Nakusp’s new Chief Administrative Officer says the village struck him as special the first time he came to BC two decades ago.
“For me, Nakusp has always been a very interesting place,” says Wayne Robinson. “It’s not a tourism community per se, but it has a lot of tourism draw. It’s a really good blend between a community that’s for the residents, for the people of the area, but also invites a lot of people into the area.
“The other thing I find interesting, is the village has a regional focus. It works really well with the surrounding area and that’s something I enjoy an awful lot. Collaboration leads to success.”
The hiring of Robinson was announced late last month by Mayor Tom Zeleznik and Nakusp council. He was hired after a five-month search to replace former CAO Cheryl Martens, who left for personal reasons last spring.
Robinson will join the Village of Nakusp with a blend of private and public sector experience, council wrote in a news release. A former guide and resort manager, he also worked nearly 10 years in local government. He’s held senior positions in Ashcroft, Lillooet, and most recently in Valemount, a resort village in the East Kootenay.
His last two years in Valemount gave him direct experience with some of the major issues facing his newly adopted community.
“[Valemount’s] been working on creating a geothermal district heating system, and working on housing issues that have been plaguing many communities in British Columbia,” says Robinson. “We’ve been working on increasing housing through a new zoning bylaw and official community plan.”
Robinson also shepherded a new Valemount bylaw allowing people to live temporarily in recreational vehicles, in order to ease the local housing shortage. Such a bylaw was identified as something Nakusp needed last year.
He also will have to deal with getting the administration’s priority list under control. The Village currently has 60 identified ‘priorities,’ and Acting CAO Linda Tynan has warned council staff are already working beyond sustainable capacity, and called for a meeting to reprioritize the to-do list.
“I take my lead from council, of course,” says Robinson about that issue. “But when I take a look at council’s strategic priorities, a lot of them are quite similar. They almost repeat themselves. So a lot of what we need to do with the priorities is refinement, boiling them down into smaller chunks that we can make progress towards.
“I’m no stranger to work on council strategic priorities… it’s hard for councils to articulate what it is they want to see the community achieve, or the direction they want to go. So I may be able to help them with that.”
In addition to his CAO experience, Wayne has a strong corporate administration background and experience in municipal recreation service delivery.
“Wayne’s background is an excellent fit for Nakusp” said Mayor Zeleznik. “He brings a blend of experience, education and energy to the CAO position. I am confident that he will provide strong leadership to our Village staff and will work closely with council to ensure that the many community priorities continue to move forward.”
Robinson is excited to take on this challenging leadership position and to play an active role in managing local government services for the Village of Nakusp.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the CAO for the Village of Nakusp” says Robinson. “My wife Tracey and I look forward to enjoying all that Nakusp has to offer, meeting new people and becoming active members of the community.”
Robinson will commence his duties with the Village of Nakusp sometime in November. His first job, however, is one facing anyone hired in Nakusp – finding a place to live.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice