The Village of Cache Creek has a new face in the Chief Administrative Officer position, but it’s one that will be familiar to many people: not only because Martin Dalsin, the new CAO, has lived in Cache Creek since 2000, but also because he was previously the Village’s CAO from 2000 to 2008.
The position was vacant for several months. In November 2018, new Cache Creek mayor Santo Talarico asked Dalsin—who had retired in Cache Creek after serving as the CAO of Chase from 2008 to 2011—if he would step in as interim CAO, to help the new council while they settled in and take care of some of the things that had been left unattended since July.
Dalsin was happy to help. “The Village had interviewed several people for the position, but people withdrew, or council felt they weren’t a good fit. Chemistry is a huge deal. It was put on hold until after the election, and then I got a call from Santo Talarico asking if I could do the record-keeping for the inaugural meeting .”
Dalsin stayed on as the search continued for a permanent replacement, but he says council weren’t liking the applications they were getting. “They knew my history, and saw that work was getting done, and asked me to stay on.” The decision to appoint Dalsin to a four-year term as CAO was finalized in February.
He says that his previous knowledge of the Village of Cache Creek has been very helpful. “I know the people to talk to, and people know me, for the most part.”
Dalsin, who has 30 years of municipal government experience, says that while it might sound boring, the first thing he did was filing. “I had to get the records in order. That was one of the impacts of the flooding. It threw a huge wrench into things. People had to drop everything to deal with it.” He adds that the Village is still catching up on Emergency Response claims from the 2018 floods: “That was a big one to look after. But it’s under control now.”
The Village is already dealing with plugged culverts and slides. However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently announced that they will be providing 80 per cent of the approximately $305,000 needed to replace a vehicle bridge over Cache Creek that was washed away in the 2017 floods, leaving residents on the far side of the creek with only pedestrian access to their properties.
“The vehicle bridge wasn’t an engineered bridge.” says Dalsin. “It was put in by residents way back when. This new one will be engineered to Ministry standards.” Work on the bridge is projected to be completed in 2020, and once it has passed all inspections the Village will take over as the bridge’s owner.
The Village has also received 100 per cent funding to replace two sewage lift stations: one on Quartz Road, the other at the sewage treatment plant. “We’re in talks with the engineers now, and seeing preliminary drawings. It will go to tender in late April/May, and work will probably start this summer.”
Dalsin adds that there will also be some work done inside the sewage treatment plant. “We’re looking to have covers on the tanks to reduce the amount of humidity in the air and address odour issues.” He says that the plant’s belt press died several months ago, and that while it has been repaired, the sludge is still there in the old drying beds east of the plant, and has to be dealt with.
“It’s too loose, and needs to be compacted. We have to treat it and have it hauled away.”
Asked about transit, Dalsin says there is a lot of support around the council table for the idea of rejoining the local transit system, but that no decision has been made yet, as staff and council start the budget process. The Village has been without a permanent Chief Financial Officer since July 2018 (an interim CFO is currently in place), but Dalsin says that they are close to hiring a permanent replacement.
Transit, as with much else, will depend on finances. “For too many years we got used to a steady stream of landfill revenue,” Dalsin admits. The Cache Creek landfill closed in December 2016, and while a landfill extension was approved in 2017, it has suffered a number of delays. Dalsin says it is tentatively scheduled to open in August 2019.
Recent work on the Downtown Visioning Project has revealed a list of short-term things the Village can do relatively inexpensively. Dalsin says there will be more consultation with stakeholders, and that work on the age-friendly initiative project is also ongoing. “Housing is definitely a part of it, and we’ll be setting up a meeting with service providers to see what comes of that.”
Speaking of the Village’s signature annual event—Graffiti Days—Dalsin says they’re going to try their darndest to get drag-racing back as part of the weekend, although the races would take place at the Campbell Hill airstrip rather than at the former Eagle Motorplex on the Ashcroft Reserve, which closed in 2016.
“We’ll see how much interest there is in that upfront. We’d like to have open drags, as well as special races for the old-timers. We’re taking baby steps, so we don’t bite off more than we can chew this year. Last year we added a geocache tour on Friday night, and that will be carrying on. People come on Friday for the Show and Shine on Saturday, and it’s good to have an activity to entertain them. And it gives the locals who volunteer at the Show and Shine a chance to participate.”
Asked what it’s like being back in the CAO’s chair, Dalsin says that he enjoyed being retired, but that he enjoys being active as well.
“At home I can do what I want when I want, like work in the woodshed, but that can get repetitive. When you’re in this chair, nothing is repetitive.”