RDN loses its boss

Paul Thorkelsson is leaving the RDN to take the CAO position in Saanich

Regional District of Nanaimo CAO Paul Thorkelsson announced his resignation Wednesday after nine years with the RDN, three as CAO.

“I don’t leave this group without great difficulty,” he told The NEWS by e-mail. His resignation is effective Dec. 9.

Thorkelsson, 50, confirmed he will be going to work for another local government organization but remained tight lipped about that location. Wednesday morning, the District of Saanich issued a news release saying by “unanimous decision” Thorkelsson has been hired as their new CAO effective Jan. 4, 2016.

The RDN executive committee will meet this week to discuss filling the CAO position. It is unclear at this time who will act as an interim CAO in the meantime.

“This is an amazing organization to work with, with a management and staff team that is second to none,” Thorkelsson said about the RDN.

“While the community may not always recognize it the RDN does, and continues to do, and will continue to do great work in the interest of the community — which in no small part is the direct result of the quality and dedication of the people that work here.”

Regional district chair Joe Stanhope said Thorkelsson will be missed.

“He’s a great CAO — probably one of the best in B.C. in my opinion — and will certainly be missed,” Stanhope told The NEWS from sunny California on Wednesday. “The RDN is a fairly large regional district… it (CAO) is a big job, a key job and we need a strong person to take on that role.”

Stanhope said the regional district will soon be starting a country-wide search for a new CAO.

“It’s a very important job and we will certainly take our time to get the best candidate from across Canada,” he said.

“In all our interactions, Paul consistently sent the message that he had the best interests of the organization at heart,” said RDN director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay/Bowser. “He has had a significant influence on the RDN… I wish him all the best in the future.”

Thorkelsson became CAO in 2012 and since then has provided leadership on key initiatives including the recently completed Operational and Efficiency Review which took a unique inside-out approach to core review. He has also worked diligently to enhance relations with First Nations in the region and provided guidance through the collective bargaining process, creating stronger ties to the union.

Prior to becoming CAO, Thorkelsson was the General Manager of Strategic and Community Development for the RDN. In that role he led several innovative projects to completion including the complete review and adoption of a new Regional Growth Strategy, two Official Community Plan reviews and updates, three Neighbourhood Plans, the Affordable Housing Strategy, the Green Building Policy and the Sustainable Development Checklist.

Prior to joining the RDN, he was Manager of Building Inspection for the City of Nanaimo.

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo to webcast board and committee meetings

Viewers can tune in to watch the regular meetings in real-time

Nanoose Bay carver goes all-in on projects

Bellis creates eight-foot totem as Christmas gift for wife

Oceanside RCMP auxiliary officer earns top honour for volunteer work

Dally presented special award by Island Commander

‘A really kind person’: Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Vancouver Island teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students, parents

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

Tourism Nanaimo invites celebrities to sample ‘real’ Nanaimo bars

Tourism organization creates video, invites actors Seth Rogen and Dan Levy to visit

Most Read