Caring voice leaving Maple Ridge municipal reception desk

Diana Dalton retiring after 20 years with district

After 20 years answering every conceivable type of question

After 20 years answering every conceivable type of question

Ever complained about your taxes, or your neighbour’s messy lot, unresponsive politicians or confusing bylaws?

Chances are, Diana Dalton heard your complaint and your concerns and probably let you vent a bit so you didn’t feel so bad, then relayed your issue to the proper person in the District of Maple Ridge.

But as of Friday, that’s no more because Dalton has worked her last day after 20 years in the frontline position.

“I’d say it’s bittersweet, leaving the people behind,” Dalton said hours before she was to step down from the command centre for good.

“Moving on to retirement is always exciting.”

Although she’s been in the same job since 1993, she said the tasks haven’t changed that much, figuring out who to connect to who and keeping people happy while she does so.

Maple Ridge is one of the few municipalities that still has a person manning the phone.

What has changed though is the volume of calls that come into district hall daily. As the municipality grows, more people call. She estimates she takes about 100 calls daily now, over five days a week, 48 weeks a year  . . .

Mayor Ernie Daykin said Dalton has been recognized two times before and said she was “much more” than a receptionist. “She’s an ambassador.

“She’s going to be missed.”

Dalton said she was able to keep smiling and joking because of the way other people treated her.

“Because of all the smiles I got everyday. It was sort of like paying it forward.”