New Grand Forks CAO sees a bright future for city
Doug Allin’s passion for the potential he sees in Grand Forks led him to take the position as our new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
Allin, who hails from Peachland where he was the director of operations, has been in his new post since Oct. 15.
“I’m excited about the opportunity the city has,” said Allin during a private interview with The Boundary Sentinel. “The council has been very progressive in their thoughts and there’s a lot of really interesting things on the horizon.”
He sees Grand Forks as the “next best thing” in terms of development and growth for those retiring and those looking for the lifestyle Grand Forks has to offer.
“It’s one of those things people call a best kept secret and it is. I think it will only be one of the best kept secrets for a short time because people will be talking about it.”
“I can’t get over the opportunities we have,” said Allin.
While in Peachland, Allin experienced an “unheard” of population growth projection from 4,900 people to a potential for a tripling of the community within 20 years. During his eight years in Peachland, he was involved in many aspects of the “finishing touches” of the various infrastructure projects being done to prepare for that growth. Being in Grand Forks he feels he’ll get so many more experiences in preparing a community for growth while maintaining affordability for the present residents.
“As a city you are always challenged with finding new ways to do things but not trying to reinvent the same thing,” said Allin.
One of those more recent challenges will come in the form of the Kettle River Watershed Study.
“The Kettle River study is going to tell us some things,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’re going to have to work collaboratively with the region to protect that asset. That’s going to be a challenge for us to change how we look at things. Because as we look at that long term protection, council is going to have a lot of decisions to make and the community is going to have to be aware of the impact we have on that resource. It is the lifeblood of the community. So protection of that asset, and realizing our Asset Management Plan (is the next challenge).”
Allin believes an historical perspective on any challenge is important, as is refining those perspectives and melding them with new innovative ideas to suit our current times.
“When you think about things you should keep your eyes wide opened,” said Allin.
“I never want to become the eighth councilor,” said Allin when reflecting on his position. “I give good advice to the city based on how we do things but council makes all the decisions. And they’ve been making great decisions. I look at what’s been done in the past with the previous CAO Lynne (Burch) and she did a great job. She kept everything moving forward and she had some great visions. Now we’re just going to make some minor adjustments to the organization, but nothing that is going to cost us anything more, but just a different way of looking at things.”
“I like to stretch a dollar ten different ways,” added Allin.
This is Allin’s first job as a CAO, a position he’s wanted to work in for about 15 years.
“I realized it by what I saw and what should be done differently,” said Allin. “When you’ve been in an industry all the way from the bottom to the top, you bring a perspective that you can relate to everybody with. You don’t come in as an academic and bring an academic approach to things. You bring a real approach to things. I’ve been on every aspect of the operation from an emergency situation in Peachland to the guy who was picking up trash.”
Allin now lives in Grand Forks with his wife and two children.