By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
The newly elected Thompson-Nicola Regional District board returned a veteran rural mayor and former chairman to lead the organization for at least the next year, rejecting a bid from a City of Kamloops candidate.
John Ranta, mayor of Cache Creek for 24 years, was elected by the board on Thursday, Dec. 11, as chairman at its inaugural meeting.
Ranta served as chairman of the TNRD board in 1998-1999 and in 2003-2004 and has made a number of unsuccessful bids since that time.
Ken Christian, City of Kamloops councillor and the a TNRD director, was unsuccessful in his run for the chair.
Veteran Kamloops Coun. Pat Wallace and Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar are the only city directors to lead the board in the last three decades.
Voting is dominated by rural members and mayors of small municipalities. Milobar led the board for five years.
“I believe we will get [another] turn,” Wallace said. “I don’t know when.”
Ranta will earn a combined income of about $32,000 a year as a director from Cache Creek and chairman, in addition to his stipend as mayor. The colourful retired Greyhound bus operator drives a McLaren supercar in the summer months and has been a tireless advocate for higher speed limits on provincial highways.
“They [board] recognized with Peter MIlobar as chair of the hospital district and its tens of millions we’re spending, if we elected a representative from Kamloops, it may have given them too much weight,” Ranta said after being elected by the board.
“Over the past few days, several people contacted me and asked me to run,” he said.
The vice-chairwoman is Willow MacDonald, a rural representative from the Blue River area.
Both Ranta and Christian emphasized balance between the city and rural areas as chairman.
Ranta succeeds Bill Humphreys, the former mayor of Barriere who lost his bid for re-election in the Nov. 15 civic election.