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Change streamlines services at City of Nelson

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
March 11th, 2014

The City of Nelson is re-aligning the deck chairs at offices on Ward Street.

In a written press release, Mayor John Dooley said change creates opportunity, adding that the moves — which do not add any additional managerial positions — are coming after the tremendous progress that has been made in both the City’s engineering and development services departments.
“We see this as an opportunity to improve service to the community,” says Dooley. “By bringing Engineering and Development Services under one roof, builders will be able to get all their questions answered at one place.”

The release said the changes will strengthen a number of the City’s busiest offices — including Planning, Building Inspection, Engineering, Facilities Management and Subdivision Approval  — with two bosses changing hats, and a third veteran department head hanging his up.
The new department — called Development Services and Engineering — will bring all the above services together, under one roof, and will be headed by Allen Fillion, who has been with the City since 2006.
Fillion will continue to oversee the City’s engineering services, and will also assume direction of development services, from Dave Wahn, the out-going Manager of Development Services and Sustainability.

Wahn, who has worked in the municipal planning sector for almost 30 years, is retiring.
The City is also losing their current planner, Daphne Powell, who is moving on to new career opportunities. The search is underway for her replacement.

And Brian Champlin, who comes from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, has replaced long-time building inspector Bernie Zimmer, who recently retired from his position.
The new department will be located on the second floor at City Hall.

Beyond improved services, the release said the shuffle will create additional opportunities to save cash and earn the City new revenues, by offering engineering services to new clients.
“Ten years ago we were doing approximately one block of water main replacement per year,” City Manager, Kevin Cormack explains, “now we are doing as many as 15 blocks every 12 months — and doing the majority of that engineering in-house.”
Cormack said had that service been hired out, Nelson taxpayers would have spent an additional $500,000 in 2013 alone on engineering consulting services.
“Not only do we see the opportunity to do additional engineering work in-house,” Cormack adds, “but we also see the opportunity to do engineering work for other municipalities in the region.”
Fillion, a father of three and local kids’ hockey coach, is perfect for the job, says Cormack.

As for Wahn, the two grown kids, Cormack says the retiring planning boss has a lot to be proud of after a high-pressure six-year stretch at City Hall.
“During Dave’s tenure we’ve completed some major long-term planning efforts that lay out a comprehensive vision for our community.”
“The biggest piece of the puzzle was the Zoning Bylaw, originally written in 1987, and which Dave and his staff completely overhauled,” Cormack continues.

“That work has put the City in very good shape going forward and has allowed this reorganization to happen at this time.”
In addition to Fillion’s new job, and Wahn’s new horizons, City of Nelson Rob Nystrom has a new job too.

Nystrom moves over from Manager of Engineering to Manager of Utilities.
The restructuring will be completed and the new managers in place, by May 31.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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