CAO sets record straight about planning staff and many duties

By on February 7, 2017

Dear Editor:

This letter is written in response to local resident Sy Murseli’s letter to the editor that appeared in the Jan. 31 edition of the Osoyoos Times.

In his letter, Mr. Murseli states, “the Town of Osoyoos has three full-time planners on its payroll.”

That is incorrect. The Town doesn’t have three full time planners on staff. The Town’s staff includes two staff with planning designations and one building inspector.

The work done by these positions is very varied and requires different technical skills in community planning, development applications and building inspection.

Work completed by these employees includes, but is not limited to, dealing with the complex planning and development matters related to a resort municipality, ensuring the town’s legislation is current, processing of development applications, responding to development inquires, land use and building bylaw enforcement and building and fire inspections.

In addition, the planning department has most recently been instrumental in leading major community projects including: planning and redevelopment of Gyro Park, fire hall development, Richter Property Subdivision planning, Parks and Trails Master Plan and all aspects of the Town’s affordable housing strategy in the Meadowlark Area Plan.

The Town has benefitted from a very skilled and experienced staff that enables work to be completed “in house” rather than having work “contracted out.”

The ability to complete work “in house” enables efficiency and continuity in overall community planning.

In response to Mr. Murseli’s comments to “stop paying exorbitant engineering fees and hire civil engineers with planning experience”, I offer these comments.

In 2016 the Town paid $34,000 in general engineering consultation assistance. All other engineering fees were directly attributed to a capital project. The Town’s capital projects require several engineering disciplines to complete, which makes it impossible for a community the size of Osoyoos to hire civil engineers with all the needed disciplines.

Our current public works manager is a certified engineering technologist, a designation that assists in overall community infrastructure planning and communication with various engineering disciplines.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide the public with this factual information.

Barry Romanko,

CAO

Town of Osoyoos

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