The City of Parksville is looking for a new official community plan consultant and is now hoping to complete the year and half-old process by the end of 2012.
After a key member of the HB Lanarc Consultants’ team that was working on the Parksville project left, the city cancelled the contract by mutual agreement.
Coincidentally, the city recently received approval for a Federation of Canadian Municipalities grant for $81,400, but receiving the full value is contingent on a consultant being in the lead roll. If staff take the lead they could only claim 10 per cent of it.
That grant, and the fact that, as chief administrative officer Fred Manson put it, “We simply do not have the capacity to do this with staff,” led council to vote unanimously to begin an expedited process to hire a new consultant.
The new consultant will have access to the work that Lanarc has done since the long talked-about process officially began in May 2010, as well as continuing the planned work.
The new grant will be added to the existing budget of $135,000 and the OCP update — which the city has always stressed didn’t have a deadline and would take as long as it needed to take — is now expected to be completed around the end of 2012.
Most councillors expressed support for the process and said they were happy things are still moving ahead, if slower than expected.
Coun. Al Greir pointed out that it was because of these kind of unforeseen delays that he was originally against the OCP update, but he did support continuing, since the process is well underway.
He also said he’d heard from some members of the two public committees working on the update that they feel other members’ focus is too narrow.
Director of Community Planning Gayle Jackson, who works with the committees, countered that they are quite polarized but fairly balanced, leading to a lot of lively and productive debate.
Nobody at HB Lanarc was available for comment but principal planner Mark Holland who was heading the project, is no longer listed on the company website.
For more, visit the city’s website at www.parksville.ca.