Region of Queens executive who played ‘vital role’ in area’s economic recovery retires after 19 years

by Michael Lee

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Jill Cruikshank, director of economic development for the Region of Queens Municipality, will officially retire at the end of the month.</p>

A long-time municipal staffer is set to retire after 19 years with the Region of Queens.

Jill Cruikshank, the region's director of economic development, will work her last day with the region on September 15 and take a couple of weeks off until her official retirement at the end of the month.

Known for her calm demeanour and pleasant discussions, Cruikshank's peers have lauded her work with the business community and helping the county manage through the closure of the Bowater mill five years ago.

"We're going to be sad to see her go," said Mayor David Dagley, "but it will provide her with the time to do the things that she would love to do and hasn't been able to fully indulge in, in the past."

In a statement, Cruikshank said she has mixed emotions about leaving the municipality after 19 years.

"Obviously, as with any job, there are some parts I won't miss, but I will miss my colleagues, business friends, and the huge network I have developed," she said.

"Having worked solidly for around 40 years, and having put my heart and soul into the various positions I have been fortunate to hold at the municipality, I am looking forward to spending more time with family and friends and being 'a resident' again to enjoy this beautiful place we live in."

Cruikshank began her career with the municipality in September 1998 working a job in administration.

She eventually moved up the ranks to become Special Projects Coordinator and Economic Development Officer.

Having worked under four different Directors of Economic Development, Cruikshank took on the role herself in July 2009.

Cruikshank is credited with helping to create Port Medway Lighthouse Park, and for working with community organizations to develop lease agreements at the Visitor Information Centre, Fort Point Lighthouse, South Shore Regional Airport and the old courthouse.

She also worked with the Chamber of Commerce to develop the Queens Attraction Strategy and has supported events at Queens Place, as well as the Mersey Forum speaker series and annual Ukulele Ceilidh.

Following the closure of the Bowater mill in 2012, Cruikshank supported a number of proposed actions from the Transition Advisory Team which helped guide the community's ongoing recovery and brought potential tenants to Port Mersey Commercial Park.

"Jill played a vital role in helping the region pull its economy back together, meeting the leaders of industries thinking of investing in Queens, talking to those considering opening retail businesses and so on," said former mayor Christopher Clarke.

"All during this she remained calm, never letting the stress wrinkle her very attractive demeanor. Jill was a major contributor to Queens's rebirth and its ability to move forward."

Former mayor John Leefe said in spite of the circumstances, Cruikshank's "admirable work ethic and consistently intelligent approach to assisting" the business community in Queens has set a "gold standard.

"Her constant good humour and professional demeanor have stood Queens in good stead and will be greatly missed."

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