After an extensive search, the Wakamow Valley Authority has found its new general manager, as they announced earlier this week that Donna MacQuarrie-Bye will assume the role.
“I love everything that Wakamow stands for, everything that it offers to the community and it’s great to walk out my front door and be that close to work and look around and say wow this is amazing,” says MacQuarrie-Bye. “This has been a great opportunity for me.”
She will be responsible for team leadership, fundraising, planning recommendations, and community and public relations. She will also act as a liaison with municipal, provincial, and federal government agencies on behalf of the WVA.
MacQuarrie-Bye comes to the WVA from the healthcare sector, which is where she has been for the last 25 years. This type of position is what she went to school for, as she earned herself a diploma from SIAST (now Sask PolyTech) in the Recreation and Leisure program, where she honed the skills, she needed for this position.
Though it took her a long time to find this position, she feels this is exactly where she is meant to be.
“Oh hugely! When I was doing my fieldwork experience, I did work with Meewasin Valley Authority for a short period of time and that is what has stuck with me all these years. When I had the opportunity to apply with the WVA. I was like this is finally happening and this is where I want to be. I want to be working with the public, putting on special events, and meeting new groups and people within the community.”
“It’s very exciting, I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
That school experience gave her a strong foundation and initial experience playing a vital role in operating, conserving and maintaining of natural areas while protecting the future use of the Saskatchewan River Basin.
She has taken over the role from former general manager, Todd Johnson, who led the WVA for four years.
One of the reasons why she was attracted to the position as she felt that she has a lot to offer and shares the vision that Johnson had in his time with the authority.
“He did a fabulous job with the authority in his time there. I felt it was a nice transition for the authority.”
Coming into this new role, MacQuarrie-Bye does have a lot to learn but a lot to offer at the same time, as she has some ideas on how to expand the Wakamow Valley Authority.
“What we’re working on is our Valley of Lights project so I see where there is a lot of room for expansion in the future. Our Farmers Market – there's so much opportunity to make it a bigger and better event. There are also other areas of the park that need equal recognition. It is a beautiful park and this is one of Moose Jaw’s treasures and we have to promote that.”
The Valley of Lights is the WVA's biggest fundraiser of the year and it kicks off this holiday season on Dec. 1 and will run until Jan. 7.
Though it’s been a lot of work adjusting to the new position in recent weeks, she says that it has been a lot of fun and it has been worth the wait.
“I have enjoyed getting to know the staff and watching how they operate in their role with Wakamow Valley. They are enthusiastic and really know their job and are usually two steps ahead of you. It’s been really busy, a lot busier than what I thought it was going to be but it keeps me sharp and fresh and it’s been a great experience so far.”
She comes to Wakamow Valley Authority with a strong sense of community, professionalism, work ethic, creativity and enthusiasm that will be an asset to the board and the organization. She is looking forward to continuing to serve the community and working to achieve sustainability of Moose Jaw’s River valley on behalf of the citizens of Moose Jaw and surrounding areas.