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Media Release - Long career with the City was absolutely fulfilling

June 20, 2018
Long career with City was absolutely fulfilling

After making a splash in the City of Powell River’s aquatics department, Brenda Powell wanted her career to blossom. A transition into the City’s parks department led to all kinds of growth. But now, after 32 years of working for the City, Powell is retiring.
Powell began her career with the City at the Recreation Complex pool in 1986. She worked in aquatics until 2000 when she began looking for other City career opportunities and was able to post into the public works yard for half the year. She continued six months at the pool and six months each year in the parks department until 2004. A temporary posting came up in parks for a year, so Powell transferred over, and it evolved into a full-time posting in 2005. She found her niche.
In coming over to parks from aquatics, Powell quickly determined that she really enjoys working outside and she likes physical work.
“I kind of wish I’d done it years and years ago but all my ducks weren’t in a row,” she said.
Working in the parks department offered a varied career but what Powell really enjoyed was the landscaping. Her favourite part of the job involved making things grow.
“I enjoy when we get to choose flowers for the pots and different landscapes,” she said. “I’ve had a great deal of satisfaction picking out what I feel like planting. I was pretty much given carte blanche for my choices. That was one of my favourite things.” The gardens around City Hall and Dwight Hall are among her favourites.
Powell also really enjoyed the teamwork involved with the department. She said another favourite feature of her position is when the crew is working on a job.
“It’s always fun and everybody likes to see the final result when they are all working together on a project,” she said. “I’m really going to miss the crew. We work really well together.”
Maintaining the City’s gardens can be an intensive process. Powell said the parks department used to plant bulbs in the fall, yard them out after they’d bloomed and plant summer annuals. After they had expired she’d plant fall annuals and bulbs.
“I’ve been gradually changing some gardens over to perennials so it’s less maintenance for us,” she said. “We’re not a big crew and sometimes it’s overwhelming to try and get everything done.”
Working outside has kept her fit and healthy. She loves working in the fresh air. In the winter it can be damp, but she has great wet weather gear.
“Sometimes I like the wind and sometimes I like the rain, I just don’t care for them together,” she said. “I remember on one occasion having to shovel snow from all of the lights on the runway. It was a really big snowfall that year. There were four or five of us out there. There was sleet or ice coming horizontally in our faces. It was fine going one way but going back it was bitterly cold.”
In spite of the weather challenges, Powell said she looks forward to coming to work every day. “I’m always up early and always here early,” she said. “When I am on holiday I always miss it.”
Powell is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Parks Supervisor Paul Nassichuk. She regarded him as a friend, a mentor, and a catalyst toward her advancing her career. For example, he encouraged her to attain career certifications.
“Paul urged me to get training,” Powell said. “It was at Paul’s urging that went for my red seal in landscape horticulture. He didn’t want me to retire without it.”
Given the thousands of hours she had spent working in the parks department, she had enough experience to challenge the final exam without having to spend years doing the course work. She passed the exam and was given journeyman status.
“It was a great deal of satisfaction to get my red seal in landscape horticulture,” Powell said. Her certificate is hung in a frame in her office and the matting of the frame, appropriately for a master gardener, has been bedazzled.
Looking back on her more than three decades working for the City of Powell River, Powell said it has been an absolutely fulfilling career and retirement is going to be bittersweet.
“I’m really going to miss my coworkers and I’ll be keeping an eye on them,” she said.
Retirement plans include doing some landscaping in her own yard, which is not as prolifically planted as one might think. “You’d think I’d have lots of gardening at home,” Powell said. “I just have a few things in pots because I have a lawnmower husband, where if anything is near a blade of grass, it gets mowed down. Now that I’m going to be home I can do landscaping of my own and be there to guard it.”
She is also hoping to do a bit of travelling.
“I’m not slowing down,” she said. “I’ve got a list a mile long of people who have said if I’m looking for work they have all kinds of weeds in their gardens. I could quite easily go around and do that. I might just help people out with work in their yards.”



Event date: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 1:15pm


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