Paul Edgington resigns for "personal reasons" 

Former administrator declines to explain sudden departure from regional district

"Personal reasons" drove Paul Edgington's sudden departure from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), the former administrator said.

Edgington, formerly the chief administrative officer of the governing body that administers areas adjacent to municipalities throughout the Sea to Sky region, would not elaborate publicly on the reasons why he left the job.

"I'll just say it's personal reasons and leave it at that," he said.

Asked what he's up to next, he said he doesn't yet have another job lined up and is going to enjoy the first real summer he's had in a long time.

"I'm not really looking," Edgington said when asked about whether he'll find new employment soon. "I'm going to enjoy my first summer for a long time. I've got some new activities, I'm going back to cycling, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding, I'm just going to enjoy myself.

"Retirement's an option but I don't' know what I'll do, I'll worry about that in October. But you know, that's it, like Sean Connery, never say never again."

Edgington oversaw a busy nine years for the regional district after working in finance for the District of Squamish. In 2005 and 2006 the region became a focal point for opposition to independent power producers (IPP's), specifically power projects that are developed by the private sector.

Construction company Ledcor was pushing a run-of-river project for the Ashlu River in Squamish when community concerns ignited over the alleged "privatization" of rivers.

The company applied to the regional district for a rezoning that would allow the project to be located on the Ashlu but the board voted it down, citing community objection and a lack of overall strategy for IPP development.

The provincial government later passed Bill 30, an amendment to the Utilities Commission Act that overrode the ability of local governments to make zoning decisions around utilities.

In 2008 the regional district hosted the Pemberton Music Festival on the Ravens Crest property about four kilometres from the Village of Pemberton's town centre. The event brought an estimated 40,000 spectators to the Pemberton Valley to see artists such as Coldplay, Tom Petty and Nine Inch Nails.

At the time another organizer planned an unpermitted event, the So Hood Summer Jam, right down the street from the Pemberton Festival on the very same weekend. Edgington helped the regional district obtain an injunction against So Hood to shut it down over concerns that Pemberton Festival organizers Live Nation could be associated with the rogue event.

Edgington had another busy year in 2009. At the time the regional district bore witness to a bevy of forest fires that blazed in areas such as the Pemberton Meadows and near the District of Lillooet. Edgington helped turn the regional district into an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) that essentially shut down all other business except dealing with the fires.

The EOC provided regular updates to residents of Area C, an unincorporated area adjacent to the Village of Pemberton, and issued evacuation alerts and orders to notify residents of when to flee the fires.

The EOC also played a role in warning regional district residents about the risks associated with last summer's Mount Meager landslide, which threatened to flood the Lillooet River.

Asked to comment on Edgington's most significant work at the regional district, Susie Gimse, chair of the regional district board of directors and a councillor with the Village of Pemberton, drew particular attention to the EOC.

"He certainly helped us develop the emergency management program with the SLRD," she said.

"There was a change in legislation in terms of requiring regional districts to develop an emergency management program and he certainly was a big part in terms of the regional district developing that plan and then positioning us in a very good place in terms of responding to any major event that comes our way.

"I enjoyed working with him over the past nine years and he truly did make a significant contribution to the regional district over his time with us."

Gimse went on to say that Leslie Lloyd, formerly director of administrative services, will assume the administrator's job in the interim, and that the regional district is currently in the process of finding a new chief officer.

"We're going to start right away," she said. "As soon as we can get the process going and applications in, we will be sitting down and making a decision."

Jordan Sturdy, Pemberton's mayor and a director on the regional district board, said that Edgington volunteered his resignation but did not elaborate on the reasons for him tendering it.

Speaking about Edgington's tenure at the regional district, Sturdy said that he "acted in the way he felt was most appropriate in his role as a CAO."

"I have every confidence that he always did what he felt was the right thing to do," he said. "He and I did not always share that opinion, but nonetheless, I have no doubt that he felt confident that what he was doing was the right thing."





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