Colourful and controversial former Slocan Valley regional district director Eric Nygren has died.
Nygren served two consecutive terms on the RDCK board from 1993-99 and was first elected on a promise to put the brakes on an unsightly premises bylaw. He was later the architect of a contentious revamp of recreation services in the valley and initiated the popular bus service between Slocan and Nelson.
Nygren’s tenure on the board coincided with protests against logging on Perry Ridge and other watersheds as well as landslides that destroyed two homes. It left him questioning the validity of provincial hazard mapping. “The situation is a farce,” he said.
Although his positions were sometimes unpopular, Nygren stood by his record. “A person is elected to make decisions,” he told the Daily News during his 1999 re-election campaign. “Not pursuing that, in my opinion, is a dereliction of duty.”
After losing the vote to Don Munro, he added: “I enjoyed my representation. I met every challenge in a very straight-forward fashion. I’m proud of what I did.”
After leaving the RDCK board, Nygren kept a low political profile except in 2010 when he joined fellow former regional directors Josh Smienk and Al Dawson in opposing the process that led to a referendum on library services for rural areas around Nelson.
Nygren was a member of the local RCMP Community Consultative Group, was active with Crime Stoppers, and was vice-president and western Canada director of the National Boxing Authority, which sanctions professional fights in Canada.
With wife Bonnie, he owned the Victoria St. restaurant in Nelson during the 1990s and until his passing also owned the medical clinic at Slocan Park.
Nygren passed away October 4 following a brief fight with cancer. At his request, there will be no service.