Tofino’s seeking a new staffer.
The district is set to fill a new Planner 1 position. The job is expected to pay roughly $61,500 a year. The deadline to apply was July 8.
The successful candidate will report to community sustainability manager Aaron Rodgers who told the Westerly News that development in Tofino is taking off at the same time long term planning projects like sewage treatment and affordable housing initiatives are taking shape.
“That person will be working with the day-to-day building and short term planning projects, which will free up me to do work on some of the longer term projects as well as focus more on the management of my current staff,” Rodgers said.
“My title is Manager of Community Sustainability but I’m finding a lot of my time is managing what exists and the attention is slowly drifting from some of the planning stuff that needs to get done.”
Along with planning, Rodger’s community sustainability umbrella also covers recreation and emergency management.
He said the time is right for an addition to the roster.
“We’re going through the roof on building permits this year and the phone’s ringing off the hook for different types of development,” he said.
“I’m having a hard time keeping up with what I’ve committed to do for this year so it’s the right time.”
He said the new planner would be a valuable facilitator for developers.
“In a day to day sense, you’re facilitating permits. You’re walking people through the development process, educating and explaining to them why there are such things as zoning bylaws and building bylaws and then helping them through,” he said. “And, getting that all put together in a format that council can clearly understand and make a decision on.”
He added that while the new planner would help speed up the development process, the community’s values remain unique.
“Development has been hard in Tofino for many years. Part of it has to do with the amount of staff we have and this will help but, I think, Tofino is just Tofino sometimes; it’s its own entity,” he said.
“Partly due to our geography and partly due to our history and the idea that there is something special here, people think about development in a very detailed manner so we really get down to the nitty gritty…Our problem isn’t attracting people, it’s basically how do we manage the amount of people that want to come here? So, we just have a different attitude towards development than many other places.”
He acknowledged adding to the district’s payroll can be a tough sell to taxpayers but said locals have high expectations of their municipal government and a fresh face is needed to meet those expectations.
“I can understand how, sometimes, the perception of this could be negative. Personally, I’m of a different mind. I believe we get what we pay for. I’ve worked at the district office for eight years; I don’t see any fat here. I see a lot of people doing 2-3 jobs,” he said.
“I know that hiring new people, especially ‘bureaucrats,’ is not always looked on in a positive manner but, I would be happy to have anybody contact me at email@example.com to have that conversation and explain why we need it.”
He added the new planner would help cut down on consultant costs.
“We use consultants fairly often for a lot of our work and the idea is, because we’ll have that extra help in the office, we can keep some of that consultant money within the district,” he said.
“We’ll have more hands on deck so to speak [and] that will allow us to do a lot more stuff in house so, we’re hoping, it’s not going to be a huge impact to overall taxation.”