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City bids adieu to Malcolm, welcomes Barlow as new CAO

Chris Barlow is the City of Castlegar's new CAO.

It’s official – our former, long-time CAO John Malcolm is now retired, and incoming CAO Chris Barlow attended his first council meeting as city manager at council’s regular meeting Monday night.

Malcolm came to Castlegar as CAO in January of 2008.

When asked what he’ll remember most fondly of Castlegar, Malcolm said, “There seems to have been a transformation – a continuing evolution into a strong commercial and cultural centre for the region. I really appreciated mayor and council being so open to innovative ideas like the Green Committee, and willingness to support risky projects like the Millennium Ponds and Sculpture Walk.”

When asked what legacy he feels he left, Malcolm said there’s no black-and-white answer.

“No one person does anything – it’s always a team effort,” he said, adding he does feel he helped usher projects through to fruition. “I’ve long had a reputation for finishing things, getting things done.”

Of course, no road is without its bumps, and he said he feels he learned a great deal along the way.

“I think the recreation referendum was a disappointment and an awakening,” he said, adding he thinks that led to the current community consultation process. “I think what they’re recommending will have great promise for the future.”

He said he intends to continue living in Castlegar, and possibly to undertake some consulting work, but that that’s really up in the air at this juncture.

“I’ll certainly miss the fun and laughter shared with our staff every day, and I’ll miss working with council on new initiatives.”

Meanwhile, incoming CAO Chris Barlow is no stranger to the council table – he’s been working for the City of Castlegar since 2004, when he came here from Red Deer to work in engineering, becoming Director of Transportation and Civic Works by 2009.

The 39-year-old father of three brings with him an Engineering Geomatics Diploma from SAIT, a Local Government Administration Certificate from UVic, and years of experience and professional development on diverse subjects such as engineering, planning, labour management communications, and so on.

He said he’s excited to hit the ground running.

“I don’t think we’ll see a significant change in direction, as council’s goals have not changed, and staff will continue to see those as our priority,” Barlow said. “I really value the success we have had so far and really look forward to building on that.

“I am really proud to be working and living in Castlegar – we’ve accomplished a great deal and our community has a great reputation,” he added. “And I know Castlegar is on the cusp of even more significant successes.”