New Maple Ridge CAO dives right in

Ted Swabey started at Maple Ridge city hall Dec. 1

Ted Swabey has been busy since starting as CAO of Maple Ridge three weeks ago.

Ted Swabey was thrown right into the deep end.

Not only has the new chief administrative officer for the City of Maple Ridge already faced the contentious issue closing the city’s only indoor pool for a year, he has also been part of discussions about borrowing $110 million for new recreation facilities.

And he’s just starting his third week on the job.

“It feels like he’s always been there,” Mayor Nicole Read said of the new CAO. “He’s hit the ground running, and he’s a great fit for the team.”

Swabey had barely taken his coat off on Dec. 1, when city hall launched into three days of budget sessions, but the veteran civil servant said those busy times were a great kickoff to his new job.

“I think it was the best time to start – right at the beginning of business planning.”

In that process, he and council heard each department head talk about their plans for the coming year, and he got a chance to see councillors in action, as they asked questions of staff. It gave him a great overview of the workings of city hall.

The presentation of the city’s financial plan included a funding strategy that would allow the city to borrow up to $110 million for arenas, parks and a new aquatic facility.

“Right away, I was in a world where council is in the mode of doing things,” he said, and that challenge makes for exciting times for a CAO.

On Thursday, council told staff to begin the public process for the new parks and recreation investments.

Swabey has some experience with this kind of buildout. He comes from Nanaimo, and the island city was going through a similar phase in the 1990s, when its council built rinks, a new theatre not unlike the ACT, and a conference centre.

He started as a planning technician in Nanaimo 26 years ago, and held various positions as he worked his way up to CAO.

Swabey said Paul Gill, Maple Ridge manager of corporate and financial services, was tasked with putting together a strategy to fund the new construction, and has put together “a very solid plan.”

He said it should be “fantastic times” for the city, and the new investment would make Maple Ridge an even more attractive place in the future.

Part of the attraction of Maple Ridge for Swabey is the outdoor adventure it offers.

He calls himself “a huge outdoor enthusiast” who likes cycling – both mountain biking and road racing, and he’s a runner who has completed six marathons – including the Boston Marathon in 2000.

He’s off to a fast start as CAO, after replacing Jim Rule, who retired in May.

Before coming to B.C., Swabey was a planning consultant in Guelph, Ont., and also worked as a commercial property manager in Toronto. He was born and raised in Ottawa and has a bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Guelph.

Swabey said he is impressed with the city hall staff, finds a council where everyone shares common goals, and sees a community that is engaged with its municipal government.

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Prime minister talks housing in Maple Ridge

Trudeau speaks to rising cost of housing, pressures on young people.

Maple Ridge’s indoor pool redo in final months

Structural work done, with target opening to be late summer

Maple Ridge pair win HM in FBCW Literary Writes contest

Theme of the contest this year was Who is ‘The Other’

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

5 to start your day

Trudeau boosts Tamara Taggart, a doctor accessed records of a woman pregnant with his baby, and more

VIDEO: Dramatic fire destroys Surrey home

A man, woman, two dogs, a cat and kittens made it out safely

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

New Coast Guard ship crashes into breakwater in Victoria

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Most Read