He was drawn to the position in Williams Lake because the city is at a crossroads, said the city’s new chief administrative officer Darrell Garceau.
“When I researched the community, looked at its history, I noticed it was at a point in time where it’s going through a branding exercise and looking at attracting and sustaining industry,” Garceau told the Tribune in a phone interview from his home in Alberta.
Last Tuesday, Mayor Kerry Cook announced that Garceau had been hired for the position. He starts work on July 2.
Garceau said he was also attracted to the amenities of the area, with respect to education, recreation and the natural capital.
“The community in itself was very much an attraction, but as I furthered my research of the community it seemed very progressive.”
Impressed with the official community plan for Williams Lake, he suggested it defines the future of the community and really prompted him to apply for the position.
Challenges of the CAO’s job were also a draw, he said, adding he’s looking forward to working with council, staff and the community.
“I’m very excited about furthering partnerships with the business community, with other stakeholders within the region, with First Nations, and getting involved for the betterment of the community.”
Garceau has worked as a CAO in Westlock, AB for the last 10 years.
“Similar to Williams Lake, Westlock has retail and industrial,” he explained. “We have our partnerships and relationships with our regional partners.”
When asked if he forsees any similarities, he said local government is local government.
“Not to make light of it, but local government is there to provide services to the public. I’m very aware of strategic planning, and financially forecasting to make sure we are financially stable.”
Williams Lake is a resource industry and a lot of people are employed by forestry and mining, he said.
“That dynamic has its own challenges because while there’s growth potential, communities are at the “whim” of how the provincial government wants to steward that process.”
Prior to his position in Westlock, he worked for the town of Calmar, AB and Chase, B.C.
Garceau grew up in North Vancouver, spending his first 27 years there.
He and his wife visited Williams Lake the weekend he was interviewed in May, and plan to return in June to find a place to live for themselves and their cat.
They have a daughter in Calgary and a son in Barriere.