Reporting to the Manager, the Senior Planner is responsible for project management leadership, for a wide range of planning and policy issues, responsible for leading the pre-consultation and development application review processes with municipalities and developers; reviewing, researching, analyzing, resolving conflict and preparing coordinated comments and reports on a wide range of more complex and politically sensitive development applications in both an urban and rural context, preparing reports on a wide range of more complex and politically sensitive projects, issues and proposals. Leads and supports a variety of corporate strategic initiatives related to Council’s Strategic Priorities. Provides independent expert opinion evidence and testimony at tribunals.
Post-secondary degree (4 year) in a Planning an accredited program or related field of study.
Master’s degree in Planning from a CIP accredited planning program is preferred.
An equivalent combination of education, experience and qualifications may be considered.
A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible, relevant municipal planning experience in both land use policy and/or development planning, in an urban and/or rural context.
Knowledge and experience in any of the following is considered an asset: archaeology, noise, agricultural impact assessment, traffic impact studies, site servicing studies, minimum distance separation from agricultural operations, hydrogeological studies, environment and natural heritage.
Registered Professional Planner and a full member in good standing with both the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) and Canadian Institute of Planners.
Advanced knowledge of the Planning Act and Regulations, Provincial policies, plans and guidelines, Regional Official Plan, Growth Management, infrastructure planning and environmental assessments, local planning policies and other related legislation.
Knowledge of project management practices, including project development, scheduling, monitoring, and control systems.
Ability to lead the procurement of consultant services, management of consultant’s work responsible for financial accountability for project budget for assignment.
Qualified as an expert in planning to provide independent professional opinion before tribunals is preferred.
Computer applications experience with MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, Power Point and Outlook), application tracking systems (e.g. iDarts , CityView) MS Project or other Project Tracking Systems and GIS based mapping systems.
Lead and manage the review of complex and politically sensitive development applications and/or planning studies, including policy analysis and/or research, environmental assessments, secondary plans, community improvement plans and infrastructure planning to determine compliance with applicable planning legislation and providing defendable recommendations to Council, while meeting legislative and service level timelines. (70% of time)
Prepare for and participate in (leading as required) pre-consultation with developers, area municipalities, agencies and other interested parties, to clearly identify and discuss Provincial and Regional issues and required technical studies early in the process.
Research and analyze planning issues and/or development applications, identifying anomalies, issues and conflicts, based on: current legislation including the Planning Act and Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act and relevant regulations, Provincial and Regional Plans and policies (such as the Greenbelt Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Growth Plan for the GGH, NPCA policy and regulation), guidelines (such as, MOE Noise, MDS, MOE D-Series and MTCS Archaeology).
Coordinate, analyze, summarize and incorporate comments and requirements on all projects/studies and/or development applications from all Regional staff (e.g. engineering/technical, environmental, urban design, transportation, housing etc), the Province and agencies identifying and defining conflicting directions/requirements.
Provides planning or technical advice and guidance to other departments.
Initiate discussions on issues and offer alternative solutions and advice to customers, balancing the needs of multiple interests with legislative requirements and policies.
Prepare and manage defensible positions (response letters) to municipalities summarizing analysis, recommendations and conditions of approval resulting in an independent professional opinion document.
Prepare and present reports to Committee and Council for approval and implementation resulting in an independent professional opinion and advice reports.
Prepare and give evidence at tribunal or other types of quasi-judicial hearings. Participate in review meetings with Region’s legal counsel to provide background information on litigations, attending case management conferences and other legal hearings, resulting from planning studies and applications as required. Provides advice to legal counsel during hearing.
Provide comments on policy projects from an implementation viewpoint (e.g. transportation, environmental, servicing, land use).
Lead and/or participate in internal and external teams with respect to special planning studies (new legislation, development policy, community improvement plans, secondary and master plans, etc.) integrating Regional and Provincial interests.
Lead or support the development and/or review of specialized projects, policies, guidelines and standards, to ensure conformity with the Niagara Official Plan, Provincial legislation, policies and guidelines.
Establish and maintain relationships with area planners and relevant agencies.
Provide functional guidance to staff and contractors, providing work direction, assigning tasks/projects, determining methods and procedures to be used, resolving problems and ensuring results are achieved.
Lead communication with project teams, Councils, interested parties, agencies, special interest groups and the public on behalf of the Region. (20% of the time)
Represent the Department in project and planning meetings and presentations to Local Area Municipalities, Councils and/or committees, other departments within the Region, interested parties, agencies, and the public.
Develop project charter and appropriate project scope, as required.
Communicate and present project-related and development information at Regional and local councils and special interest groups.
Coordinate with utility companies, area municipalities, regulatory agencies, Indigenous communities and First Nations, railways and other levels of government or elsewhere as required.
Conducts public meetings and open houses, analyzes input, identifies and recommends revisions/changes/updates.
Resolve conflicts encountered on projects, involving consultants, external agency or government representatives, contractors, internal engineering, operations and maintenance staff, the public, and other interested parties, etc.
Develop and responsible for project updates (budget, schedule, risks and issues) for senior management.
Develop consultation and engagement plans for review of proposed regional policy with internal/external stakeholders, area planners, community organizations, and other agencies.
Recommends measures to be taken to address Regional and Provincial interests and requirements.
Undertakes a customer focused liaison role throughout the local exercise.
Educate, coach and mentor Planners and Planning Students on all aspects of project work and/or development review, including consultation as appropriate. (5% of the time)
Contribute to continuous improvement of processes and service delivery. (5% of time)
Implements best practices with respect to development review, and ensures the Development Review procedures manual is kept up to date.
Develops, researches and recommends new work processes and systems with a focus on continuous improvement.
Remains current on new techniques, issues, and legislation affecting community development, providing advice and recommendations on strategies.
Assists in the management of efficient and effective development review processes and performance reporting (MBN Canada).
Prepares development guidelines and standards.
Performs other related duties and responsibilities as assigned or required.
Must maintain the ability to travel in a timely manner to other offices, work locations or sites as authorized by the Corporation for business reasons.
May be required to support emergency operations under the incident management structure, at the direction of the Emergency Operations Centre Director.
Regional staff strive to enable the strategic priorities of council and the organization through the completion of their work. Staff carry out their work by demonstrating the corporate values.
Serving a diverse urban and rural population of more than 475,000, Niagara Region is focused on building a strong and prosperous Niagara. Working collaboratively with 12 local area municipalities and numerous community partners, the Region delivers a range of high quality programs and services to support and advance the well-being of individuals, families and communities within its boundaries. Nestled between the great lakes of Erie and Ontario, the Niagara peninsula features some of Canada’s most fertile agricultural land, the majesty of Niagara Falls and communities that are rich in both history and recreational and cultural opportunities. Niagara boasts dynamic modern cities, Canada’s most developed wine industry, a temperate climate, extraordinary theatre, and some of Ontario’s most breathtaking countryside. An international destination with easy access to its binational U.S. neighbour New York State, Niagara attracts over 14 million visitors annually, as well as a steady stream of new residents and businesses.