Kelowna city councillor Gail Given will serve a seventh consecutive term as chairperson of the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) board.
Given was re-elected by board members at the regional district annual general meeting last week.
While developing a familiarity for expectations as board chair during her reign, Given said she remains committed to meeting the significant service demands the RDCO provides to area residents, both rural and urban.
“My perspective is we provide a unique order of government you don’t otherwise see across the country, so it is understandable for people to often not know what we do,” Given said.
“Our goal is to deliver a quality of services for the taxpayer dollar, not to wear a crown. Serving on the board is not about generating headlines, it’s about delivering good service.
“Water, air quality, transportation, solid waste management are all important issues.”
Given said the legacy of Robert Hobson, a former Kelowna city councillor who served 27 years on the regional district board, continues to echo within the regional district boardroom.
“Our regional park system is a legacy to what he strived for, a passionate belief in protecting significant tracts of land both from an environmental enhancement perspective and also a quality of life perspective for people to experience nature,” she said.
Moving forward, climate change is seen as having an ongoing impact on Central Okanagan while COVID-19 has played havoc with economic prosperity, which the RDCO encourages and nurtures through the regional economic development commission.
Given added the Kelowna Mountain development possibly being rebooted has gained local media attention of late, but she said nothing has come forward to them.
“I don’t know how much or what the truth is about that. All we know is nothing has been submitted or applications brought forward yet,” she said.
Speaking of land development, Given noted the real estate boom in the region doesn’t show long-term signs of letting up, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have things that attract people to the valley which aren’t going away soon. Beautiful climate, amazing natural areas…I think one thing COVID has done is cause people to re-evaluate where they are at and understand the potential they may have to work from anywhere. “