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‘New direction’ for White Rock planning, as department head leaves city hall

Paul Stanton listens to input on proposed zoning bylaw amendments, during a public information meeting last month. - Tracy Holmes
Paul Stanton listens to input on proposed zoning bylaw amendments, during a public information meeting last month.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes

An “administrative decision” has officials with the City of White Rock looking for a new director of planning and development services.

While the mayor and city manager said budget did not play a role in the seemingly sudden dismissal of Paul Stanton last week, further specifics were not disclosed.

City manager Dan Bottrill confirmed Friday that Stanton ceased working for the city last Wednesday.

Bottrill said the move was his decision, explaining only that “the department is moving in a different direction.”

“I’m looking for a department that can up its game,” Bottrill said. “At the end of the day, I think anytime you’re looking at a department that is looking at a different direction, it’s a time for a change in leadership.”

Stanton had been in the role for about five years, after taking over from Stephen Richardson, who left the city for a job in Coquitlam in September 2008.

As head of planning and development services, Stanton’s responsibilities included overseeing development proposals and managing land use in the city. Business licences, bylaw amendments and bylaw enforcement were among other responsibilities.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said Friday Stanton’s dismissal wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“Did it come as a surprise? No. Did it come as a surprise this week? Yes,” he said.

Over the years, contentious issues Stanton dealt with included pursuing the destruction of a pit bull deemed a dangerous dog; illegal tree-cuttings; development of the former White Rock Muffler site; the forced cleanup of a derelict property; and the construction of a monster home at Cliff Avenue and Kent Street for which Stanton said proponents “pushed the envelope as far as they could to build the maximum that they could build.”

According to the council agenda for Jan. 13, Stanton had been scheduled to present proposed amendments to Bylaw 2000 last night, including some aimed at preparing the city for the new federal medical-marijuana regulations.

Baldwin described Stanton as a hard worker who “demonstrated a huge degree of commitment.”

“He came into work for quite a period of time when he was in considerable pain,” Baldwin said, referring to a back injury that temporarily put Stanton in a wheelchair.

“He literally could not walk, and it would’ve been… a very good excuse not to come into work, but he persisted and he came in.

“He showed a great deal of dedication to his job, the profession and the public.”

Baldwin and Bottrill would not discuss if Stanton received a severance package.

They did say his position will be filled “as soon as possible.” Until then, the duties will be undertaken by senior building manager Richard Wilson.

Acknowledging the department has many tasks underway, Bottrill said every effort will be made “to make sure there’s not a service-level impact” to Stanton’s departure.

Attempts to reach Stanton for comment were unsuccessful.

 

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