Erin candidates question need for local planner during meeting

Candidates here question the need for a separate planner for the Town of Erin when residents are already paying the county for the same service.

A questioner here on Oct. 2 noted each household in Erin contributes an average of $230 to the county coffers for a county planner so a town planner was not necessary.

Council candidates

“That would be my question as well,” stated candidate Evelyn McLean.

She said she did not see the need for two planners to do essentially the same job.

McLean noted that either she or her husband has attended almost every single council meeting since 1988. “I don’t understand this system either.”

It is something she would like to see changed at some point in time.

Candidate Christopher Naraysingh offered a similar opinion: “I don’t think this duplication is necessary.”

He said if Erin is paying for a county planner “there is no need for us to have one unless (county planning) is not looking after the best interests of Erin.”

Naraysingh said the county might have its own mandate and good communication with the county is needed to ensure it is looking after the best interests of the town.

“And that is only one duplication,” he suggested.

Incumbent councillor John Brennan said not long ago Erin was facing significant growth which was where the local planning effort originated.

He said a large parcel of land was under review and Erin was facing a doubling or tripling of its population.

“That no longer is the case. We now know through the SSMP and the assimilative capacity of the river that growth is going to be quite modest.”

Because of that, Brennan said perhaps it is time to ask whether the town needs its own planner and whether there is a sufficient workload to keep that person busy. He also noted that even though the county does have an assigned planner, that person would not be in Erin all the time.

Candidate Craig Porterfield said, “Duplication of services is never good.”

He stated Erin is a unique town and maybe its uniqueness requires its own planner, “but if we are not developing at a great pace I don’t see the need for a planner.”

Mayoral candidates

David Lyver said he had this question a long time ago.

At the time the planner was hired, he said it was believed the town would be able to control its own growth.

He asked what Erin gets for the money spent on a local planner.

“C’mon wake up. Let’s start using the county planner. It makes more sense,” said Lyver.

*Not all candidates were offered a chance to speak to every question at the Oct. 2 Ballinafad meeting.