Councillor questions staffing priorities

City of Vernon staff are being accused of pursuing priorities in the wrong order.

Coun. Catherine Lord is questioning the division of work within the engineering department.

“We’re spending more time on long-term things and not current development,” she said, adding that applications from businesses and investors that could bolster the economy should be addressed first.

“We’re regularly getting comments that we’re not open for business.”

However, Rob Dickinson, engineering general manager, says his staff has found a balance between immediate business requests and long-term infrastructure planning.

“Some of our bylaws are 30 or 40 years old. We need to fix the bylaws and we do that when we have that (staff) capacity.”

Lord insists she will continue to monitor the situation.

“I want engineering to detail how they spend their time,” she said.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has called on the city to create efficiencies, especially when it comes to the building permit process.

“There is a high degree of frustration in the community,” said Rob Tedham, chamber director.

“It’s a detriment to forward growth in our community.”

The chamber provided advice to the city as it developed a new subdivision and development servicing bylaw.

Mayor Rob Sawatzky agrees there is a need for the city to be customer-friendly and efficient when receiving development applications from businesses.

“This is one step in the changes,” he said of the new bylaw.


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