RDN Park Planner job to be made permanent

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, December 27 2016

The Regional District of Nanaimo board will be keeping a permanent Parks Planner postion on the 2017 budget, rather than making it a temporary full-time position.

At the latest RDN Board meeting, Director Bob Rogers (Electoral Area E, Nanoose) made a motion to make the position temporary.

“I think it is prudent, when we have within our plan, that we should not at this point approve these as permanent positions- just as temporary.”

Currently there are three park planners shared by the Electoral Areas of the RDN.

Two of the positions are full-time permanent, the other is temporary at 35-hours a week.

The budget proposal is to make the third 35-hour position a permanent one.

Tom Osborne, General Manager of Recreation and Parks Services for the RDN, said there are a number of projects being dealt with at both a regional and community level.

“We’re already operating at a temporary level. Right now we have the hours available that we cannot fill.”

Having the third position being temporary means there is an inconsistency in the planners’ work schedule. Osborne said, “the tipping point is on multiple levels - projects and demands - and at the community park level.”

He said there is also work being done on in-camera land matters.All of this work put together has put a burden on the on the schedule and staff’s ability to complete work.

The recommendation came forward, Osborne said, “to meet the demands of the board as put forward.

“Even then we won’t meet the demand.”

RDN Chair Bill Veenhoff (Electoral Area H, Shaw Hill, Deep Bay and Bowser) said, “because one [of the planners] is temporary, she pursues her other stuff.

“If we pass this motion...she is likely gone and we’re trying to fill a position.”

Veenhoff added that even if a new person is hired to fill the position, the same problem will be continued.

“There will be to and fro.”

“The cost of making the position permanent is $40,000.

“The cost of not doing that is community park issues will not be dealt with in 2017.”

Rogers said his understanding was that there would be no dollar cost difference between a temporary or permanent position.

Director Alec McPherson (Electoral Area A, South Wellington, Cassidy, Cedar) asked if making the change (whether temporary or permanent) would have an immediate effect on staffing.

Osborne said there are 35 hours of work per week which cannot be fulfilled under temporary terms.

“So as it stands we have a staff person who is pursuing other options in case the board motion doesn’t provide. 

“They are putting their safety nets in place. The work is there, as the board well knows. When you move into a temporary capacity - you are often in a place of possibly multiply fulfilling that position. At present, we have the ours in the budget, with an inability to fill the position. We have projects that are multi-layered, that take more than two years, and we don’t have the capacity to fill those projects.”

McPherson said, “if this motion impacts our ability to do long-term projects, I don’t support this motion at all.”

The motion was defeated. The position will be a permanent one.