Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

DUTIES DECENTRALIZED – Sheila Dodd, the city's tourism and economic development coordinator, was told last week of changes to how the city deals with tourism and economic development under its internal reorganization plan.

‘It's been a fantastic run': tourism official

For 16 years, Sheila Dodd has welcomed tourists and newcomers to the city and worked to generate revenue in Whitehorse.

By Stephanie Waddell on October 16, 2012

For 16 years, Sheila Dodd has welcomed tourists and newcomers to the city and worked to generate revenue in Whitehorse.

Dodd is the tourism and economic development co-ordinator for the City of Whitehorse, working out of the Third Avenue historic building near LePage Park.

However, as the city undergoes a major reorganization, Dodd's various roles are set to be split up within the various divisions of the city.

"I've enjoyed every day,” Dodd said of her work.

She recalled her work with tour operators and bringing many events to the community, along with speaking with tourists and newcomers looking for information on the city.

"It'll be sad to leave that,” she said.

There are some major anniversaries coming up for some larger events this winter – the 30th running of the Yukon Quest, the 10th anniversary of the annual snow carving competition.

"We feel it's been going fantastic,” she said.

More and more conventions are coming to town in the off-season as the city has worked with various groups in the community to bring visitors to town in the off-season.

She noted 7,000 convention packages have been handed out and the phone is ringing all the time with inquiries from tour operators and others looking for information from the city.

While tourists and tourism businesses often use the services of Dodd's office, so to do businesses like mines, which may need information on hotel room availability and so on, Dodd noted.

In late August, city council adopted a reorganization plan aimed at creating efficiencies within the city.

After it was adopted, staff set to work on implementing the plan.

Last week, Dodd was informed of changes to how the city deals with tourism and economic development under the reorganization.

In an interview this morning, city manager Stan Westby stressed no city employees will lose jobs, but tourism and economic development responsibilities are set to be spread out throughout the organization.

Under the plan, he said, the communications and promotions part of tourism and economic development will fall under strategic communications.

Outreach and events will have a supervisor reporting to the new role of director of community and recreation services which currently has Linda Rapp (the former manager of parks and recreation) acting in the role.

Finally, economic development will fall under the new section of development services.

"They're all critical, all important,” Westby said of the various functions the tourism and economic development department has. He noted the city won't be losing any of those roles, but rather spreading them out throughout the organization.

The end result will be efficiencies throughout the organization, she said.

Staff are still working on how the city's tourism building, where Dodd works right now, will be used once the reorganization is in full swing.

For now, Westby said, it will remain open.

Westby also noted the committee tasked with implementing the reorganization will meet with Dodd by early next week to look at the changes.

He stressed that "some positions are changing,” but no one will be left without a job.

Dodd is preparing for the changes – some are already coming through, with her co-worker leaving their office for a position based out of the Canada Games Centre.

Meanwhile, she is looking back fondly at her 16 years in her current role.

"It's been a fantastic run,” she said, noting her hope that tourism in the city will be handled well into the future.

Given the recent federal cuts to Parks Canada, she noted, it's extremely important the city continues to promote tourism and welcome visitors.

Today, she once again handed out the Bravo Awards, one of the many things she's enjoyed about her job.

The awards go to businesses nominated by visitors for service to visitors which go beyond the norm.

Comments (2)

Up 0 Down 0

flyingfur on Oct 18, 2012 at 1:38 am

Sheila is a wonderful lady and has been an ambassador of sorts for the Yukon for many years. I hope that the COW appreciates this and keeps it in mind while trying to be more "efficient". Want to be more efficient? Fire all your meter maids and let people...Yukoners and visitors alike park for free downtown...this will improve the use and business of the downtown area.

Up 0 Down 0

June Jackson on Oct 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

The current Administration has not been good so far at "efficiencies".

Whatever they are doing..I am glad no one is losing their job. Jobs keep money flowing in the community. I always thought lay offs and eliminating jobs were a poor way to improve the economy.

I'm going to watch this..just in case this Administration decides to sneak in a few job cuts or layoffs.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.