Lantzville needs a full-time community planner and fire chief.
That’s the message from District of Lantzville staff after they issued a recent report recommending that Lantzville councillors convert the part-time community planning position to full-time, with a yearly salary of $105,227, including benefits.
A separate report also recommends the creation of a full-time fire chief position.
The report, authored by Fred Manson, the district’s interim chief administrative officer, notes that Frank Limshue, the district’s community planner since 2015, has been involved in the official community plan review and water master plan process as well as helped out with kitchen table meetings and open houses, resulting in him working above the number of hours that one reasonably expects for a part-time position.
“He is putting in a lot of his own personal time and not being paid for it, which is not reasonable,” Manson said.
Limshue is paid $66,719 a year as a part-time employee. In addition Limshue’s standard tasks, there has been an uptick in inquiries regarding property and land use in Lantzville, according to Manson.
“That there is a lot more inquiries with regards to properties, just real estate agents or people thinking about buying something. Each one of those takes time to process,” he said.
Manson said he has recommended that Lantzville councillors convert Rob Chatton’s fire chief position because the fire department needs to undertake a number of administrative duties, but can’t without having a full-time fire chief.
“Lantzville right now does not have the capacity to do the things that are best practices as outlined in [provincial requirements],” he said. “We also don’t have the capacity to fully meet the requirements of WorkSafe B.C. There should be a pre-plan for every single commercial building in the district as to what you should do if there is a fire there. We don’t have that. That’s just one example. Those are some of the things administratively that need to be tackled.”
Chatton, who has been with the district since 2016, is currently paid $56,528 as a part-time chief. As a full-time chief, his new salary would be $111,130 a year including benefits.
Lantzville councillors will need to approve converting both positions. Coun. John Coulson said while he appreciates the value that both positions bring to the community, he doesn’t believe a full-time chief is needed and is concerned about salaries.
Coun. Bob Colclough believes residents would benefit from having a full-time community planner and fire chief, but said councillors will have to consider a number of factors, including costs, before making any decision.