Salmon Arm chief administrative officer Carl Bannister receives his 20 year service award from Mayor Alan Harrison at the Dec. 10 council meeting. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

City administrator honoured for 20 years of service

Carl Bannister’s career with Salmon Arm begins with evacuation

Normally busy at work behind the scenes, Salmon Arm’s administrator Carl Bannister found himself in the spotlight at the Dec. 10 council meeting for his two decades of service with the city.

Mayor Alan Harrison began the meeting by presenting the city’s chief administrative officer with a 20-year service award.

“Carl, you’re looking quite nervous,” kidded Harrison before providing a bit of background about Bannister, noting he has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters in Community Planning from the University of BC, and has also achieved all levels of certification with the B.C. Board of Examiners, including his executive management certification. He was a planner with the cities of Surrey and Langley before coming to Salmon Arm in 1998.

Related: Photos capture terrifying images of advancing wildfire

“He was hired as a director of development services,” said Harrison. “Carl arrived just prior to the Silver Creek fire in 1998 and, at one point, he, the fire chief, the staff sergeant and a few senior staff were the only occupants in the municipality after the mass evacuation.”

In 2005, the year of the city’s centennial and incorporation, Bannister was promoted to CAO, and was instrumental in planning for the new city hall.

Listing highlights of Bannister’s career with the city, Harrison said he: navigated the Prestige Inn development and planned the foreshore walkway; he initiated and negotiated several strategic property acquisitions for the Ross Street underpass, the Auto Road connector, the 21st Street underpass, land for the new cemetery and the new recreation facility; he engaged with the school district to secure the joint-use facilities agreements as well as the servicing agreements and land exchanges for the J.L. Jackson site; and was involved from the start with the SmartCentres development.

Related: Searing memories of the 1998 Silver Creek wildfire in the Shuswap

“Carl has survived many ordeals in his life, not to mention six councils at the city,” said Harrison. “Carl is a quiet man who leads by example. He always allows his staff to take the responsibility for their respective departments. He’s always open to offer sound advice, and regardless, whether we take it or not as councillors, he still supports our decisions. So Carl, congratulations on 20 very successful years, this is our opportunity to thank you.”

After receiving the award, Bannister briefly reflected on his start with the city in ’98.

“It turned out that was probably a bad time to come,” joked Bannister. “And one of my first jobs was to help evacuate the city. I remember joking at the time that I didn’t recall seeing that in my contract. But I guess it was under ‘other related duties assigned by council.’ But I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the industry during my time here, your worship, including several councils, and I thank you for the kind words.”

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