In January Rob worked with two communities to develop Strategic and Corporate Priorities.Running workshops involving elected Councils and senior staff, Rob found himself in Strathmore, AB for the first time, followed by a return visit to a place he has worked before, Gold River, on Vancouver Island. In both cases the workshop outcomes have been accepted by Councils and follow-up work is proceeding towards implementation.
Rob started February off with presenting a Colloquium to the first year students in the Masters in Community Planning Program at Vancouver Island University, where he has been appointed an Adjunct Professor. The session is one of four Rob has prepared covering some of the lessons arising from the work he did a few years back in High River, AB, following the major flood there. This one is directed at community planners.
Rob also worked with senior staff in Gold River on an Organizational Review in support of their succession planning efforts. At the same time he was engaged in supporting a workshop with the development industry in Strathmore.
During the Spring Rob undertook an extensive analysis of the current practices, procedures and activities of the Planning and Development Branch with the Town of Strathmore, AB. Concurrently he was also engaged in mentoring a newly appointed senior staff person for the Town.
Rob started the work examining the Planning operations by preparing for and then hosting an interactive dialogue session with members of the Strathmore Development Industry. Over 30 developers, builders, business people and financiers attended and provided input and commentary on their experiences with developing in Strathmore. Assessing and analysing their input provided a base for further research and investigation regarding best practices, other community systems and process improvements undertaken elsewhere.
Rob presented his report to Council in early June with over 30 recommendations. Council not only endorsed the reports findings unanimously, but also provided some additional resources and directed staff to proceed with immediate implementation. An affiliate of Rob’s, Ryan Roycroft of Roybus Planning & Development, was engaged to lead the actions suggested in the report and was brought in to start this effort before the end of June.
In September Rob delivered a workshop for people interested in running for municipal office in Strathmore, AB as this is the year for elections in Alberta. Following the election, Rob prepared and delivered a two-day orientation session, along with senior staff, for the newly elected Town Council.
Rob resumed his work with the Masters in Community Planning Program at Vancouver Island University. He is currently mentoring two students, one in each of the first and second year programs. He really enjoys these assignments as the students while wanting to learn about real world planning activities, also manage to ask tough questions.
In October Rob was asked by the Wastewater Branch of the Regional District of Nanaimo to support the hosting of two public open houses regarding a proposed sewerage project in Bowser, along the east side of Vancouver Island.
He is also continuing as the Project Manager for two interesting capital projects in Strathmore. The Town is constructing, in partnership with the local School Division, a multi-million dollar Field House project in conjunction with a new K-9 School. Rob is also Project Manager for a program to upgrade, renovate and expand the municipal hall.
In early 2017 Rob started training as a volunteer at North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, near where he lives. He is working with a mentor and is being trained as a bird handler. NIWRA currently has three rescued Barred Owls that due to injuries can not be successfully released back in the wild. They are used for school and public education programs aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues.
Rob is now actively engaged in seeking some small challenging assignments.