The Town of Golden has had a new face in the Planning and Development Services Department since the fall.
Phil Armstrong joined the department four months ago, leaving the Town of Osoyoos where he had been working for the past five years, but it wasn’t the first time he had worked at Golden’s Town Hall.
“I was here as a planning intern in 2008, and that was a really great experience,” said Armstrong. He took the internship after completing a degree where he studied economics and urban geography at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
“I got a good impression of Golden back then, and I’m happy to be back… Golden is a a stunning setting and he loves mountain architecture – a definite shift from Osoyoos`dry climate architecture based on a blend of the Mediterranean and Southwest style.”
Armstrong is now administering the department alongside Jeremy Baylis (Building Official). The two like to think of themselves as a team working with developers and business to help them achieve their goals.
“Planning and Development Services provides the framework for community development through the priorities set out in the Official Community Plan as well as other supporting bylaws,” said Armstrong, broadly describing the function of his department.
But as with most professions in a small town, planners have to wear a variety of hats. Armstrong deals with everything from applications for subdivisions, development permits and business licenses, to helping form a plan for the future of the community, particularly the appearance and land use of the community.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there and talking to the residents and businesses about what they would like to see here.”
One of the projects Council has identified as a strategic priority for 2014 is to re-examine the zoning for the commercial area from 9th Street North to 11th Street North. This includes reviewing parking configurations, residences above commercial floor space and allowing more commercial uses.
As for the more day to day operations, Armstrong hopes people will be eager to come talk to him as well. Starting up a business, or expanding one in town can be very stressful, and Armstrong encourages people to come in as early as possible and talk to him about the municipality’s role.
“A lot of people are not aware of the bulaws and legislation that governs developent so the earlier you come see me the better, and we can work through the process” he said.
Although he is in the business of future development of the community, Armstrong does not necessarily think everything needs to change.
“Golden is great the way it is,” he said. “There is a great vibe in the community of people dedicated to Golden. It’s all about how we can continue growing this community together.”