I have been working in planning departments for the last decade. My first planning job was at the Municipality of North Cowichan to fulfill a practicum requirement for my GIS Diploma. I was lucky enough to create a series of maps for an upcoming Official Community Plan review, work on fire interface mapping, and assist in community meetings. Shortly after my placement at North Cowichan I had contract work with a local non-profit to begin a food security mapping project. The goal of the project was to improve the viability of local famers and promote local food producers as part of a larger food security initiative.
I then secured employment at the Cowichan Valley Regional District as a Planning Technician. My work was largely focused on development applications. This included things like working on subdivisions, variances, and responding to public inquiries. I left the CVRD to return to school to complete a Master in City Planning at the University of Manitoba.
Graduate school provided memorable work experiences in remote First Nations communities, regional governance, urban design, and policy development. My thesis focused on regional planning and eventually led me west. After two years in Winnipeg, I returned to Vancouver Island and began working for the City of Nanaimo as a Planner. After six years in Nanaimo, I moved to Victoria and presently work as a Senior Planner for the City of Colwood.
Working as a planner involves the design, implementation and facilitation of public involvement programs, undertaking meetings and workshops solicit involvement related to project objectives, as well as liaising with developers/architects/land owners/community groups by related to land use and zoning, social, design, environmental and transportation matters. My workdays are varied as some days I am in the office, other days on site visits, presenting at Council meetings, or participating in community engagement activities. I have worked on a variety of applications and projects – from land use for conservation and development, to policy for cell phone towers location, to zoning for urban chickens to name a few.
Every day as a planner is different!