The Town of Hay River’s search for a new director of public works has extended into an eighth month.

Glenn Smith, the municipality’s senior administrative officer, said the previous director resigned in October 2021, “and we have been advertising the position since then.”

In the meantime, the town has been using a combination of internally selected interim directors and an outside contractor to fulfill the role, he said.

“That person has worked with us in the past and has familiarity with the community,” said Smith. “He’s been doing a good job and filling in adequately in that position but we are hoping to get somebody that we can staff full-time.”

The director of public works is in charge of maintaining some of the community’s most important assets, including roads, bridges, culverts, drains and wastewater operations, among other responsibilities.

Given the need to address the “significant infrastructure damage” caused by historic floods that hit the community in May, this individual will play an important role, according to Smith.

“It’s a critical position for the town given the importance of infrastructure replacement and maintenance,” he said. “It’s obviously been a very busy period of time for us with an unplanned flood recovery of this magnitude.”

“The management team and employees at the town have had to put in a lot of extra hours to balance the demands associated with flood response and flood recovery,” he continued.

According to the job posting the position comes with benefits, a pension plan and pays between $129,000 and $179,000, “depending on experience.”

The ideal candidate would have a post-secondary education and five years’ experience as an engineer, “but also is passionate about community and community improvement,” said Smith.

“We certainly look forward to having installed leadership that will bring us into the next phase of improved services and capital implementation,” he continued.

Paradise Valley road realignment cancelled

Two projects scheduled for “a very intensive” summer construction season have been put on hold, said Smith, “given our capacity concerns… and some uncertainty on what cost might be needed to deal with damage from the flood.”

According to the Public Works department’s June 14 report to council, the demolition of the old town hall building at 73 Woodland Drive has been deferred to 2023 “due to flood recovery resource capacity concerns.”

In addition, a $110,000 plan to realign a roughly 200-metre stretch of Paradise Road, which is at risk of being washed away by the Hay River due to erosion, has been cancelled.

However, the territorial Department of Infrastructure is carrying out temporary road replacement project at the site, notes the report.

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