Local resident provides East Kootenay voice on rural council

Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Clovechok was appointed to the new provincial Rural Advisory Council

A valley resident has become the East Kootenay representative on the new provincial Rural Advisory Council and is preparing for the group’s first meeting later this month.

Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Clovechok was appointed to the role in March.

“I’m excited about what I can learn, what I can contribute and how I can support the East Kootenay,” said Clovechok.

The group, which has a mandate to provide advice on rural economic development for rural entrepreneurs and small businesses, was initiated following a September 2014 report on supporting rural development. There are 14 people on the council, one from each area of the province, chosen from more than 80 applicants,

“I think it’s a great initiative and I’m honoured to be part of it,” said Clovechok. “It was a fairly rigourous process to get in.”

Although the council spots are volunteer positions, applicants needed to send in resumes and references, and go through an interview process as if it were a job. Those setting up the council were keen to not only have all the different regions of B.C. represented, but also to have a broad spectrum of experience among council members. Clovechok, with her chamber position and her background in corporate sales, marketing, training and development, brings a unique perspective to the council.

“I’m the only one there with a chamber background,” she said, adding other council members bring different experiences to the tables, including past elected municipal officials, First Nations band members, experience with the Community Futures initiative, fisheries representatives and some with backgrounds in the forestry industry.

The first meeting of the council, mostly to cover introductory materials and set the terms of reference for the council, was scheduled for Thursday, March 26th  and Friday, March 27th, but was postponed to late April when council chair and provincial Parliamentary Secretary Donna Barnett was unable to attend.