Golden CAO discusses past, present and future of municipality

Halfway through 2013, Jon Wilsgard sat down with the Golden Star to talk about where the municipality stands.

After a self-imposed three-month probation, Jon Wilsgard can officially settle into his permanent position of Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Golden.

Halfway through 2013, he sat down with the Golden Star to talk about where the municipality stands, what’s been accomplished, and what is coming up in the second half of the year.

“Some things have dropped off the plate because we have lost a couple of staff, and other circumstances. But it’s my hope that over time there will be a little more focus in the organization,” said Wilsgard, who admitted he is constantly frustrated that the Town does not have the time or resources to complete all the projects they want to.

“But when I look back sometimes I realize just how much we did.”

Several Resort Municipality Initiative projects are either completed or in their early stages. The roundabout has been fully landscaped, a new sign is being placed near the Tim Hortons, and both the Spirit Square Amenity Hub and Highway 1 Corridor Projects will be underway shortly.

“We’ve got a committee that’s planning out the conceptual design of a permanent amenity hub in Spirit Square. There will be a permanent stage to replace the tent, with washrooms and that sort of thing,” said Wilsgard.

The designs should be completed by the end of this year, and with any luck it will be ready before the 2014 Summer Kicks series.

The Shaw fibre optic cable project is also nearing completion.

“The essence of the broadband project over the last few years was getting another telecommunications company interested in the Golden area to provide competition and greater services,” said Wilsgard.

More details on the project will be released in the next few months, but the result will be much better service for Golden, and especially Area A residents.

Golden residents can be proud of themselves for their commitment to the Town’s curbside recycling program, which is already showing great success said Wilsgard.

“It looks as if our program has the highest uptake in the regional district in terms of per capita use. From 2011 to 2012 we reduced our tonnage going across the landfill scales by 17 per cent, just in the first year. That’s huge.”

There are also some projects of note that are outside the municipality’s scope including an upgrade to McDonald’s Restaurant, the construction of a new Holiday Inn, and the addition of a plaza to the side of the Visitor’s Centre.

Even though the Town has lost a few staff members, Wilsgard is pleased to welcome their new addition—Jeremy Baylis who is the new bylaw officer.

“A bylaw officer, to me, is as much an ambassador as they are an enforcement officer. He’s out there in the community, and he needs to be as pleasant as he is firm. Jeremy is doing a great job,” he said, adding that they are slowly building the tools to better enforce bylaws, and collect monies for violations.

“He’s already making great progress on some property clean-ups.”

With all these successful programs and projects, Wilsgard is looking to the future and making sure that the Town’s priorities are identified.

He will be sitting down with council in the fall, look at their asset management, and determine what infrastructure needs to upgraded or replaced before the federal government announces their next round of infrastructure grants next year.

“The communities who are prepared and have gone through this prioritization process are going to be favoured.”