A new year is bringing renewed energy to the board of Columbia Basin Trust (Trust).
There’s two new faces at the table, Murray McConnachie from Trail and Jocelyn Carver, a first-time director from Nelson. They join David Raven, an appointee from Revelstoke who previously served from 2012 to 2014, and a founding member of the Trust, Corky Evans, now a director from Winlaw.
McConnachie has big shoes to fill after Gord DeRosa stepped down.
DeRosa served as Trust director for six years after sitting on Trail council for decades, and he has always been a passionate and vocal advocate for the Columbia River and Columbia Basin.
But no question, McConnachie is up for the task.
“It’s one of the crown jewels of this valley, of this Basin,” McConnachie told the Trail Times. “This is a legacy to our kids. And above all, I want to make sure that going forward, the Trust is protected and carried on in perpetuity for our families because it is one of the anchors that is going to allow the development of this Basin for our children.”
McConnachie has spent 25 years teaching, coaching and working with youth in the Basin, in addition to taking on various facets of his family’s business KES Group of Companies, where he is now vice-president. He acts in advisory roles to several organizations in the areas of training and corporate restructuring, and is the Coordinator of Trades and Technology Training for School District 20.
After community members put the bug in his ear, the father of three decided to put his name forward and share his background in technical finance with the Trust.
“I have a degree in accounting and I understand that world of technical finance,” McConnachie said. “We probably have the strongest most dynamic board I’ve ever seen, which is supported by the best staff I’ve ever seen.
“This is a phenomenally well-run organization – and I didn’t know that going in.”
The Trust’s Board consists of 12 individuals: the province appoints six, and six more are nominated by the Basin’s five regional districts and the Ktunaxa Nation Council. All directors must live in the Basin.
“The nice thing about it, is that the board doesn’t have that ‘corporate feel,’” McConnachie added. “And the people, the staff, are invested in much more than a job, they are invested their community, and they do amazing work.”
Current chair Rick Jensen has been re-appointed to the role, and director Wendy Booth has been appointed vice-chair.
“I’m pleased to be able to continue serving the Trust in this role, and look forward to working with Wendy in her new position, and all of our directors, to continue to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the Columbia Basin,” Jensen said in a Jan. 25 news release.
“The new directors represent a great mix of people who bring their unique perspectives to help shape how we serve Basin residents.”
Other board members include: Larry Binks (Creston), Am Naqvi (Nelson), Laurie Page (Nakusp), Loni Parker (Revelstoke), Vickie Thomas (?aq’am) and Jeannette Townsend (Valemount).
MLA Katrine Conroy, Minister responsible for the Trust, thanked both the departing and new directors: “I’m happy to see directors Corky Evans, David Raven, Murray McConnachie and Jocelyn Carver join the board. They all have a vast amount of community and leadership experience and will add a lot of knowledge to the Board of Directors. I also want to recognize the hard work and commitment that departing directors John Dooley, Michael Delich, Rhonda Ruston and Gord DeRosa have displayed. I especially want to acknowledge Gord, who has served the Trust since 2012, and has been so dedicated and passionate about the Trust and its importance in the region.”
Rick Jensen joined the Trust Board in 2013, served as Vice-Chair in 2015 and was appointed Chair in 2016. He is the Chair of New Dawn Developments, a director of New Dawn Restorations and a director of Columbia Power Corporation. He has also served as a three-term Mayor of Cranbrook and as President and CEO of Panorama Mountain Village.
Wendy Booth joined the Board in 2012. She has lived in the Columbia Valley for over 20 years, is a business owner, and serves as the Area F Director and Vice-Chair of the Regional District of East Kootenay and the President of the Union of BC Municipalities. Booth takes over the role of Vice-Chair from Laurie Page, who joined the Board in 2012 and served as Vice-Chair from 2013 to 2014 and 2015 to 2017.