City council decided to give the city planner, Zeno Krekic the power to approve spending on projects that cost to up $100,000.
The move comes after Krekic met with contractors and other business people to get their input on how the City goes about starting development permits.
“One of the suggestions that was made was that the amount of delegation to Mr. Krekic from a maximum of $20,000 to $100,000 to allow for quicker turnaround of development permits,” said city manager Gordon Howie.
In order to give Kreckic this new authority, council hard to enact a new city bylaw. Councillor Anna Ashley raised concerns that a clause in the bylaw gives him “the power to supplement a bylaw,” which she said was problematic since the community charter requires changes to bylaws to be done by council itself.
Kreckic says that he’s not being given the power to alter the bylaws as needed but rather the ability to look at the designs for a new project and then say what is required – given the circumstances and location – in order to be in compliance with the city’s bylaw.
Many councillors thought the change was a good idea because the city has been criticized for not moving fast enough on projects, and the simple fact that money doesn’t go as far as it used to.
“I think it’s a great idea because we need to move things forward in this community and $20,000 does not go as far as it did. A $100,000 job is what a $20,000 job used to be. I think it is appropriate to move that number up,” said Gina Garon.
Councillor Ashley was worried that streamlining the approval process in this way might undermine the ability of people to challenge a decision to not approve their project.
Mayor Jack Mussallem pointed out that the principle of Natural Justice means anyone can appeal the decision to the city council.