After a several month delay, Parksville’s official community plan (OCP) update process is back on track.
The process started in May 2010 and was originally meant to be complete around now, but the city has always stressed there is no rush and they wanted to ensure proper time for public input. Any schedules where merely guidelines.
It progressed as expected over the first many month, but was eventually slowed by things like the two public committees working through the old OCP in great detail, the municipal election and staff issues at the city and the consultant.
After a key member of the HB Lanarc Consultant team that was working on the Parksville project left, the city cancelled the contract by mutual agreement and sent a request for proposals to 14 firms in September.
Six firms responded with a wide range of qualifications and bids ranging from $121,065 to $199,000.
A committee of senior city staff evaluated the bids and recommended Urban Systems’ $130,450 bid based on a technical ranking.
“I have heard comments about Urban Systems that were not very complimentary,” cautioned Coun. Marc Lefebvre.
Chief administrative officer Fred Manson, who was not on the selection committee, said that it is a large and respected company with different people involved today than 11 years ago when the company did some work for the city that drew some complaints.
He expressed confidence in the selection committee’s technical ranking.
Council decided against an optional detailed market analysis and special waterfront area design for an additional $49,500.
The city was awarded an $81,400 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in September on the basis that the new OCP will contain sustainability content and use outside consultants rather than staff.
The city spent $53,000 on the Lanarc work and, including the grant, has $216,000 left in the OCP budget.
A big component of the tendering process was ensuring the new firm will be able to use and build on the work done over the past 18 months
Only Coun. Bill Neufeld voted against the motion, preferring a longer process to ensure public input.
Asked from the audience, director of community planning Gayle Jackson said the Urban Systems plan calls for seven to nine public meetings and 10 committee meetings over the next year, but it is flexible.
The city’s website at www.parksville.ca has an extensive OCP section under the Quick links tab on the right.