Embracing opportunities in Sicamous

New district operations manager Joe McCulluch welcomes transition from metropolitan Glasgow to rural B.C.

  • May. 4, 2016 11:00 a.m.

District of Sicamous operations manager Joe McCulloch.

To Joe McCulloch, Sicamous is a land of opportunity.

This point of view isn’t just based on the opportunity the District of Sicamous has given him to be its new operations manager.

Nor is it just about the new and different lifestyle the community has to offer the native Glasgow, Scotland transplant, his wife Leanne and children Millie, Holly and Angus.

It is these things and more.

McCulloch views Sicamous as a community on the cusp of something big, with plenty of opportunity awaiting anyone who is willing and/or able to see it. Having been a Sicamous resident for about a month now, McCulloch has found not everyone shares this point of view – yet.

“You ask them what are the problems and they say, ‘well, there’s no opportunities – why are you here?’ And I’m saying, ‘because there’s lots of opportunity!” said McCulloch. “And they say, ‘well what do you mean?’ And I say, ‘name me a business that’s here?’ ‘Well, there’s no business here.’ I say ‘Well, OK, tell me a business that you could bring here. ‘Well, I suppose you could do anything.’”

McCulloch and his family have been in the community for about a month. In that time he has become involved in different community meetings, talked to numerous people and even volunteered with the local fire department. McCulloch acknowledges much of the process of becoming acquainted with the community involves discussion about his home country, undoubtedly prompted by the accent. Accepting of the odd hiccup in translation, McCulloch is all too happy to chat about who he is, where he’s from and why he’s come to Sicamous.

For the past five years McCulloch worked in operations management, parks and recreation,  for Glasgow City Council. His responsibilities included the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. In fact, he and Leanne lived in the gardens’ historic curator’s house.

McCulloch notes he was responsible for transforming the lower floor of the building into what is now the garden’s Tea House.

“We lived there for five years,” said Joe. “It wasn’t a small-time venture for us. It was our main thing. That is pretty much as downtown Glasgow that you get. It was gorgeous.”

Prior to resettling in Sicamous, Joe and Leanne had been visiting family in B.C. for the past nine years. With the three young children, the McCulloch’s decided Glasgow didn’t offer the lifestyle they wanted as a family.

“We thought, we love B.C., we enjoy everything it has to offer. So let’s apply for our permanent residency which we did, and we got accepted… as a family unit,” said Joe.

Then came the process of finding work. Joe’s passion for municipal government eventually drew him to the Sicamous operations manager position.

“When the job came up and I read the job description I thought, I really want to do my research…,” said Joe. “As I started to do it, I realized the infrastructure side of Sicamous has and is going through a real reform, a very positive place ready to explode in a big scale… I could really see a community and a town and a district that are banging a drum. As you kind of see that and look at it, you think, that’s awesome.”

The transition has been positive for the McCullochs. Joe has settled in well at the district office, while he says Leanne, if it’s a sunny day, can be found at the beach.

Even his children are adapting well.

“My daughter actually said this at school when they said, so why did you move to Sicamous… this is the honest to God’s truth, my daughter said, ‘well Sicamous picked us,’” said Joe.

Now a resident of Sicamous and the Shuswap, Joe is looking forward to trying out a number local pastimes. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and racer, Joe says he’s looking forward to getting on a snowmobile for the first time. And while his sport of choice is boxing, followed closely by soccer, Joe says he’s willing to lace up a pair of skates and give hockey a go.

“Nobody has a huge interest in hockey back home,…” laughs Joe. “I cannot skate, I’ve tried. And I’ve never played hockey, but I will, I’ll do it, I’ll throw the pads on and do it.”


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