Regional district director passes away

Rob Newell was 74

Rob Newell

The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako director who represented the rural area surrounding Houston passed away Nov. 20.

Rob Newell, 74, had been receiving treatment for cancer.

First elected to the regional district board in 2011, Newell was a three-term director.

“We are privileged to have known and worked with Rob, and we will miss him dearly. Our hearts go out to Rob’s family during this sorrowful time,” regional district chair Gerry Thiessen said in a Nov. 21 release from the regional district.

Newell was described as an active and devoted board member, one who represented not only his constituents but who also advocated for the betterment of the region.

“In addition to being a strong voice on broadband initiatives, Rob was Chair of the Regional District Rural Directors Committee and served on the Northwest Regional Hospital District (currently as Vice-Chair), Northern Development Initiative Northwest Regional Advisory Committee, Northern BC Tourism Association, and the Houston-Smithers Rebroadcasting Society,” the regional district release stated.

“He was also a strong advocate for mining, along with ensuring responsible resource development with safety top of mind for community residents. Director Newell’s contributions, dedication and service were beyond measure.”

District of Houston mayor Shane Brienen echoed Thiessen’s comments, calling Newell a “passionate public servant who always had the well-being of his constituents at the top of mind.”

“He consistently pushed our region forward on a variety of issues, including improvements to healthcare services, internet access and connectivity, and the pursuit of an agreement for the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance. Rob’s insightful contributions to the Board’s decisions, his passion for improving the lives of people throughout the entire regional district, and commitment to public service in our region will be dearly missed,” Brienen said.

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