Three awarded North Cowichan’s highest honour

Former North Cowichan Mayor Anne Murray receives her Freedom of the Municipality from current Mayor Tom Walker. -
Former North Cowichan Mayor Anne Murray receives her Freedom of the Municipality from current Mayor Tom Walker.
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In the past 38 years, North Cowichan has given exactly three people the community’s highest honour.

On Wednesday, it doubled that number.

Former Mayor Anne Murray, longtime councilor Glen Ridgway and recently retired administrator Jim Dias were all granted Freedom of the Municipality during a special ceremony at the municipal hall.

“Considering nominees for this award is not a role that council takes lightly,” Mayor Tom Walker noted of a decision that must be unanimously endorsed by council.

A North Cowichan release called the honour the “highest symbol of respect and esteem a local government can bestow upon an individual.”

North Cowichan’s first female mayor (1996-99), Murray was recognized for her six years as councillor, 12 years as school trustee and her continuing volunteer efforts on a number of local fronts.

Ridgway spent 23 years as a North Cowichan councillor, 18 years as a Cowichan Valley Regional District director, and eight on the school board.  He also served on the board of the former Malaspina College and is the past-resident of The Law Society of B.C.

Dias, meanwhile, was employed by North Cowichan for 36 years, becoming chief administrative officer in 1991 and continuing until his retirement in 2010.   His role in the creation of the new Vancouver Island University campus, the new Cowichan Exhibition, the Evans Park sports field, the Cowichan Aquatic Centre and his contributions to a variety of community groups were all cited.

Freedom of the Municipality was first issued in 1973, when Charles Alexander Phipps Murison, Reginald Clegg and Donald Christopher Morton were honoured. Since that time, Adolphe VandeCasteyen (1975), Margaret Robertson (1991) and Henry Rex Hollett (1997) were added to the ranks.

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