The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) is saying goodbye to a familiar face.
In a Nov. 21 news release the district announced Area “G” (Houston Rural) director Rob Newell died Wednesday night.
Newell, who had represented the Houston Rural area since he was elected in 2011, was 74.
In the release RDBN Board Chair Gerry Thiessen said Newell will be deeply missed.
“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.”
Many others within the region also expressed their condolences.
Smithers deputy mayor Gladys Atrill called Newell both a dedicated representative and a friend in a Facebook post sending her condolences to his loved ones.
“Rob loved serving his community and his passion at the Bulkley Nechako Board table will be missed.”
In a similar post, former Telkwa mayor Darcy Repen recalled many conversations he had with Newell, calling him a strong supporter for broadband communication access and ICBC rate fairness among rural communities.
“He was a good, kind, intelligent and loving man,” said Repen.
“A creative man, skilled artist and courageous entrepreneur. A thinker. He loved and cherished his family above all. He will be sorely missed.”
Repen also called Newell a strong supporter of the North West Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA), a coalition of 21 local governments across the Northwest.
Formed in 2014, the RBA includes all member municipalities and electoral areas of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, and the North Coast Regional District.
The coalition was created to negotiate new funding agreements with the Province in an effort to ensure the Northwest benefits from the tremendous level of economic development activity in the region.
“May your palette be full and your paintbrushes be primed on the other side,” said Repen.
The Houston Rural area spans approximately 14,446 kilometres and had a population of 903 in the 2016 census.