Brett Clark, manager of Parks and Facilities for the City of Kimberley, has resigned. Paul Rodgers file photo.

Kimberley’s parks manager resigns amid harassment over COVID-19 closures

Brett Clark, Kimberley’s parks and facilities manager, has resigned from his position due to ongoing harassment from closures amid the ongoing pandemic.

“We thank Brett for his contributions to Kimberley’s Parks and Facilities over the last three years. He will be missed by his staff, management, and by council,” a news release from Chief Administrative Officer Scott Sommerville said on Monday, Nov. 2.

“We wish him all the best in his bright future.”

The City commended Clark for his hard work and dedication, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein Clark has been instrumental in the development of safety plans for re-opening the Civic Centre and City Hall.

Clark worked with numerous sporting organizations to develop their safety plans as well.

“Brett had the foresight to improve Kimberley’s outdoor rink facilities this summer, in anticipation of the difficulties in opening City facilities.

“He has kept the safety of the City workers and the public at the front of mind, while considering ever-changing provincial public health orders and guidelines from governing sports bodies. Brett’s experience and thoughtfulness have guided all of his recommendations to City Council, which have been unanimously supported.”

In the release, Sommerville referenced the decisions made by the City regarding the continued closures of both the Aquatic Centre and the Marysville Arena, saying they’ve been “agonizing” for staff and council.

“The City has issued press releases on the rationale for these decisions, and we don’t expect everyone to agree with our choices,” Sommerville wrote in his news release.

“However, staff and council do not deserve constant abuse and bullying. Our employees have a right to enjoy being out in Kimberley and supporting our local businesses without being publicly berated. As an employer we have a duty to protect staff from bullying and harassment, and staff have the right to refuse unsafe work.

“Now more than ever, Kimberley needs to come together as a community and be civil to one another. We should be proud of the sacrifices we have made to keep our COVID cases in Kimberley to a minimum.”

Sommerville concluded his release by leaving his contact information — ssommerville@kimberley.ca and 250-427-9668 — and saying that he is open to “civil conversations and creative solutions” and that while he will continue to work towards protecting the City’s vulnerable residents, he will not “tolerate bullying or harassment of his staff.”