McKenney, community associations oppose new planning ambassador program

Ottawa Citizen

Councillors and community associations are speaking out against a new city initiative that will give private developers an ambassador within the planning department.

As the Citizen reported Monday, 20 staff members in the planning department have been recruited to act as “client relationship leaders” — a role that appears to be equal parts problem solver, facilitator and concierge.

“The CRL is expected to discern what the issues are, communicate with the file lead, client, and management to determine next steps and what possible solutions may exist in order to bring a resolution,” says a document distributed to staff.

In some cases, the CRL will be able to override decisions by project managers or the city staff member who was previously overseeing a particular planning file.

Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney posted a statement on her website Wednesday opposing the program and suggested that the city should “balance the scale for local communities living with increased development pressure…

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