The Armchair Mayor On Economic Development and Planning and Building

The target for what may be my last article as The Armchair Mayor is entrepreneurialism and municipal government.

When I worked as the Supervisor of Commercial Revenue Operations for the City of Calgary, Parks & Recreation, my main task was interfacing between the public that had ideas for generating revenue on City property and the bureaucracy. Senior staff were resistant to change so it would take at least 3 attempts before I could get initiatives approved. I doubt Revelstoke is any different in this regard in that it doesn’t have a culture that encourages entrepreneurialism. Two specific areas I would target for
entrepreneurial focus would be Economic Development and Planning and Building.

Economic Development (ED) should be the place that pure, raw entrepreneurialism exists. The sole role of Economic Development should be to reach out to potential businesses that would be a good fit for Revelstoke and liaison with business wishing to do business here. One example is the old school sites, ED could work with the School Board to reach out to the right developers to build the right project. The worst enemy of an entrepreneur is bureaucracy. ED should be a goodwill ambassador, the buffer that deals with bureaucracy and changes their way of thinking. ED should have minimal administrative duties. They shouldn’t deal with the ski bus contract or any other administrative work. 100% of their time should be attracting and retaining business. There is duplication between ED and the Chamber of Commerce and my preference would see the ED functions transferred to the Chamber.

Planning and Building is another area that needs an entrepreneurial update. Take one of the existing building inspector positions and change their job description to include Building Facilitator. Smaller, simple projects referred to as Part 9 in the building code can get counter approval much like they do in many other jurisdictions. All other projects (usually larger and more complicated) would be assigned to the Building Facilitator to guide them through the system. Issues that arise could be addressed in such a way as to help as opposed to discourage the applicant. Given that they would be involved from start to finish, the Building Facilitator could also seamlessly act as the Building Inspector. Several projects come to mind that may have been saved by a Building Facilitator including my project at the old Farwell building, the Highway Mall and Steve Platt’s project.

In my Opinion.

If I’m elected, I would like to continue writing about City issues from an insider perspective. Stay tuned.

*The writers opinions and beliefs do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of The Revelstoke Current or its writers, editors or publisher.

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