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New Courtenay CAO looking forward to 'great career opportunity'
The City of Courtenay has chosen its new chief administrative officer and he's excited to come to the Valley and start his new job.
"It's a great career opportunity for me," says David Allen, who will start on as Courtenay's CAO April 15. "I understand there's a great staff and great council there so I'm really looking forward to it."
Allen will leave his position of three years as the Town of Golden's CAO to take over from Courtenay's CAO of 10 years, Sandy Gray, who will retire March 30.
Allen has over 13 years of experience working for local governments and his specialties are: strategic planning; corporate capacity analysis and workplan development; asset management; performance measurement; municipal solid waste management; and community broadband networks.
He looks forward to bringing his skills to Courtenay's municipal staff team, but he notes working for the City of Courtenay will be a big change in terms of size.
"It's a bigger community than I've worked in before," says Allen, noting he anticipates a learning curve at the beginning. "I will admit that my first six months there I'm sure it'll be like drinking from a fire hose, you know, I'll have to really learn, and listen, and ask questions and get the lay of the land."
Although Allen hadn't been to the Comox Valley before his job interviews, his desire to live on Vancouver Island dates back nearly 20 years.
"My wife Paula and I, actually when we came out from Ontario in '94 with our two young boys at that time, we had always intended to come to the Island — that's where we wanted to go, but we got waylaid in Kelowna because Paula's mom was there," he recalls, adding he and Paula are really looking forward to all the things the Comox Valley has to offer.
"The recreational opportunities are outstanding," he says. "I understand it's got great festivals and culture. It's just a beautiful place, I mean, Mount Washington, the golf — I couldn't believe it, the golf course was open in February, you know, so I mean, it's a beautiful place by the ocean."
Allen says he plans to dust off his golf clubs once here, but he really can't wait to take advantage of the Valley's many bike trails.
"I really like mountain biking," he notes. "In fact, my personal e-mail is named after my mountain bike so I'm looking forward to getting out and doing a lot of biking."
He also chuckled that he may get "dragooned into dance lessons" by his wife, as during her research online, she saw some appealing classes here and she wants him to get rid of his "two left feet."
According to a City of Courtenay news release, Allen was chosen after interviews with many excellent candidates, and he was offered the position based on his years of municipal experience and his wide range of skills.
"The CAO plays a key role with both council and staff on many complex municipal and regional issues, and we’re looking forward to working with him," says Mayor Larry Jangula in the news release.