The Recovery Task Force is losing around half of its employees as they transition back into their old municipal departments.
Thursday, August 31, will be the last day for 16 of the remaining 31 workers including Team Lead Dana Woodworth. He was first appointed Interim Leader back in August 2016, eventually deciding to stay as the permanent lead for the foreseeable future.
Woodworth tells Mix News the progress that’s been done has made his short stay here very “satisfying.”
“It’s easy to forget what it was like a year ago, but when I arrived we had a massive wave of work and challenges so we had to build our team and the priority of effort. We’ve done all that, we aligned it against the campaign plan, we are well into the recovery of the entire region.”
He notes his first priority once his job is done is taking a trip back home to Kamloops, British Columbia, to see his family. Soon after, Woodworth says he has plans on traveling to High River where he will help develop a recovery toolbox for any area that’s been devastated like Fort McMurray, Slave Lake, and the Calgary region.
He adds the community has gone through a lot of milestones over the past year, none more important than the community gathering at Syne Point Park on May 3, marking one-year since the wildfire and evacuation.
“To see a community that is returning to a sense of normalcy, just the conversations I’ve listened to, it’s a happiness despite overarching sadness of why we were all down there.”
Woodworth believes there’s at least another full year of work that needs to be done before the task force is officially dismantled.
Meanwhile, Operations Manager Erin O’Neill will take over as the team lead, as they will continue to focus on the rebuild, mitigation, and the environment.
Six of the employees who are leaving, will be changing offices, however, they will continue to work on the people pillar of the recovery plan.
One of the workers, Community Impact Strategist Nadia Power says they’ll work out of the community services department helping with the psychosocial impact on the residents.