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Parksville city staff members say they have zero capacity for new projects

City’s director of operations said workers dealing with 41 projects for 2022
(PQB News photo)

Parksville city staff say they have zero capacity for new projects.

Belinda Woods, the city’s director of operations, gave a verbal report to council’s July 18 regular meeting which explained staff have 41 projects in progress for 2022, plus 17 that will carry over into next year.

Woods added staff were already looking at 40 projects 2023 — 40 is about the maximum yearly number of projects staff can complete.

“You are at a staff capacity short,” she said. “When we reach the maximum capacity and have to work more than that, there’s two options that staff have. We either work more hours, or we defer the other work that we’re supposed to be doing.”

The 2022 list includes major projects such as the new community park washroom, sports courts, an urban forest strategy, the Parksville Wetlands, the October municipal election and the proposed pool and multiplex, Woods said.

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In 2023, staff will work on major projects such as the Rathtrevor Trail Connection, Parksville Lions Housing, the Fire Department Strategic Plan and multiple projects in the community park.

“There is an operational risk when we task our staff to do more than their capacity,” Woods said.

She said important initiatives such as First Nations engagement and reconciliation, the Special Events permit program and website improvements could be left behind because staff just do not have enough time.

Woods added maintenance work and other operational tasks can suffer when a city staff is overloaded.

She asked council to consider which projects they decide to bring forward and add to the staff work plan.

“What we are asking for is nothing new,” she said. “Give us a break to catch our breath and try and catch up.”

Keeva Kehler, chief administration officer, suggested a committee of the whole this fall could allow council to decide what projects need to stay and what can be deferred.

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