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Milne: District staff working hard for the community

Milne: District staff working hard for the community

milne column headLast month I addressed regional and alternative service delivery from our four local governments. This month I thought I’d take a closer look at the range of work local governments do – specifically, the numerous daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that keep staff busy at the District of Sechelt.

Our staff of 50 is responsible for delivering a wide range of public services.  Many are on call to respond to emergencies 24/7.

As this piece is being written, our Public Works crew is using four plows and one grader to clear snow from our 113.4 kms of road. In 2016 they completed 12km of ditching, installed eight new culverts, applied dust control and graded all gravel roads four times and completed over 15 road patches.  They painted 1,000 metres of curbs in 2016 and handled numerous unplanned service requests including the removal of over 20 hazard or danger trees. Our Water Resource Centre crew inspected 458 manholes, maintained our pumping system and ensured that the daily average of 2,400 cubic metres of waste water we produce was processed.

Our Parks crew maintains 34 parks, 51 public beach accesses, and 28 public recreation areas and streetscapes. In 2016 they planted 72 street trees, hung 80 flower baskets, and added hundreds of bulbs and annuals to our gardens. Facilities maintenance is responsible for 11 buildings and four public washrooms (one recently restored with a new mural featuring 54 characters from Sechelt’s past and present).

Keeping the public well informed about meetings, events and issues in our community is evolving as our residents make the switch from print to electronic and from desktop to mobile. In just one year, our staff managed over 350,000 emails (and deleted 1.2 million spam messages), posted 124 news articles to our website and social media pages, live-streamed 34 Council and eTown Hall meetings and responded to 1,658 service requests and 36 requests for information. Our three Administrative Assistants compiled agendas and took minutes at 57 Council and 60 Committee meetings.

There is no shortage of new developments planned for our community. This has kept our Planning staff and building inspectors busy. In 2016, they processed applications for three Temporary Use Permits, four Official Community Plan Amendments, five Development Variance Permits, 12 Sign Permits, 15 Rezonings, 17 Subdivisions, 53 Development Permits and 182 Building Permits. The District issued 77 new Business Licences. Our local economy is obviously very strong.

The Finance and Corporate Services department renewed 532 pet licenses, 982 business licenses and processed 903 Property Title Ownership Changes.

While these numbers are impressive, the true value of the work staff do cannot be quantified. They provide assistance for community events such as Canada Day and the Coaster’s Car Show as well as numerous neighbourhood events. They participate in parades and support the work of our major arts and literary festivals. They really do build community – and make community possible – in everything they do.

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