Treasurer boasts small-town sensibility

Port McNeill welcomes Mark Wiber to the position of Town treasurer.

PORT McNEILL—With its Town treasurer finally having retired after more than 30 years in the community, the Town of Port McNeill turned for his replacement to another retiree.

OK, to be accurate, incoming treasurer Mark Wiber, 57, attempted an early retirement before discovering he was not ready for a life of leisure.

“I retired at age 55, but I got bored,” admitted Wiber, who started work last month following the retirement of longtime treasurer Albert Sweet. “I was working as a volunteer driver for a food bank, and it was fulfilling. But I knew there was more I wanted to do.”

Wiber hails from Edmonton and has a home in Calgary. And, at the time he responded to Port McNeill’s ad for a treasurer, he was on a two-year consulting contract with the City of Red Deer.

But it would be a mistake to see Wiber as a big-city guy parachuting into an alien, small-town environment.

“For eight of the previous 10 years I worked in Hay River and Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories,” said Wiber. “I like the lifestyle of living in a town like this. In a big office, an accountant is just an accountant. I really prefer the job variety and lifestyle available here.”

Wiber earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Calgary and has his CNA certification in accounting. He served as director of finance and controller during his years in the Northwest Territories, learning the values of small-town life.

But Port McNeill has already offered something he never found there — and something that might surprise even long-time local residents.

“One thing that really impressed me with Port McNeill is I’ve found people very helpful,” Wiber said. “And I’ve never lived in a town so clean.”

Wiber has two adult children working as master mechanic and journeyman welder, respectively, in Alberta.

He looks forward to continue settling in as a North Islander and contributing to Port McNeill’s development. But don’t expect his arrival to signal high drama in civic finance.

“I realize I’m replacing a gentleman who has been here for 32 years or so,” Wiber said with a nod to his predecessor. “I’m not here to shake things up. But I have a background working in municipalities of this size, and perhaps I can bring a little different perspective.

“We’ll see what happens.”