The city has lost one of its more senior officials to the private sector.
Corporate lands manager Herb Dusdal retired May 22 after 20 years with the city and has taken up a position with Nechako Northcoast Construction Services, the company which has the provincial government road and bridge maintenance contract for the area.
Dusdal is credited with a number of high profile city moves in the past several years, chief of which was the complex deal to sell a major portion of its Skeena Industrial Development Park to a Chinese corporation.
After serving first in the engineering department, Dusdal then served as director of public works from 2000 to 2012 at which time he shifted over to the newly-created corporate lands manager position, effectively becoming responsible for the city’s land holdings.
In that capacity Dusdal was at the helm of several key land deals when the city sold and leased land during a time of rising real estate prices.
The sale of more than 1,000 acres of land at the Skeena Industrial Development Park for $11.8 million last year to Chinese business interests is a key element of the city’s cornerstone for economic development for the next several decades.
Investors based out of the economic development zone in Qinhuangdao, China have already laid out plans to build an alfalfa protein extraction plant on the airport lands, the first of several offshore manufacturing facilities planned over the next decade.
The city also sold 2.5 acres of land on the corner of Kenney and Park to a Calgary developer $951,000 for a large residential complex under the provision it contain a number of affordable housing units.
And in the Keith Ave. light industrial area, the city struck a deal to sell just under five acres on the corner of Kenney and Keith to the company that owns the local Chrysler and Toyota dealerships as well as a recreational trailer dealership for $1 million.
The plan is to move the dealerships from their present location on Hwy16 and the sales deal awaits the property being given a clean environmental bill of health before fully closing.
A clean environmental bill of health is also awaited on another land deal, the sale of a major portion of the former Terrace Co-op property on Greig Ave. to Calgary hotel developer Superior Lodging.
A replacement for Dusdal has yet to be named and city administrator Heather Avison says the future name and function of the corporate lands manager position is “yet to be determined.”
The former city employee began his new job at Nechako Northcoast on May 25.
Company president John Ryan called Dusdal a friend of many years whose engineering and management talents will help the infrastructure grow in the coming years.
“He’s a talented individual,” said Ryan. “I’ve known Herb for an awful long time. From the days when he was in charge of operations at the city works department and so on. He has a great, great background in both technical, supervising and managing.”
Ryan couldn’t say what Dusdal’s new job title would be at Northcoast or how much he had to offer the former city corporate lands manager to join.
“It’s part of our evolving growth,” said Ryan of the Dusdal’s hiring.