Position profile: Area Manager

Learn more about the position in the job posting.

  • Job Title: Area Manager
  • Ministry: Alberta Environment and Parks
  • Competition Number: 1054599

Position Summary

Reporting to the Regional Director, Southern Region, the District Manager manages a multi-site, multidisciplinary team of professional, technical and administrative staff, who are operationally responsible for delivery of Parks Division programs including Visitor Services, Municipal water and sewer, Maintenance, Enforcement, Public Safety, Forestry Resource Management, Range Resource Management, Wildfire Operations, Ski Hill and campground operations, Winter recreation (snow luge, skating trails and cross country skiing), summer recreation (trails, boating, fishing), retail sales and Administration within Cypress Hills Provincial Park. In addition to managing operational budgets, human resources, administrative operations, and District operational planning this position will play a key role in coordination with other Parks Regions and also GoA and Federal Government stakeholders on specific District operational matters.

As a member of the Regional Management Team, this position contributes to the identification of regional issues and the development and execution of regional operational plans. A significant challenge will involve proactively preparing for and operationalizing outcomes defined within four Land-Use Framework Regional Plans with the Southern Region. Additionally, this position provides critical input in the development of infrastructure plans.

The Cypress Hills district includes a flagship Provincial Park in Alberta with well over 300 000 visitors annually and is both a Dark Sky Preserve and Interprovincial Park. It also includes variety of protected areas; 2 Natural Areas, 1 Ecological Reserve and 1 Heritage Rangeland whose management is shared with Operations Division. The proximity of the Park lands to the ranching communities and major city centre results in a daily interaction with a wide variety of stakeholder groups and partnerships. 

A full-service visitor center is managed year-round, complete with interpretive displays and significant retail and concession operations and an Education and Interpretation program. Additionally there are severally community run businesses including restaurants, a hotel, service station, and other concession opportunities.

Specific Accountabilities

Responsible for operational delivery of Parks Division programs including Visitor Services, Maintenance, Enforcement, Public Safety, Forestry and Range Resource Management, Wildfire Operations, Ski Hill, Campgrounds and Administration within Cypress Hills Provincial Park and several Ecological, Heritage Rangeland, and Natural Areas.

  • Ensuring programs delivered within the District are in compliance with legislation and Plan for Parks and the policies/procedures developed within the Division.
  • Preparation and monitoring of District field operation budget (in excess of $3.8 million), ensuring expenditures are within budgets and expenditures are processed in compliance with GoA/Departmental financial policies and procedures.
  • Manage dedicated revenue in excess of $2.5 million for the district, including annual projections, deposits and reconciliations consistent with GoA financial management processes.
  • Preparation and monitoring of specific District operational plans. Reporting on District operational outcomes, including defining performance measures and targets.
  • Leading, developing, coaching, and mentoring of district staff that includes an allocation of 10 full-time and up to 100 seasonal staff to optimize effectiveness of program requirements and shifting operational needs within the District. Effective recruitment, training and performance planning for technical, professional and administrative staff.
  • Coordinating varied administrative functions relating to field operations and staff: time sheet approval, housing for staff which includes maintenance, rent collection, and landlord tenant agreements for staff that reside in 7 houses, 8 trailers, and 1 apartment building.
  • Communicating and operationalizing changes to current operational practice impacted by implementation for the Plan for Parks and Occupational Health and Safety.

Coordinate with other Parks Regions and also varied GoA and Federal Government and NGO stakeholders on specific operational matters.

  • e.g. Works with an Interprovincial Park Team that includes Saskatchewan and Federal government stakeholders on topics such as forest health, enforcement and marketing
  • e.g. Works with Royal Astronomical Society on Dark Sky issues and objectives in Cypress

Contribute to the identification of regional issues and the development and execution of regional operational plans as a member of the Regional Management Team.

  • Identify District issues and proposed solutions.
  • Coordinate with Infrastructure unit on implementation of capital projects and with Land-Use unit in proactively preparing for and operationalizing outcomes defined with four Land-use Framework Regional Plans within the Cypress Hills District.
  • Prepare briefing materials and other correspondence for or on the behalf of the Minister, executive and senior management team, on all relevant issues.

Negotiate a variety of contract and lease agreements with a variety of businesses and stakeholders that includes facility operating agreements, hotel lease, ski hill lease, restaurants and concessions. Additionally, approximately 280 cottage leases are managed in a town site setting with municipal services being provided (water, sewer, streetlights, road repairs, snow removal, waste, planning, bylaw enforcement).

Manages a diverse visitor services program that includes interpretation, information services, educational outreach, marketing, and retail/concession operations at 3 locations. Establishes partnerships with a multitude of agencies to deliver or develop high quality products. Partnerships include non-profit, regional, provincial and federal agencies.

Scope, assign and monitor special projects within the Area as identified through Regional and/or Provincial priorities.

Participates on divisional project teams and contributes to the development of the Divisions land management policies, operating policies, business plans and programs and services for all parks and protected areas across Alberta.

Acts as a Regional Director, when the incumbent in unavailable, as requested.

Knowledge / Experience

Knowledge of applicable legislation including the Provincial Parks Act, Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas and Heritage Rangelands Act, Disposition Regulations, Fees Orders, Water Act, Historical Resources Act, Public Lands Act, Peace Officer Act and Regulations, and Occupational Health and Safety legislation. Knowledge of Plan for Parks.

Knowledge of GoA and Departmental procedures and practices related to: operational planning, budget forecasting/monitoring/reporting, expenditure authorization, management of IT resources, management of physical and capital resources, and management of human resources, Memorandum of Understanding with SRD.

Ability to develop and implement operational plans at the Regional and District level.

Skills in leading, developing, coaching and mentoring professional, technical and administrative staff located at multiple sites within the region. And ability to act independently as this position is located remotely from regional director.

Management experience and demonstrated success in leading a diverse group of professional and technical staff in meeting operational plan unit goals.

Demonstrated effective communication skills, project management skills and proven ability to collaborate with varied internal division/department staff, and other GoA or Federal government stakeholders.

Demonstrated skills in problem solving, decision making, and proactively identifying and addressing operational issues are required.

Related post-secondary education (resource management, park management, recreation management, or visitor services) and related program experience (5 years).

Leadership and Business Know-How

Strong leadership skills and management skills coupled with a strong technical background and skill set relating to resource management or resort management and administration. This position must lead a diverse professional and technical team with staff physically located in multiple locations. The incumbent must be able to carry out required duties with significant independence and autonomy; thus requiring sound decision making abilities. The Area Manager directly supervises 5 senior staff and 1 administrative support staff. There may be requirement to travel monthly for a variety of business needs it is essential that the manager has effective skills to motivate staff, as well as develop and coordinate activities from a distance.

Strong communication, mediation and negotiation skills for resolving disputes and negotiating issue resolution with special interest groups. Excellent planning and financial management skills to manage the district budget and to ensure that the delivery of programs in the District is maximized for Departmental and Divisional goals.

Ability to develop and maintain partnerships with a variety of NGOs, other government agencies and the private sector to further the goals and objectives of the department and government as well as to enhance the delivery of services to the park. These partnerships directly contribute to the services provided and financial well-being of the district operations and they must be fostered and enhanced through the managers efforts.

Must be able to arrange and chair meetings with the public, special interest groups and NGOs. Excellent presentation and public speaking skills are essential. Must be able to clearly convey government programs, activities and decisions and collect public feedback in an effective manner.

The position requires that the incumbent has the ability to negotiate with Municipal and Provincial Government departments, and special interest groups. The purpose of the negotiations is to negotiate MOUs/agreements, explain relevant government policies and needs with the aim of receiving support in the delivery of programs. Additionally, this position requires the incumbent to negotiate various revenue contracts with private sector businesses, including several restaurants/concessions, ski hill agreements, and a hotel/conference centre development. It is essential that a fair dollar return to the crown and quality service is achieved in these negotiations. 

The ability to liaise with and provide municipal services to over 280 cottage lessees.

Specific Parks Programs this position is accountable for delivering within the Area are varied, including Visitor Services, Resource Management, Wildfire, Emergency response, Maintenance, Enforcement, Public Safety, business operations (ski hill and campground), and Administration. Integrating a range of complex and diverse programs with key government and department initiatives is essential and must create appropriate linkages to the Land-Use Framework and the Plan for Parks.

Problem Solving

Creative and innovative thinking is an on-going requirement of this position in order to find solutions to complex problems and to address resource constraints (funding and staff). It is typical to work with a variety of partners and/or agencies to deliver visitor services and resource management objectives. Examples of this include the development of grant applications to seek significant funding for resource management projects from both federal and provincial partners.

It is also necessary to develop close relationship and foster the development of Non-Governmental Organizations that also seek funding and in turn invest in park programs and/or infrastructure. Examples include preparing funding requests for forest protection activities, delivery of visitor services programs, enhancement of public safety programs, working with persons with disabilities to create strong communities while accomplishing meaningful resource management or maintenance projects and grants for resource conservation projects through the federal government.

The types of problems that are experienced in this position often involve diametrically opposed opinions or solutions. As a result the manager must be able to create win-win solutions and create common ground in controversial situations and/or garner support in situations where compromise is required.

The manager must also be able to proactively identify District issues and convey them in a thorough and timely manner, articulated clearly with solutions through various administrative and budget processes. Throughout this process collaboration and creation of partnerships must always be a consideration.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Direct reports in district Daily / weekly Provide direction and guidance as needed, determine priorities and assist with problem solving and client relations.
Regional professional, technical, and administrative staff Daily / weekly General program and priority direction; status updates
Area Management Team Bi-weekly as requested Input, advice and recommendations
Regional Director Daily / weekly Provide input, recommendations, and project updates
Counterparts in other areas As required Collaboration to identify and resolve inter-jurisdictional issues
Human Resource Personnel On a regular basis as required Seek advice on human resources issues, staffing, and pay and benefit issues; provide information on staffing, commencements, and performance agreements.
Headquarters Directors and professional staff Issue specific / often daily or weekly Seek advice, support or work on joint projects
Parks Executive As requested by AD and/or as needed if working on specific provincial initiatives Provide updates and recommendations; project updates
Varied Stakeholders from other GoA departments or the Federal Government, or municipal governments Daily Information exchange, solicitation of input, conflict resolution
Contractors and Consultants Daily Develop, deliver and monitor contract implementation. Provide advice and direction.
NGOs, friends groups and other private sector partners Daily / weekly Manage official agreements, resolve issues and address requests, develop and monitor work plans.
Lease holders (grazing, cottage, resource development, hotel, ski hill, etc.) Daily / weekly Manage lease commitments and address requests and resolve issues.

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)

This position is completely responsible for all district results and outcomes that directly impact the level and quality of service provided to the public, within the resources allocated. However, with creativity and innovation the manager can significantly increase the level and quality of service provided by seeking out meaningful partnerships with NGOs and the private sector. As District operations provide front line service to the public and stakeholders the impact of decisions made by the manager directly affects their impression of government as a whole. Further, Cypress Hills as a flagship provincial park a significant amount of media interest is generated and in peak visitor seasons we are featured at least monthly. This is another reflection of the public and stakeholder support for government programs.

Operational decisions at the site level and the quality of service that is provided by staff and/or our business partners has a direct impact on visitation which has a ripple effect on the business in the larger community or region. If our customers are pleased with the services provided and how they are treated results in increased visitation which has direct positive economic benefits. Again, how the manager allocates, manages and seeks resources is of utmost importance to the community and region.

The Government of Alberta is committed to a diverse and inclusive public service that reflects the population we serve to best meet the needs of Albertans. Consider joining a team where diversity, inclusion and innovation are valued and supported. For more information on diversity and inclusion, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion Policy.