It was a tough decision, but ultimately the timing was right, said Daniel Sailland, Village of Pemberton chief administrative officer.
Sailland announced last week that he and his family will be moving to Qualicum Beach at the end of the summer where he has accepted a CAO position with the town there.
“It’s one of those moments where you’re going, ‘If I am going to move here’s an awesome community to move to and raise my family in and take the next step,’” Sailland said. “Our kids are at an age right now where a move is seen as an adventure. I think if we were to move a few years from now when my daughter is about to start high school, she wouldn’t appreciate that.”
His new position is also a step up professionally. “It’s a beautiful town. It’s a gorgeous place to live, very similar to Pemberton in that it’s quite walkable. There are quirky shops and a vibrancy to the downtown. It’s a town of 9,000 people. It’s triple the staff and budget (of Pemberton). It’s a great opportunity to enhance my skills,” he said.
Sailland has held his post with the village for five years. Before that, he served as a senior administrator with the Mount Currie Band for three years. He will leave his current position on Aug. 20 to start his new job in September. The village said it has already begun the hunt for his replacement.
“Sailland’s strong and determined leadership has served our community well,” said acting mayor James Linklater, in a release. “Both council and staff have great respect for Daniel’s work. This is an exciting opportunity for CAO Sailland and his family, and we are supportive of his decision to advance his career in local government. The Town of Qualicum Beach will be in good hands. The village team that Daniel has assembled, developed and led will ensure the success of this important transition period for our community.”
Sailland said there are plenty of projects he’s proud he was a part of over the last eight years, including the airport revitalization, the BMX park, the raising of the downtown community barn, downtown enhancement and the new community plan, to name a few. “It’s great to look back and see a portfolio with so many fun things,” he said.
While it wasn’t always easy — with residents polarized on most issues — Sailland said the myriad opinions of constituents are a good thing. “Before they’re vocal publicly, they talk to each other and those conversations are fun,” he said. “We usually do it in a casual setting with good food and laughs. This is a great town because it has great people.”
His parting thoughts, though, on what could be improved are similar to those of former mayor (and current MLA) Jordan Sturdy. “Jordan and I debated for eight years, before I was an employee here. From that debate we agree on a few things,” Sailland said with a laugh. “We waste a lot of time, dare I say bickering, running over details that don’t always serve the greater community. But it takes two to tango — or more than two.”
The multiple jurisdictions in the valley are one example. “All of these various elements touch back to the importance of getting a grip on proper government structure and better land planning at the end of the day,” he said. “Because we’re not competing with different jurisdictions, we’re cooperating.”