Director sizes up RDOS chair

Rural Osoyoos director Mark Pendergraft seeks chairmanship of Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Only one regional district director has so far expressed an interest in permanently taking the seat at the head of the board table left vacant by Dan Ashton.

Mark Pendergraft, who represents the rural Osoyoos area at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, is the acting chair and said at Thursday’s meeting he’s enjoying the work and would like to keep the job.

Ashton, who resigned last week following his election as Penticton MLA, was into his 12th year as RDOS chair, a position that’s selected annually in a secret vote by fellow directors.

The last vote, in November, saw Ashton defeat challenger Ron Hovanes, the mayor of Oliver.

Hovanes said he’s not currently inclined to let his name stand this time around. He noted the next such regular election of the chair is only six months away and “for the sake of continuity” will likely support Pendergraft’s bid to stay on.

Pendergraft’s “doing a good job with it,” Hovanes added.

The board will elect the new chair at its next meeting on July 4. If Pendergraft is picked, a new vice-chair will also need to be chosen.

Hovanes said he’d be interested in that position to maintain a good balance between rural and municipal representation at the head of the table.

Ashton also appeared at Thursday’s meeting to say goodbye and thank directors and staff for their work on behalf of the region.

“I miss this place terribly,” he said, adding that although the RDOS only ever hears from a small percentage of residents, “it’s the silent majority that we actually make a big difference and a big change for.”

Penticton Coun. Judy Sentes has become Ashton’s permanent replacement on the RDOS board. Penticton has four of 18 seats at the table.