Rural director dies suddenly

The tiny community of Hedley is mourning the loss of regional director Elef Christensen, who passed away suddenly over the weekend.

Christensen was nearing the end of his second term as the rural Keremeos/Hedley representative for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

“He was a very dedicated and conscientious guy that really took his job seriously,” said Roger Mayer, friend of Christensen and Area “G” alternate director.

“He called me many times and really pored over the details on budget items to make sure not any more money was spent than was needed.”

“He had a dry sense of humour and he always had a joke or something up his sleeve,” Mayer added. “He was a good guy.”

Christensen died suddenly Saturday, collapsing on the sidewalk in front of his office in Hedley. He was 74.

Mayer said Christensen had lived in Hedley for decades and was dedicated to the community. A recent project saw him trying to find funding for the town’s water systems.

He was instrumental in obtaining nearly $500,000 to upgrade the Olalla water system in 2017.

“He was always looking for someone else's money than his own taxpayers',” Mayer said, adding the local media often “dwelled” on his expenses — which were routinely the highest on the board due to his travel to various conferences.

“I was the director for 18 years, and he was way more detailed than I used to be... He’s going to be really sadly missed. He’s a good man.”

Mayer will be filling in as the local RDOS representative until October’s local elections.

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