Now that the dust has settled on the municipal election, the City of Williams Lake is hoping to attract citizens to join its Advisory Planning Commission (APC).
Two vacancies exist on the seven-person committee, and there is a potential for more going into the new year, said City planning technician Chris Hutton.
“It’s one of the more involved committees in terms of having a say on all development that comes before council,” Hutton explained.
With the goals of the commission being to garner local knowledge and ensure public consultation, the City hopes to gather memberships that reflect a cross section of the community.
While city councillors make the ultimate decisions and staff supplies the technical background, what can be missing sometimes is local knowledge, Hutton added.
When asked how successful the City has been at attracting a membership that reflects that cross section, Hutton admitted it has been a challenge.
“A lot of the advertising we do, because of the legal requirements, is not very exciting. That’s why we need to look at other ways of attracting committee members,” he said.
City Planner Liliana Dragowska cited the Platform development on Prosperity Ridge as an example of development handled by the APC.
A number of years ago, when the whole side of the hill was rezoned to permit commercial use, the rezoning application went to the commission.
“They looked at the intent of the commercial development and we asked the commission for its opinion on the intent, not on exactly what type of buildings would go there and where,” Dragowska said.
Now that there’s construction going up on that property, the APC will discuss designs from various developers to determine if those designs match the community.
Local RCMP officer Dan Hay is a member of the APC. He said he enjoys bringing his perspective to the table and said he feels it’s a privilege to know his voice is being heard.
Decisions of the commission are not binding, added Hutton, yet they provide council with a great deal of direction and prepare council for what the community might say during the public presentation of the development plan
The committee meets every other week for a noon-hour meeting to discuss specific applications, make resolutions and recommendations to council, but if there’s no new development happening then the commission does not meet.
People interested in joining the commission are asked to write a letter to Cindy Bouchard, manager of legislative services, indicating why they are interested in serving on the commission.
Hutton suggested references are a good idea, but not required.
“What the commission is looking for is people who are passionate and willing to commit,” he said.
For more information, contact Hutton at 250-392-1770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.