Director of Planning & Development Services

Posted on Feb. 25, 2023

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Position Details:

Employer: Municipal District of Bighorn

Location: Exshaw, AB

Industry: Municipal Government

Position Outline:


The Municipal District of Bighorn (MD) spans approximately 2,768 square kilometers of Alberta’s most beautiful and picturesque lands.  The MD is nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, and is located less than an hour directly west of the City of Calgary, less than 30 minutes east of the Town of Banff, and just north-east of the Town of Canmore.  There is an overall population of approximately 1,598 (2021 Federal Census), and the MD includes the hamlets of Benchlands, Dead Man’s Flats, Exshaw, Harvie Heights, and Lac Des Arcs. 

The MD thrives on its unique diversity.  For example, there are heavy extraction-based resource industries located amongst some of the most environmentally-sensitive lands in the province, while outdoor recreational pursuits co-exist in areas with agricultural, oil and gas, and logging activities.

For additional information, please visit the website at


Reporting to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the Director of Planning & Development Services is responsible for leading and guiding the framework of the planning and development department.  This includes all current community planning, subdivision, and development approvals, as well as assisting the CAO and the senior leadership team to support economic and strategic growth within the region as set out by the Council.  Staff currently reporting to the Director of Planning & Development Services:

  • Senior Planner
  • Two (2) Development Officers
  • Planning Administrative Assistant        


The successful applicant will be responsible for, but not limited to, the following:

  • Serve as the Municipal Planning Officer, and in this function:
    • Liaise, coordinate, and facilitate with land owners or developers proceeding with subdivision or development proposals.
    • Provide information and advice to the CAO and to the Council regarding provincial planning legislation and land use control initiatives.
    • Coordinate, at Council’s direction, the provision of appropriate planning policy and regulatory documents (i.e., MDP, ASP, ARP, and LUB).
    • Make sure that all planning legislation and matters affecting the MD are up-to-date.
    • Facilitate planning coordination and cooperation between the MD of Bighorn and adjacent municipal neighbours.
    • Liaise with Provincial and Federal government departments and agencies to ensure that municipal planning and land use interests are recognized.
    • Ensure that policies, programs, and service delivery remain a top priority within the organization; strategizing on how to continue to improve on that delivery to ratepayers.  
  • Serve as the Municipal Subdivision and Chief Development Officer, and in this function:
    • Undertake responsibilities as set out in provincial legislation and municipal bylaws - notably the Land Use Bylaw.
    • Provide administrative support to the Municipal Planning Commission.
    • Review applications for subdivision approval including preparing and managing development agreements, permit applications, plans and proposals.
    • Manage the subdivision and development approval processes.
    • Assist with, and negotiate agreements in accordance with municipal subdivision and development approvals.
  • Deliver top-notch customer service to both internal and external stakeholders and ensure it remains an on-going priority.
  • Respond to inquiries, and advise on a broad range of land use planning issues and processes from the public, external agencies, and internal departments.
  • Coordinate prompt and proper handling of all ratepayer requests, enquiries and complaints.
  • Assist with the enforcement of planning regulations and respond in a timely manner to any complaints or concerns.
  • Maintain positive, frequent, and open communication with the CAO
  • Supervise and mentor Planning & Development staff, including conducting regular performance evaluations and ensuring that the necessary resources are in place for the department to be effective and successful.
  • Prepare, present, manage, and monitor an annual department budget.
  • Provide support and expertise as a key member of the municipality’s senior leadership team.
  • Maintain professional affiliations and demonstrate a comprehensive current knowledge of applicable legislation, new trends and literature.
  • Act as the MD’s designated liaison on various related boards, committees, and/or commissions as directed.
  • Serve as a liaison between internal departments, builders and developers, community stakeholder groups, and neighbouring municipalities.
  • Attend all regular meetings of Council, and other related meetings/conferences/etc.
  • Research and prepare presentations with appropriate recommendations to Council, the Municipal Planning Commission, the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, and the public on land use planning matters.
  • Work with the CAO and the Director of Protective Services to train as a backup in the event of an emergency within the MD.
  • Ensure the provision and maintenance of the MD’s municipal map, and its basic topographic and land ownership information, and makes this information available to other departments for their use.
  • Assist the CAO in her/his functions as required, and perform other duties as required.


The Director of Planning & Development Services will possess the following to be successful:

  • Solid leadership skills in orienting, training, mentoring, and directing the work and assignments of the planning and development staff.
  • Ability to deal with developers, elected officials, and the general public in a professional, courteous, diplomatic and tactful manner.
  • Demonstration of excellent project management skills, particularly within complex, high profile, large-scale, and time-sensitive projects.
  • Ability to read and understand architectural drawings, real property reports, site plans, Alberta Building Codes, and perform mathematical calculations to independently determine compliance with bylaw requirements.
  • Outstanding customer service skills with the objective of balancing the needs of stakeholders with the interests of the municipality.
  • Excellent organizational, communication (written and verbal) and report-writing skills and demonstrated ability to deal with the public in a courteous and efficient manner.
  • Proven problem solving, negotiating, and conflict resolution skills.
  • A positive and approachable attitude complemented with a strong work ethic and ability to work on multiple files simultaneously.
  • Proficient in Excel and Word programs are essential.
  • Ability to deal with confidential and sensitive information and issues.
  • Willingness to become involved in the local community.


The Director will possess a Land Use Planning Certificate and/or a diploma or degree from a post-secondary institution in urban or regional planning, engineering, or accepted equivalencies.  Along with a minimum of five (5) years proven senior leadership experience, the Director will have knowledge of Provincial regulations, municipal bylaws, the Municipal Government Act, and policies as they relate to planning and development activity.  Eligibility for membership in the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI), along with the Registered Professional Planner (RPP) designation is ideal.


A competitive compensation package will be provided to the successful candidate.  This includes a competitive base salary, a comprehensive municipal benefits package, and LAPP (Local Authorities Pension Plan).  Details will be discussed in further conversations. 



James Davies                               

Managing Director

DCG Executive Search Services Ltd.

Phone: (780) 758-9796

E-Mail: [email protected]


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