The City of Trail will hire an outside firm to provide planning services.
While many municipalities have planners on staff, at the moment Trail does not. The issue was raised this week as the city addressed appointing an approving officer to replace Michelle McIsaac, who recently left the city and has since filed a lawsuit against it.
“Planning issues can be very complex and in the absence of having a planner on staff, outsourcing planning assistance is seen to be the best option,” city manager Colin McClure wrote.
The city has been in touch with a senior project manager with consultant WSP about providing contracted planning services. McClure wrote the city has used the same person before when McIsaac was on leave and was very satisfied.
While McClure was appointed approving officer, the consulting firm will review applications and create planning documents and staff reports as needed under a fee-for-service arrangement.
“There are a number of planning related issues that have not been fully addressed and brought to conclusion,” McClure wrote, adding that a subdivision application is expected to be received soon. WSP would review it and create a preliminary layout approval.
McClure said having a third party provide the service addresses the city’s statutory obligations and ensures planning-related issues are addressed and well managed.
No specific dollar figures were provided in the report, but McClure said staff are confident the planning budget is adequate to cover the costs.
City council unanimously approved the recommendation.