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Quote of the Week
"The challenge will be to maintain and replace our aging infrastructure, while still providing uninterrupted service to the public."
- Frank Besinger  
   
   

 

Story
Kimberley Massey photo
Frank Besinger recently took the helm of the public works department
as Director of Planning, Engineering and Operations.
 
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass announced earlier this month the hiring of Frank Besinger as the new Director of Planning, Engineering and Operations (DPEO).
Besinger has been serving in the position for the past three weeks, putting to an end a several month-long search to fill the position which was left vacant after Myron Thompson stepped up to the role of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) late last year.
The position, which was formerly referred to as Director of Operational Services, has been renamed to DPEO in order to provide more clarity as to the scope of responsibilities and tasks which Besinger performs and oversees.
Besinger, who most recently served as Town Manager / CAO for the Town of Valleyview, Alberta, has more than 35 years experience in the public sector and said he looks forward to working on some of the big projects coming forth for the Municipality.
The Civil and Geotechnical Engineering Technologist grew up in Hope, B.C. before attaining his diploma in Civil Engineering at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Following graduation, Besinger went on to work for the Province of B.C. for 25 years, serving as Area Manager in Vanderhoof for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for 11 years, as well as Mines Inspector for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for three years.
He also has eight years of experience working with municipal governments, including serving as the Director of Engineering and Public Works for the District of Logan Lake, B.C., Operations Manager for Alberta’s Yellowhead County, and most recently as CAO for the Town of Valleyview.
Besinger said he made the decision to relocate to the Pass - after considering reopening his engineering and design consulting business which he had operated on a small scale a few years ago - due to a desire to continue working in the public sector.
 

“At this point in my life, I’d prefer to stick with the work that I know best, which is working with municipalities and the public,” said Besinger.
“My overall strengths and experiences have been in operations, so I thought this was a good fit.”
He said many of the duties he will be performing are ones in which he has a great deal of experience.
“We have a large network of roads here in the municipality, as well as one major thoroughfare,” he said.
“As area manager in Vanderhoof, I was solely responsible for a maintenance area that was much larger than Crowsnest Pass.”
He said his main focuses will include municipal development, fleet maintenance, municipal building facilities, infrastructure and utilities, adding that the rehabilitation or replacement of several of these facilities will be a large undertaking for the Municipality in the coming years.
“The challenge will be to maintain and replace our aging infrastructure, while still providing uninterrupted service to the public,” he said, adding that funding will be the main issue when it comes to these projects.
“Planning is the easy part, the challenge is funding. We don’t want to affect the mill rate or people’s taxes, so that’s where the planning comes in, as well as sourcing of grants that will help fund those facilities and the upkeep of those facilities.”
Besinger said funding is a major challenge for any small community with a tax base that is not supplemented by big industries such as mining or oil and gas operations.
“Counties and municipal districts have more sources of funding… whereas we’re strictly relying on very limited amounts of provincial and federal funding.”
He noted that one of the big projects will be upgrading of the distribution system for the
Municipality’s water and waste water systems, which will include water looping projects and upgrades mandated by the Ministry of Environment, which will make the distribution system more efficient.
Besinger said funding for the project has been secured and that the project is still subject to Council approval through the budgeting process.
Besinger said in his downtime, he looks forward to utilizing the abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities at his disposal.
“My wife and I are both avid downhill skiers and we love the mountains,” he said, adding that they have spent a lot of time skiing in Jasper and Kamloops over the past several years, as well as working as ski instructors in the past.
He said he looks forward to utilizing skiing opportunities at Castle Mountain and in Blairmore and Fernie, as well as golfing, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and quadding in the summer.
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