Haida Gwaii lost one of its champions last week as Port Clements Mayor Wally Cheer passed away on Aug. 20.
Cheer was first elected to Port Clements council in 2006, serving two terms as councillor before being elected mayor in the 2011 election. After being medevac-ed to Vancouver following a heart attack on Aug. 11, Cheer passed away on-island in the community he loved and called home.
Never one to shy away from service, Cheer was a committed volunteer and served on Port Clements’ tourism, centennial, barge and parks committee and also represented the village on the Misty Isles Economic Development Society, on the Vancouver Island Regional Library board and as an alternate director at the Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District. Cheer was also one of the driving forces behind plans for a barge and terminal facility in Port Clements.
“Wally was very community-oriented and really loved Port Clements. He was very dedicated to this community,” said Coun. Urs Thomas, who served with Cheer for two terms and will fill the role of acting mayor until the November election.
“We did a lot of work together, attended a lot of meetings and I really liked working with him … we just have to find a way to carry on as a council.”
Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said news of Cheer’s passing hit him with “a great deal of sadness”.
“I really personally always liked him a lot. I knew he had been ill but I was shocked to hear he passed. He was a great advocate for his community and for the island in general. He was a great person and I’m saddened I didn’t get to spend more time with him,” he said.
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice also commended Cheer for his efforts to improve the lives of people in Port Clements.
“Wally stepped up to serve his community and the loss of his leadership will be felt by us all,” she said in a statement.
“I am so sorry to hear about Wally Cheer’s passing and I send my heartfelt condolences to his family, loved ones and the community of Port Clements.”