Aaron Stone is the new chairman of the board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Stone, who is mayor of Ladysmith and represents the town on the board, has been a CVRD director for five years.
Stone replaces Ian Morrison, the long-time director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls, who served a one-year term as chair.
Morrison was nominated for a second one-year term, but his fellow board members voted for Stone in a tight eight to seven vote at a board meeting on Wednesday night.
Morrison ran unopposed for the position of vice-chair of the board, and was elected to that position.
Debra Toporowski, a director for the Municipality of North Cowichan, was also nominated for the position of chair, but declined the nomination.
“I am excited to lead the CVRD as chair of the board and I look forward to building on what Director Morrison accomplished in this role during the first year of our term,” Stone said.
“Having spent my entire life in the Cowichan region, I appreciate both the unique and collective challenges our communities are up against in the face of climate change, evolving economies and shifting demographics.”
Stone said he hopes to bring a collaborative, relationship-focused approach to the CVRD’s regional governance, particularly with the district’s First Nations leadership and community members.
Stone said each area of the CVRD has its own challenges and he intends for the board to support and facilitate each of them during his time as chair, while also concentrating and working together on regional issues at the same time.
“I hope to build on the work Ian (Morrison) and the board has done this past year,” said Stone, whose nomination to be the chair last year was unsuccessful.
“The fact that we faced each other in Wednesday’s board election was in no way a criticism of him or his leadership. It’s just that I felt that there was something else I could bring to the board. My focus will be on outcomes and we’ll see how we’ll get there.”