Q&A with Land Use Planner, Hilltops Council – Bill Vanry
Q. How long have you lived in the Canberra region and what inspired the move?
A. I moved to Hilltops with my family just over two years ago. Previously, I was working as a private planning consultant in South East Queensland, working mainly on major developments like high-rise complexes and greenfield subdivisions.
I just wanted to learn more and try the other side of the counter!
I also wanted to move to a regional area, away from the city. I didn’t like the long commute; I didn’t like the crowds and I didn’t want to raise two kids in an apartment. I also wasn’t keen on the humidity of Queensland. It gets hot here in Hilltops, but it’s a dry heat and far more bearable.
So, we looked at areas we wanted to live and regional NSW was on the list. When this role at Hilltops came up, I did my research and found that it was a beautiful area and small, but vibrant town. I jumped at the opportunity.
Q. Can you tell us about the differences you’ve experienced between the private sector and regional local government environment?
A. Working in planning in a regional council means you’re basically on the front line of everything. It’s challenging and you learn so much. On any day, you can get applications for anything from intensive agriculture, building a shed, a house, a 70-lot subdivision, unit developments, a shop or a garage.
You get the whole works here. That’s what I like, it’s really interesting – you never know what you’ll get.
Q. What do you find the most rewarding about your role?
A. That’s probably the other big difference between working in local government and in the private sector – here, I get to make difference in the community. That’s what I find the most rewarding, it’s really important to me.
I like the fact that I’m now regulating and standing up for the local environment plans, rather than trying to find loop holes in them.
Q. How would you describe the culture at Hilltops Council?
A. I really enjoy the workplace culture here; I work with a great team who’re very experienced and supportive. We all just want to learn more and do the best we can.
Q. What would you say to someone who was considering moving into a Council Planning role in the regions?
A. When you go into a regional area, you are all hands-on deck. From the systems, the range of development applications, the different state specific processes - there are so many aspects to planning that I just wasn’t aware of.
The breadth of work on offer is just amazing. I’ve steered solar farm applications, large scale quarry operations, subdivisions, council projects, environmental assessments and so much more.
The scope of planning work you do in a regional council is incredible.
Q. What do you think that living and working in the Canberra region offers you, that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
A. I think the ease of living. I traded a long commute for a ten-minute walk to work. We even sold one of our cars, and now we only really use a car for days trips or going camping in the region. Everything is just so close. My daughter goes to day care just down the road and she loves it. My son can’t wait to start.
Everyone knows you here, you bump into people in town and it’s just so friendly. You don’t get that everywhere. I wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s the best decision I’ve made, not only for my career - but my family as well.
Now’s the perfect time to find your place in a council in the Canberra region. Discover the roles on offer here: Canberra Region Jobs
From Veteran to General Manager
A career journey guided by an unwavering drive to serve. In 1999, The Australian Defence Force (ADF) was deployed to Indonesian-occupied East Timor as the leading force in The United
A Role with Purpose in a Region Steeped in History
Q&A with Conrad Webb, Manager Enterprise Risk Systems – Hawkesbury City Council How long have you worked for Hawkesbury City Council? Nearly a year, although it feels longer - people
Veterans - is the juice worth the squeeze?
Yes, says Mark Bransdon, Learning and Development Officer – People and Performance, Campbelltown City Council. What was your background in the Defence Force? I enlisted into the
A Firm Focus On The Future
Nicole Wilson’s role is all about planning for the future. And she loves it. As Manager Integrated Planning for Western Australia’s Shire of Murray, Nicole develops the strategic
Veterans - a good fit for councils
Mick De Groot, Asset Manager at Gunnedah Shire Council shares why he feels Defence personnel are a good fit for Local Government. What’s your role at Council? I am currently employed as
Friends, Flexibility and a Great Workplace Culture
Q&A with Aimee Hunt, Payroll/HR Officer – Narromine Shire Council We recently caught up with Payroll/HR Officer, Aimee Hunt and talked to her about her role, and what she enjoys about
Where there is water, there is life.
This is certainly true for Kent Harris, Water and Waste Superintendent for Moree Plains Shire Council. Kent plays an integral role in the delivery of a clean, regular water supply and
Smashing a Few Glass Ceilings
Casey Smith, Moree Plains Shire Council’s Parks and Open Space Superintendent, celebrated ten years with Council in February 2020 and has paved a unique path to the top, while smashing
Victor Zhou: An Asset to the City of Canterbury Bankstown
Located 13kms south west of Sydney’s CBD, the City of Canterbury Bankstown covers an area of 110km2 and serves one of the most culturally, socially and economically diverse communities
An award-winning start with a Career at Council.
Councils across the country are giving young people a great start in their career by offering traineeships and apprenticeships to many hundreds of school students and school leavers. We
IT’s never boring at Randwick City Council
No day is the same for Anthony Collis, Randwick City Council’s Manager Information Management and Technology. Along with his team of over 20 staff, Anthony is responsible for the