Tobacco enforcement officer retires after 35 years
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | March 29, 2018
After 35 years with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR), Kris Kadwell has decided to retire and stay in the Highlands.
The 58-year-old tobacco control officer’s last day on the job is March 29. His colleagues are throwing him a going-away party in the afternoon at McKecks Tap and Grill. “It’s been a good run,” said Kadwell in an interview earlier in the week.
“I feel like I’ve been living the dream,” he said, referring to working in a community he loves and being able to raise his two boys in it.
Originally from Colorado, Kadwell’s family emigrated to Canada when he was a child. He studied at Ryerson University and was first hired by the HKPR as a student public health inspector in 1982. Near the end of his contract position, he was advised a full-time position would likely be available at the Haliburton office.
“I tried not to look overly excited, but I was,” he recalled. Kadwell completed an exam and was hired in the fall of 1983 as a certified inspector. He was very busy in the summer with lot severances, commercial and private septic system design and approval, and well water safety as well as responding to complaints. He took a special interest in health promotion activities including organizing and presenting training programs for contractors, restaurant owners and staff, and many rabies prevention courses for the general public, doctors and school-aged youth.
In 1998, he applied for his current position. Over the years, he has enforced the Tobacco Control Act and educated businesses about the law. It came with its challenges but was also very rewarding. “The enforcement part was tough, but in the long run it can be easily justified,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets or problems with that.” Kadwell plans on staying in the area and spending more time volunteering.
He’s hosted a radio program on Canoe FM for the last 14 years and is considering joining the station’s board of directors. He’s also involved with the Haliburton County Folk Society.
“In a small and close-knit community … it’s not really saying goodbye to my beloved colleagues, because they’re involved in a lot of [the same] things outside of work.” The HKPR is currently looking to fill Kadwell’s position. He is one of two tobacco control officers in the area.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.