City Releases Press Release On Jason Carlston’s Resignation

In case you missed it: yesterday, Paul “I’m In Malta” Dechene broke the news that Regina’s executive director of city planning and development has quit his job with the city for one with a developer.

Today, the city has issued a press release. Here it is:

Jason Carlston, Executive Director of the City Planning and Development Division, has notified the City that he is resigning his position to accept the position of Vice President, Land Development with Dream Developments. As a result of this transition, his responsibilities with the City have been assumed by Diana Hawryluk on an interim basis.

“Jason has made many contributions to the City over the last 16 years, including leading the recent development of Design Regina: Official Community Plan,” said Brent Sjoberg, Deputy City Manager & COO. “While we’ll miss Jason’s leadership, he will continue to play a strong role in our community through this next stage of his career.”

The City will undertake a recruitment process to fill this important position. Given the strength of Regina’s economy and the opportunities this role provides, the City is expecting a dynamic group of individuals will be vying for the position.

So what’s the big deal about a senior city planner taking a job with a Regina developer? Well, frankly, it just looks really bad. It’s common knowledge that Regina’s council and administration have been far too pro-developer/property owner for a long time*, and the fact that one of our planners — a person whose job it is to make planning recommendations for the good of the city rather than just the good of developers — would move to a developer seems worrisome. It suggests a relationship that’s too damn cozy.

Remember, this is a city that fired one of its best planners a few years back for god-knows-what reason (I suspect he stood up to developers). And that planner we fired? The one who wasn’t good enough for us? That guy we got rid of in a move Jason Carlston called “a change of leadership”? He’s now Halifax’s chief planner. Gee, maybe we fired the wrong person back in 2011. Gee, maybe our city has made some serious mistakes. And maybe, it’s time our stale, super-duper pro-business council and developer-friendly city administration take a long look at themselves if they really wants “a dynamic group of individuals” to apply for Carlston’s position.

And maybe it’s time more people who live in this city start paying attention to city politics.

*Off the top of my head: approving condo conversions during a housing crisis, bulldozing affordable apartments for parking lots during the same housing crisis, rejecting heritage applications for 100-year-old buildings, etc., etc., etc.

 

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

8 thoughts on “City Releases Press Release On Jason Carlston’s Resignation”

  1. I think, by now, it should be painfully obvious that no one cares what things look like around here.

  2. There could be a side to this that we’re not seeing. I mean, on its face it doesn’t look good (when people keep electing realtors and their ilk, do you expect results that don’t lead to realtors and developers making gobs and gobs of money at the expense of everyone else?)…
    But maybe, just maybe, if Jason really did “lead” the creation of the OCP, he has a big pile of cool ideas about how to develop a little differently (which would ultimately still be profitable to developers, but make them look less evil), and that’s why “Dream” hired him? Maybe it’s not all bad?

  3. Ok, I have to say something here. I’m super irritated that all these news articles keep listing Jason as the City’s Top Planner. He’s not a planner. Bob Bjerke is a planner, Diana Hawryluk is also a planner, as are many people working at the City of Regina. Jason is not. He’s a high level manager at the City who manages all sorts of people who are not planners as well as some who are (not all of the actual professional planners at the City are under him either). Jason is not listed as a Registered Professional Planner because he isn’t one. And yes, Jason’s department was responsible for Design Regina, how much direct involvement he actually had is not known to me, but I doubt it was extensive. The plan was written by a consultant(s) with City staff guiding that process. The consultant and the City staff who were involved were all way more involved than Jason, who again is a manager, not a planner.

  4. The only surprise in this story was that Paul broke it. What happened to the writers who were supposed to fill in on the city beat while he was away with his family? You need a deeper bench, PD.

  5. I’m not sure how I stand on this matter. I’ve personally talked to Jason in the past and think he’s a fine fellow.

    Condo conversions were approved by council but what was the administration’s recommendation on the matter?

    Bulldozing apartments was the call of the property owner not Jason Carlston’s.

    Heritage property (Assuming Connaught is the elephant here) was as per the owner’s wishes.

    How about Coopertown? I know the admin recommended against it which I’m assuming was Jason’s call but council voted for it.

    Maybe if council votes against Jason’s recommendations enough it leads Jason to try and make changes elsewhere in the world and being high up in Dream is the place to do this?

    I’m not surprised at all that Dream Developments would be well acquainted with Jason’s resume credential…

    And yes, naturally optics look a little suspect here.

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