Andrew Gower, Wedler Engineering
A recent letter to the editor I wrote on the subject of the controversial Comox No 2 Pump Station prompted a comment that said, more or less, that an engineer shouldn’t be commenting on government process or legislation. Now, if the engineer in question (me) never did anything but actual design work, this may be a relevant concern. However, the nature of my practice as a civil engineer working with developers and municipalities has required that I learn, practice, and make recommendations regularly involving local government bylaws, policies, and the overarching legal frameworks that govern and guide land development and municipal infrastructure decisions.
One of the major endeavours I regularly provide clients help with that requires this particular legislative and policy related skill set is rezoning land. Rezoning a piece of land in effect is asking a municipality for permission to change the currently regulated use of that land. While some engineering is involved, it is mostly a policy and legislative process where the final decision is political. I am usually working on 1 or 2 rezoning files at any given time, and have been doing this sort of work constantly for the last decade. This work has required that I become familiar with several municipalities planning and zoning bylaws, and with the BC Local Government Act.
On the municipal side of the street, I have worked with both the Village of Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District on overall water supply and water conservation issues. This has involved reviewing governance structures, water restrictions, water enforcement and ticketing bylaws, and finding examples of this sort of legislation and policy in other municipalities.
If you really want an insight on local government’s work with respect to land development and infrastructure decision making, a civil engineer is, in reality, one of your best resources.
Andrew Gower is a partner and Courtenay branch manager of Wedler Engineering. He volunteers with several local non-profits and is passionate about the Comox Valley’s sustainable future. He can be reached at 250.334.3263 or www.wedler.com.