COLUMN: Chuck Loewen gives his farewell

City of Penticton interim CAO and general manager, recreation and facilities announces his future plans.

Chuck Loewen

Chuck Loewen

Since the announcement of my resignation last week, I have been deluged by council, staff, friends, colleagues as well as the media, asking about my future plans. In respecting the wishes of my future employer, this information has been held off, but now I find myself able to provide that to all of you.

I am extremely proud of the results we have been able to achieve with the support from all of the various teams that I have had the honour and pleasure of working with over the past four years.

The accumulated results in the Recreation and Facilities Departments in reducing deficit and tax subsidies of $3.5 million and $1.7 million respectively while increasing access for all, are directly attributable to the dedication, work ethic and focus on service and operational excellence by Lori Mullin, Chris Schmidt, Dennis Oomen, (Peter Ord previously) and their respective teams.

Dean Clarke and the entire Global Spectrum (now Spectra) team, along with the SOEC Select Committee, have worked enthusiastically to bring Penticton world class entertainment and events, while reducing the deficit and tax subsidy of the South Okanagan Event Centre, the Convention Centre and the Memorial Arena for an accumulated savings of $3.8 million over the past four years, and delivering almost $34 million of economic impact to the community on an annual basis.

Working directly with Tourism Penticton, the SS Sicamous Restoration Society, Challenge Penticton, VFAM Grand Fondo, the DPA, dozens of committees, non-profit organizations and festivals and events organizers has been extremely gratifying and has taught me just how important and integral these organizations and their thousands of volunteers are to the social and civic fabric of this community.

I thank each and every person that I have come in contact with and will always remember the positive aspects of my time with the City of Penticton. I specifically wish to thank the mayors and members of council for their support over the past four years and all the management and staff support I have been afforded in my most recent few months as interim CAO and over the past years with the city.

The media has written kindly of me over the past weeks, and my appreciation and thanks go to them.

My career continues with a new and exciting adventure as regional general manager, operations for the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo in northern Alberta. This position holds the responsibility for all recreation, sport and leisure operations, facilities and grounds throughout the entire regional municipality.

Located in Fort McMurray, on an island where the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers meet, is the major venue MacDonald Island Park, which is Canada’s largest community recreational, leisure, sport entertainment and social centre. It is home to the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, Miskanaw Golf Club and new home of the exciting $127 million Shell Place, opening later this month, featuring football/soccer stadium, concert and entertainment facility, baseball stadium, additional baseball diamonds, indoor field houses, banquet and convention facilities, as well as offices.

Nestled amidst the natural beauty of the surrounding boreal forest, MacDonald Island Park is focused on providing residents with quality sports, cultural and recreational opportunities. The island will continue to evolve as a location for one of Canada’s premier recreation experiences by expanding and enhancing major outdoor sports and event venues while creating affordable spaces for Fort McMurray’s expanding not-for-profit service providers.

With its grand opening, Shell Place will host two Canadian Football League games this month, as well as two professional soccer games, the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and an Aerosmith stadium concert presented later this summer, to launch a range of entertainment to the community.

In 2014, a new $44 million state-of-the-art community centre was also opened in the community of Anzac to the south of Fort McMurray, and future capital projects over the next few years will provide up to $300 million of additional ,new and expanded recreational facilities throughout the region.  The facilities, designed to meet the needs of a growing population, encompass both those within the urban area of Fort McMurray as well as facilities in Anzac, Conklin and Fort Chipewyan.

It is truly a very exciting opportunity for my wife Dana and I. We look forward to our new adventure while we think back and fondly remember our positive experiences and encounters in the Okanagan.

Provided below are two links if anyone is interested to view or learn more about this organization: www.onerecreation.ca/ www.macdonaldisland.ca.

We wish each and every one of you the very best and continued success.

Most sincerely,

Chuck Loewen

City of Penticton interim CAO and general manager, recreation and facilities