Changes afoot in Huntsville’s planning department


You may notice some new faces at Huntsville’s planning department, which is going through a transition. Two planners have recently left the municipality for other pastures.

Chris Marshall has gone to Kawartha Lakes and Sean O’Callaghan, who left just before Marshall, accepted another position as planner at the Township of Algonquin Highlands.

That’s the thing with living in Muskoka… the joke is that we keep stealing from one another. Huntsville CAO Denise Corry

“We certainly wish them well,” said Corry, adding that they’ve both moved up in their careers as planners.

In terms of the impact on Huntsville, she said O’Callaghan’s position was filled internally by GIS Coordinator Curtis Syvret. “He slid over, he had some great background in urban planning,” said Corry.

As for Marshall’s position, Corry said, “We’re very sad to see him go because obviously when you have staff in the Corporation that are committed and dedicated it’s hard to let them go.” At the same time Corry called the move great for his career as it was a higher level position. The Town went looking for a senior planner to replace him. The competition closed mid-January and staff are expected to begin reviewing the applications this week. The hiring committee is comprised of Human Resources Manager Lisa Smith, Manager of Planning Services Kristin Maxwell, and Executive Director of Development Services Mike Gooch who has announced he’ll be retiring in June. The Executive Director of Development Services oversees planning, bylaw, building, and the sustainability departments at the Town of Huntsville.

“It’ll be a big portfolio so we’ll probably be going out in a month looking for applications for that position,” said Corry.



  1. With all due respect to Chris Marshall, who will indeed be difficult to replace; it will be almost impossible to find an equivalent successor for Mike Gooch. I fervently hope that he has been training a replacement, but the tenor of the article suggests otherwise.

    Not only is Mike a capable and conscientious employee, but he has extensive knowledge of the present and future requirements with respect to accessibility. This is key to not approving any construction which will require replacement in the near future.

    Congratulations on a job well done, Mike.

  2. John Rivière-Anderson on

    Chris Marshall has been an extremely important expert voice for green planning in Huntsville. It is vital that his replacement be thoroughly versed in the practice of Community Resilience Planning, of which the now indispensable principles are known to Sustainability Coordinators. How we choose to implement planning for long-term Resilience will absolutely determine the ability of our children to cope with imminent and unavoidable changes to living in Huntsville.

  3. John Rivière-Anderson on

    It would be crucially forward-looking should Mayor Scott Aitchison, District Councillor Nancy Alcock, and Planner Kirstin Maxwell, who are conversant with the principles of Community Resilience Planning, consult to include this vital knowledge as requisite to the hiring criteria in the search for a replacement for Chris Marshall.

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