Van Dyk remains local Lib president

Provincial Liberals chose the executive for their Skeena constituency association July 22 and Donny van Dyk is once again president.

Provincial Liberals chose the executive for their Skeena constituency association July 22 and Donny van Dyk is once again president.

Nearly 25 people attended the annual general meeting where they listened to guest speaker Nechako Lakes Liberal MLA John Rustad.

There were some changes to the executive this year from last, including the naming of Terrace city councillor Brian Downie as policy chairman  and former Terrace city councillor Linda Hawes as secretary.

Van Dyk said the association focused on recent growth in party membership in the riding and the acceptance of a motion by the party provincially for a feasibility study on a rail connection into the far northwest.

“From roughly 250 members we shot up to 480,” said van Dyk. “No doubt that was in large part due to the leadership race. The job now is to keep them in the party, keep them engaged.”

The rail feasibility study, developed by local party member Glenn Martin, was adopted by the whole party at its recent Penticton convention.

While it may seem odd to hold a constituency association’s annual general meeting in the summer, van Dyk said local Liberals wanted to clear the decks for what could be an early fall election call by premier Christy Clark.

“Doing both in the fall would have been difficult,” he added.

So far two people have indicated they’re interested in running for the Skeena nomination to represent the Liberal party in the next provincial election.

Van Dyk said both must go through a rigorous examination process before being approved as nomination candidates.

“There’s approximately 40 pages of a questionnaire to fill out and a credit check and a criminal record check,” he pointed out

“It can take quite a while,” said van Dyk who went through the process himself when he ran for the party in the 2009 provincial election.

The nomination candidate vetting is handled by the provincial Liberal party’s election readiness committee. That committee will also set the date for a nomination meeting.

Van Dyk said there could even be more people interested in becoming a nomination candidate but confirmed he will not be one of them.

“I’m very happy where I am and I have lots to keep me busy,” said van Dyk.