Farewell to retiring Parks and Rec Director Keith Anderson

Yet another notable member of North Battleford city administration is departing.

The retirement of Keith Anderson, a 25-year veteran who rose to become director of parks and recreation in recent years, was announced at council Monday.

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He had been leading such major initiatives as the Credit Union CUplex construction in recent years. But his expertise - and largest legacy - is on the parks side, where he worked to develop the city's green spaces over the past couple of decades.

In recent months Anderson battled shoulder-related health issues that required surgery and sidelined him for a lengthy recuperation period, but Anderson indicated in his retirement announcement his intention to put those issues behind him and move on to new challenges.

"After a good deal of consideration over the last while, it is with some regret that I announce my intention to retire from the position of director of parks and recreation," Anderson's letter wrote.

"I have experienced a few health issues in the recent past, and now as I put these behind me, I look forward to new and different challenges while I continue my working career."

Anderson thanked the mayor and council, as well as city management, for their support over the years, and pointed with particular pride to the efforts to improve the city's green infrastructure.

"With the help of the community, many City workers and managers, I was fortunate to have been involved in the planting of thousands of trees, the development and improvement of many acres of green space and the building of many different facilities."

"It has been very gratifying to be in a position where the results of the work are tangible and can be seen and enjoyed by the residents and visitors to the community. I wish the City of North Battleford well in all its future endeavours and once again thank you for the opportunity and support."

In response, Mayor Ian Hamilton expressed his sadness at Anderson's departure.

"I can speak for sure on behalf of all of council expressing appreciation for the work Mr. Anderson did on behalf of the City of North Battleford. He is very much missed."

Anderson's retirement creates another hole to fill in the ranks of city administration in North Battleford. The positions of finance director and city manager must still be filled.

City Manager Jim Toye, departing for Prince Albert at the end of the month, paid tribute to Anderson's service to the city.

He was "obviously a very integral part of the senior management team," Toye said to reporters.

He noted aerial photos taken of the city prior to Anderson's arrival and afterwards would show a stark difference in the look of the city. "Thousands of trees have been planted and there's more green space than any other community our size," he said.

Toye also pointed to Anderson's efforts with the park areas and green spaces, and noted the greenhouse was started as one of Anderson's initiatives as well. Toye also pointed to the success in the Communities in Bloom competition, winning four blooms their very first year, as well as his championing of the Credit Union CUplex during his time heading the department.

"That is the legacy of Keith Anderson."

Mayor Ian Hamilton paid tribute to Anderson as well in speaking to reporters.

"For the City, it's unfortunate, but I certainly just wish him the best in his future endeavours," said Hamilton.

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