to building on the successes the board had through 2013.

Raises approved

The SLRD board members voted on two pay raises at their meeting in Pemberton. A recommendation from the budget committee suggested the electoral area directors should receive an increase of $2,000 for their work in the year ahead. It means the directors will be getting a base pay of just over $12,000 a year for the work they do as elected officials. The recommendation was unanimously supported, as was a recommendation to give permanent, full-time SLRD staff members an extra $500 a year to be spent on health and wellness in the form of a gym membership, regular yoga sessions or some other fitness initiative.

The pay given to directors was adjusted last year so each year the base rate of pay is increased equal to the Consumer Price Index, but the base rate of annual remuneration for directors hasn't changed since 2004.

"What the board was acknowledging there was work that electoral area directors have to do in their roles," said Heintzman.

"We realize how much work and how much dedication it takes to be an electoral area director."

Heintzman added that the raise probably doesn't fully acknowledge the amount of work the area directors do in their elected roles.

Flood mitigation funding approved

The SLRD directors voted to use regional district reserve fund money to help finance needed flood mitigation work on the Birkenhead River behind the Continental Pole operations.

More than $600,000 in bridge financing will be used to get the work going. Once other levels of government release funding for the project the SLRD money will be reimbursed.

Heintzman said the move isn't costing the SLRD anything and it ensures the project is launched in a timely fashion.

WORCA makes funding request

The SLRD board members heard a presentation at their monthly meeting from Jerome David, president of the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA).

WORCA is working with six other organizations and businesses, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler, to forward a trail construction project. The 10-km Sproatt Multi-Use Trail Project is budgeted at $200,000. Construction of the trail from the existing Flank Trail up into the alpine above is expected to take three years.

David requested $20,000 a year over the three years as the SLRD contribution to the project. The request was referred to future SLRD budget discussions.

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