Got what it takes to be the city’s new nightlife commish? Check out the new posting

ottawa nightlife

Can you balance community safety and well-being, quality of life and commercial vibrancy across the city between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.? Serve as an ambassador and facilitator of the city’s nightlife economy? Liaise with multiple stakeholders related to nightlife development?

If yes, the City of Ottawa needs you.

The job posting for the new position of nightlife commissioner is now available as the City of Ottawa begins recruitment for the much-anticipated role.

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Last year, the city announced a plan to improve nightlife in the nation’s capital, sometimes dubbed “the town that fun forgot,” including a three-year Nightlife Economy Action Plan and the appointment of a nightlife commissioner. The plan could eventually lead to the creation of a virtual nightlife resource centre, new mid-sized entertainment venues, and a city-wide nightlife and security plan. 

The plan was approved in May 2023, and now the city is searching for the steward of Ottawa’s new nightlife goals. 

According to a memo from the office of David Wise, director of economic development and long-range planning at the City of Ottawa, the successful candidate will help “shape the future of Ottawa’s nightlife” and “enhance community safety and wellbeing, quality of life and commercial vibrancy across the city.”

The job posting will be live for three weeks, closing on March 1, 2024.

According to the posting, the winning candidate will “serve as an ambassador and facilitator of the city’s nightlife economy and lead the implementation of the Nightlife Economy Action Plan that aims to develop a foundation from which Ottawa can build on its competitive strengths and address challenges in the development and delivery of nightlife infrastructure, amenities, and experiences.” 

The person will hold a bachelor’s degree and have five years’ experience in the public or not-for-profit sector, economic development, urban planning, arts and culture or community organizations that intersect with the nightlife economy. 

The candidate will need to be “familiar with, and experience with legislation, regulations, policies, standards, guidelines, and community initiatives relevant to key and diverse nightlife sectors, including illegal, illicit and prohibited activity.” 

The ability to interact with the media and elected officials in a professional and inclusive manner; a knowledge of industry trends and developments and business administration concepts; and experience with and understanding of project management principles are also required.

The salary comes in at just under $112,000 annually.

The right candidate will be more than just a resume, Erin Benjamin, CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, told OBJ when the new position was first announced. The “complex role” will require a candidate with strong relationships throughout the nightlife community, she said. But the “nuance” of the role could require a different hiring process for the city, she added.

“I wouldn’t know what’s involved in picking this candidate, but from my perspective as an industry leader and expert, someone with real field experience would be sought after. But we might need to slice and dice that a bit, because the range of experience on paper could be broad but also nuanced,” said Benjamin. “It might be a tall order, but it would be wonderful to look toward the unusual suspects. Who has those skills that could be impactful?”

The position is a first for Ottawa, with other cities in North America and Europe having already hired for a similar role.

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