A look though some of the financial documentation of June is providing a snapshot as to some of the partial cost towards development of the document, as well as to what is now the ongoing work of the city's contract planners from iPlan on the regular issues and areas of note when it comes to municipal planning for the community.
The 2020 Services and Supplies documents released in June indicate that in 2020, iPlan Planning and Development Services was compensated $164,603 for their work of last year, though how much of that compensation is related to their work on the OCP and how much is from their additional work as the city's planning department is not identified in the annual report.
The 2020 Supplies and Services information was released by the Financial Office as part of the Agenda for the June 14th Council session.
The work from iPlan continued into 2021, so what the cost for this years duties for the City won't be known until the 2021 Supplies and Services information is released in June of next year.
However, when it comes to the larger vision towards the New OCP, that work began much earlier than the arrival of iPlan officials who took in the December 2019 information session at the Lester Centre, an event which charted much of the course that the city is now taking.
But how much the city has invested towards the overhaul of the Plan isn't quite clear from previous years, as the Supplies and Services notes do not explain what the city paid for when it comes to the firms listed in their information release.
With a number of past vision making exercises, and the genesis of the new OCP coming through workshops and previous events dating back more than a few years, the running total is surely one which is much more than the $164,000 directed to iPlan in 2020.
July 2019 -- Partnerships will blaze the trail towards a new look as part of the 2030 Prince Rupert Plan
August 2018 -- Return of Redesign Rupert heralds Phase Two plans
July 2018 -- Renewable Rupert the next focus for city's Mayor
April 2018 -- The Mayor's Hays 2.0 update ... There's a bit of woe, some blame to show and a dream to sew ... BUT what mostly we need some money to flow!
October 2016 -- Mayor Brain hails success of Redesign Rupert Recharge event
January 2016 -- Mayor hails success of Placemaking conference and points to a new 2030 Sustainable City vision
November 2015 -- Hays 2.0 gets splashy launch on City Website
August 2015 -- More LNG Go Plan math with Professor Krekic
Now that the Official Community Plan is in motion, City Council may wish to provide an update on their process and the cost of the path from the early days of LNG GO plans and Hays 2.0 vision plans and those other elements that all led up towards the first days of planning for the new OCP prior to its approval in April of this year.
The new document which was a much needed upgrade to reflect the current times is an impressive piece of work from the team and iPlan and through the work of Council; however providing for the breakdown on expenses towards its delivery should be a part of the dialogue from City Council as they move forward towards the future they envision ahead for us.
As well, another item of note coming out of recent Council decision making is what the future for the planning office at City hall may be, a topic which should be addressed by the elected officials.
|The City's Contract planners from iPlan have now shifted
from OCP preparation to handling much of the city's ongoing
(Screen shot from previous City of PR Council Session)
With the end of the work on the OCP it would appear that Council has made a shift from an in house department with salaries listed in the annual SOFI report, to that of a contract basis with much less in the way of clarity it seems for what the operation of the planning department is costing the city.
That change of direction was not discussed in any public session in the past, nor it seems was the contract position put out for a competitive bid, but rather was something that had been tagged on to the OCP duties that were provided by iPlan, that following the departure of former planner Zeno Krekic.
It's not unusual for small towns to make use of contract planning groups rather than to carry their own planning staff members.
Though considering how City Council is often promoting Prince Rupert as an important part of the Northwest Gateway to the world and the ambitious redevelopment plans that Council have introduced, it does make for a curious decision.
Prince Rupert also is somewhat of an outlier in the Northwest on their current planning choice, with Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers all continuing to use their own staff for planning themes.
Beyond the decision to change the focus for planning, Council probably should provide some guidance for the public as to who they should now contact for items of interest related to the day to day themes of community planning and how they can direct their questions or relay their items of note, or concern.
At the most recent Council session of June 28th, the Council members asked questions related to a range of topics related to planning on the night.
With no members from iPlan participating in the session that night, the City's Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller was fielding the requests, with a frequent refrain one of advising that she would have to check on the question and get back to the council members.
The information requested perhaps coming later in the week via e mail, or a phone call to the Councillor in question, but not as part of a public session.
And that's something that probably should be noted, if a Council member poses a question in a public session then the answers should be shared with the public, something that navigates the oft mentioned themes towards transparency from the Council members.
While they're working that theme, providing some background on how they now approach planning for the community and why the move to a contract option over an in house planning office is something that Council members should explain to the public.
You can trace much of the past work on shaping planning policy through our ReDesign/Sustainable City archive page here.
A wider overview of past Council discussions is available here.