A MARIANNE MINUTE

New head planner brings fresh thinking

>> ALEX COOPER

Marianne Wade only has a few minutes to spare on a Friday afternoon. For most, it’s the time to unwind after a hectic week, but in the City of Revelstoke’s Planning Department, there’s no such thing — especially when you’re in charge.

“I’m trying to clear my plate,” she explains.

Wade started as the city’s Director of Development Service at the beginning of 2019, and her plate’s been full ever since.

Her interest in planning started early. She studied at the University of Winnipeg and the University of British Columbia. There, she worked on affordable housing solutions on the Downtown Eastside.

“During that time I delivered over 1,700 units of affordable housing,” she tells me.

She went to Whistler, helping bring in policies for employee housing, worked on the development of Kicking Horse resort in Golden, and spent time in the public and private sector before Revelstoke came up.

“I couldn’t think of a better place for me, with all the housing issues going on and the fact that I am very ingrained and understand the resort community,” she says.

Wade has to plan for a community in the midst of a housing crisis and a population that might be double what the number crunchers at Statistics Canada say. Affordable housing is her passion, and she’s looking at policies to encourage development by the private and public sectors.

“Right now it’s important to get some policies in place and support the employers who are wanting to build employee housing,” Wade says. “The next focus will be dealing with the non-profits and how do we deal with attainable housing.”

There’s a host of other issues such as updating the zoning bylaw to allow for more flexible development, looking at DCCs, and updating the OCP.

On top of that, she has to repair the reputation of a department that has butted heads with developers and builders in recent years.

“We’re really requesting people to come in and meet with us … we want to improve the service, and get the turnaround up.”

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