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HRM considers hiring more staff to stay on top of development projects

HALIFAX, N.S. —  Halifax Regional Municipality continues to grow, as do the stack of applications waiting to be processed by the municipality’s planning and development department. 

At a budget committee meeting on Wednesday, Kelly Denty, director of planning and development, explained how the average processing time for a major project has gone from 11 days to roughly 20 days.

“They could be attributed to higher volumes and unchanged staffing levels,” Denty told Halifax regional councillors and the mayor.

“Ideally, times would be lower. We know that these wait times are too high.”

But Denty didn’t have enough room in her proposed $16.7-million budget for 2021/2022 — which the committee voted unanimously in favour of the $3.2 million increase — to include hiring additional staff to lessen the load.

So the request for 10 additional hires: Three planners ($241,800), three assistant building officials ($227,400), three compliance officers ($227,400) and a senior program engineer ($108,700) were placed on planning and development’s options over budget.

The planners would “help offset the impacts of increased permit volumes and complexities and allow for improved processing times,” Denty said, while the building officials will allow inspectors “to spend more time on site and monitor projects.”… [Read More]