Neil Marsh is stepping down as fire chief for the City of Meadow Lake.

This comes as a result of Monday’s (April 11) city council meeting during which council confirmed the appointment of Marsh to the newly created position of planning and development manager. By accepting this new, full-time position, Marsh will be retiring from the position of fire chief.

“While it is difficult to give up parts of a job you are passionate about and thoroughly enjoy, the time is right to make this change,” Marsh noted. “The results will be beneficial to not just the fire department, but to the community as a whole. I hope, in these last few months as fire chief, to wrap up some exciting projects and to leave the department in excellent shape for the next person. I am also looking forward to the challenges of my newly redefined role with the City of Meadow Lake.”

According to city administration, until council approved splitting the combined role of fire chief/building official in March, Marsh was doing the jobs of three people – fire chief, building official and development officer.

“Over the years, his position has evolved in scope to include an expanding range of public service roles and duties to meet our community’s growing needs,” reads a recent City of Meadow Lake news release. “The time required to deliver the level of service expected by council and the public, both competently and professionally, greatly exceeds the time available to one person. By splitting these roles, the city has taken a giant step forward in their ability to provide high quality services to the people of Meadow Lake and the larger regional community. Having two full-time staff instead of one will double the amount of available work time, with a more focused approach to each distinct role.”

This was echoed by mayor Merlin Seymour.

“Neil has served our community for more than 10 years and is a valued member of the city’s management team,” Seymour said. “He is very detail oriented and certainly more than capable of taking on this new role. And, while it will be a daunting task to find a new fire chief, we want to assure the community Neil will remain our fire chief until a new one is hired.”

The recruitment process now begins.

“The city hopes to be able to complete the process within the next few months and certainly appreciates Neil’s flexibility and willingness to work with the city to ensure a smooth transition,” the news release concludes.