The man who spearheaded the Rotary Seawalk project is seeking re-election as a School District No. 72 trustee in the Oct. 20 election.
Ted Foster initially served as a trustee from 2005 to 2008, narrowly missed re-election in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011 and again in 2014 for a combined 10 years of service. In 2014 his fellow trustees elected him as vice chair of the board of education. He has been re-elected to fill that position in each of the past four years.
Foster was born in Comox, B.C. and raised in Union Bay. He served in the regular army, notably as a UN peacekeeper in the Middle East in the mid 1960s. Foster met his wife Monique in Ottawa with them moving to Campbell River in 1970. Their four children were all born in Campbell River and attended public schools in the community. Those four and six grandchildren are now widely scattered.
Foster was employed as a local, independent insurance adjuster for about 40 years, retiring in 2004. He is a 44-year member of the Rotary Club of Campbell River. He served as club president in 1995-96. His major mark with Rotary is the Seawalk project that he initiated and chaired for several years. He says it kept expanding and eventually comprised eight distinct components including the boat launch and facilities at Ken Forde Park as well as the remaking of the 50th Parallel marker. The Seawalk was a club and community project with credits due to the combined efforts of many people, especially the Rotary T.V. Auction supporters and the work of the late Rotarian Sam Rainaldi.
He has served as a director for 27 years and as a significant shareholder at Mt. Washington Ski Resort Ltd. for 35 years, ending with the sale of the ski resort in 2015 following two disastrous no-snow years. Foster says he played a pivotal role in the creation of the non-profit Strathcona Wilderness Centre at Paradise Meadows at Mt. Washington.
While Foster says he raised a big family, which implied a heavy work schedule, now that he is retired, it’s time to “put something back,” adding the public school system was there for his family when we needed it.
“Now it is my responsibility to ensure the same opportunities are available for today’s younger citizens. Volunteers make a big difference in a community plus it can be a very rewarding experience,” he says.
He adds that serving as a trustee is an exercise in effective teamwork with others on the board, senior management and all staff, to interpret community needs and most importantly working for and being in touch with the district’s youth. Foster describes this is another area of community service.
The three boards he has served on have all operated responsibly, he adds. “Trustees set policy and regularly evaluate results. Noses in, fingers out; this implies that the system is operated by district management and teaching staff with the board offering local, accountable, public oversight”.