Looking back at his first year serving on the board of Columbia Basin Trust (Trust), the learning curve was steep for director Murray McConnachie of Trail.
But that inaugural experience was also deeply fulfilling, so he’s very much looking forward to his second year which brings with it, an expanded role.
“This has been one of the most amazing years of my life in which I have begun to transform my thoughts and actions from that of a worker to that of a leader and diplomat,” McConnachie began. “I have never had such an opportunity to better our region, interact with such amazing people, and grow as a person.”
The challenges of working on a governance board, as opposed to an operational board, were surprisingly tricky.
“I had to learn how to think about the values of the Trust and our Basin residents,” he said. “And how the the policies we put in place, the decisions we make will be operationalized for possibly decades to come.”
McConnachie pointed to the recent news that, in partnership, Columbia Power Corporation and the Trust are purchasing Fortis’ 51 per cent interest in Waneta Expansion Hydroelectric Project for $991 million.
“The purchase of the Waneta Expansion project showed a level of commitment by the organization’s leadership, staff and the provincial government that was truly inspiring,” he said. “To have local control and the long term benefits accruing to the residents from this purchase gives me huge hope for the Basin and our children.”
Over the next 12 months, McConnachie’s augmented role includes seats on the audit, finance and investment committees.
“In which I hope to add value to the organization and our Basin,” he said. “I have learned that there are amazing great people volunteering their time for the Trust board and its committees … the level of dedication, experience, and thoughtfulness is remarkable, and the competence and dedication of the staff is at a level I have not seen ever. They are truly remarkable in the work they do for the Basin residents.”
The Trust is governed by a 12-member board of directors. The five regional districts in the Basin and the Ktunaxa Nation Council each nominate a director, and the Province of BC nominates the remaining six directors. The Lieutenant Governor in Council makes all final appointments to the board. All directors must reside in the Basin.
Last week the organization announced a shuffle on its board of directors. Rick Jensen of Cranbrook was reappointed to the role of chair while Nelson’s Jocelyn Carver, who joined the board in 2018, was appointed vice-chair.
“I am so pleased to be able to continue in the role of chair and to work with Jocelyn in her new role in what promises to be a very busy year,” Jensen said. “As the Trust’s work continues to evolve to better support the needs of Basin communities, our board of directors brings a wonderful mix of perspectives, experience and a great deal of energy to help shape how we serve basin residents.”
New appointees include Don McCormick, Mayor of Kimberley as well as business woman and community volunteer Krista Turcasso from Fernie.
Other board members include: Carol Andrews (Castlegar), Larry Binks (Creston), Corky Evans (Winlaw), David Raven (Revelstoke); Vickie Thomas ( aqam ); and Mayor of Golden, returning trust director Ron Oszust.
Departing directors were Wendy Booth from the Regional District of East Kootenay, Am Naqvi of Nelson, Nakusp’s Loni Parker and Jeannette Townsend from Valemount.