Dear Peachland residents and friends:
I AM RETIRING!
I feel so very lucky to have been able to stay as the District of Peachland’s operations clerk for almost three decades, Aug 15, 1994 – Aug 26, 2022. During my time there have been so many changes in full time and seasonal staff, administration and council that its hard to count all the people that I have worked with over the 28 years, including eight different mayors and council, seven or eight CAOs, seven or eight directors of operations and many, many (75+) co-workers who left or retired.
In my years here, I feel like I’ve gone through a technological revolution. When I started, no one had cell phones. We used two-way radios. I mostly knew where everyone was and what they were doing. I felt connected and in the loop. Cell phones changed all of that. My voice was the alarm voice for the water department for a few years and the water crew would make fun of “me” waking them up in the wee hours.
For a year or two, my office was in what is now the planning office downtown, so that contractors and workers would have easy access to operations while the downtown revitalization was ongoing. I was working on a data spreadsheet at that time, a huge project that had me dreaming numbers all night. It was a local engineer, looking over my shoulder one day that offered an insight into the program I was teaching myself to use. His comment made a huge difference in my use of the program. People know things and when someone offers their expertise, listen and learn.
As much as I would have loved to attend college or university, I did not attend either. I learned ‘on the job’ and helped finance, admin and planning with a variety of work. My tasks included the mundane, the monotonous and the creative that stretched my patience, knowledge and abilities. I worked on the Peachland website upon the request from the CAO back in the late 1990s. I learned about html code from library books and from my children who knew much more than I did. I knew nothing and that learning curve went straight up for years. My advice to the young people starting out in the working world is accept opportunities outside your comfort zone. Definitely not all opportunities are easy or fun but they can later make for great stories and new skills. Having a sense of humour is a must and helps one get through the not-so-nice jobs.
When I got a rescue dog from the SPCA, I was very lucky to be able to bring her to work. My co-worker Mirjam and I, at noon hours, scrounged thrown away materials from the garbage and metal bins, cobbled together fencing and built a gate to create a yard for both our dogs. My dog Shadow (2005 – 2020) and I would go out at noon on “my” trails in summer and winter; walking, running, and snowshoeing. As we both got older and slower, our joy in being out on a trail never diminished.
I have also commuted by bicycle every year for all of these 28 years, not every day of the week, but for sure at least one or two times a week from April – Sep. I always tried for three times a week but I found myself a wimp for weather (cold, wind, rain, extreme heat, smoke) and it can be hard to be motivated in spring and fall to get on the bike in the dark at 5:30 a.m. for the one hour and 20 minute commute. Princeton Ave is a killer hill but oh the joy in the after work downhill blast! I think my co-workers cringed at my speed, and on those days when I would tow Shadow in the trailer, I am sure her legs would be spread-eagled and toenails grasping for purchase as we careened around the corners with her ears flapping and her tongue hanging out. She never refused to get in the trailer and she warbled with excitement as we began. Over the years as I aged I never lost my drive to get up Princeton hill faster than the last time (seconds count), or the sheer joy of going fast downhill. I am impressed with anyone, young or old, that takes on the challenge of cycling up Princeton Ave. I love cycling to work and that last hill was always a challenge no matter which bike I used; a 1984 vintage Cannondale, a 2016 Cannondale or a creaky old mountain bike. My best time up is 23 minutes and 30 seconds, which is not too shabby for a senior. Now that I am retired, I am never cycling up that hill ever again. Ha. I can hear some of you saying never say never and whispering, “e-bike, e-bike!”
This is a very active and involved community and I am happy to have spent a great part of my life working for you and the District of Peachland. You’ve been awesome. Am going to find other trails now….
Linda Nicholas, Operations Clerk