Desjardins downs Jensen for CRD chair

Esquimalt mayor retains her position as chair of the regional board

Mayor Nils Jensen

Mayor Nils Jensen

In a second consecutive head-to-head vote, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins retains her role as Capital Regional District board chair after last week’s board meeting.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen was also nominated for the role during the meeting Nov. 9.

The chair is elected each year.

“This has certainly been an exciting year at CRD and I’ve been encouraged by the board’s energy and your willingness to take ownership of issues that have come our way regardless of our differing opinions,” Desjardins said, during her four minutes allotted to address the board before the vote. “I came into the chair’s position seeking positive change through efficiency … as a result we were able to reduce the number of new staff requests in the 2016 budget.”

She congratulated the entire board for bringing “some conclusion” to the sewage treatment problem, and noted they’re poised to meet climate action charter commitments and put forward several regional initiatives going forward such as housing first strategy, transportation service development and input on regional government study.

“I intend to call a special committee of the whole meeting when time permits to have a full board discussion providing input regarding committees, structure and composition,” Desjardins said,  “I do not intend to take the foot off the pedal, nor I hope will your enthusiasm wane.”

Desjardins was elected Esquimalt mayor in 2008 and has served on the CRD board since 2009.

Jensen also outlined a need to work efficiently and smartly, also looking at governance and committee structure.

“At the heart of our work is the ability to come together, sometimes in challenging circumstances, to responsibly manage resources, infrastructure and services,” Jensen said. “We need to, by the virtue of what we do – our actions – reconfirm the vital role that the CRD plays in our region.”

Broad community issues include sewage treatment, housing, transportation that require regional solutions “harnessing collective strengths.”

“Moving forward we’re about to embark on the largest infrastructure program ever. The process leading up to this point has been long, has been protracted but resulted in a better project,” Jensen said. “It must now be implemented on time and on budget. The public expects this.

“I will make it my goal as CRD chair to support Esquimalt in the needed resources to ensure the job gets done on time,” he said.

Without a motion to reveal the vote numbers, paper ballots were destroyed. Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area director David Howe was re-elected as vice-chair. Victoria director Marianne Alto is Capital Regional Health District chair.