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Saturday, November 26, 2022
Retired planner will miss co-workers but not ‘years’of council meetings

Director of community and development services Craig Larmour has retired after five years with the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“Working with staff, that’s been my favourite aspect of the job,” Larmour said in an interview.

“I always appreciate council and the residents, but working with staff, that is what I will miss the most.”

Larmour, 54, grew up in the Niagara region, spending his formative years in Dunnville on the shores of the Grand River.

He worked for 27 years as a planner for various municipalities throughout the region before the opportunity to be head planner brought him to NOTL in 2016.

The graduate of Brock University now lives in Fonthill with his wife of 27 years. 

The first thing he is planning to do in his retirement is travel with his daughter to Chicago where she is studying women's ministries at the Moody Bible Institute.

True to his profession, Larmour admires the planning he sees in other cities.

“They have done an outstanding job going back 100 years of planning in Chicago, with the Chicago River running through the middle of the city,” he said.

Larmour is also a big fan of the planning evident in ancient Italian cities.

“There’s nothing like Rome, right? It’s insane. And Florence. The city is just, you know, when you have a couple thousand years to plan and the Roman Empire to do most of it for you,” he said.

“And when a ruling body can just do whatever they want and they don’t have to worry about public consultation, you get amazing things,” Larmour said with a laugh.

He is hoping to do some world travelling with his wife once COVID-19 restrictions relax.

“We always planned Europe or something like that, maybe Hawaii,” Larmour said.

“Something a little more exotic than Wainfleet.”

Larmour said one thing he will miss most about NOTL is the residents' passion about development in the community.

“I will miss the level of public engagement. It’s a passionate council and public and I do appreciate that. I appreciate the care that council has for its constituents and the municipality as a whole,” he said.

“And I do appreciate the public and the experience and knowledge they bring.” 

Dealing with the demanding public wasn’t all roses for Larmour.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword. It can be frustrating at times but that’s probably more a reflection of me and my expectations rather than the public wanting to be involved,” he said.

NOTL is a town that attracts successful people and Larmour said he understands residents want to continue their engagement with where they live after they have retired.

“They want to find a way to become invested and to contribute to the town. So, with that lens, if I understand that that’s the public's intention, it becomes easier to have conversations with them and share information and listen to each other,” he said.

“It’s not like they are trying to create painful moments for me in my life. They’re just trying to be involved and contribute.”

There's one thing Larmour definitely won’t miss in retirement.

“Council meetings,” he said.

“I mean, the whole of my 32 years (as a planner) I have basically been in council meetings three out of four Monday nights a month. So, I’ve probably spent years in council meetings,” he said with a laugh.

Larmour plans to keep busy in retirement with his longtime hobbies of running, cycling. weight lifting and volunteering. 

“I’m starting to volunteer at Rose City Kids in Welland,” he said.

The child-focused charity provides a safe place for kids to “experience God’s love and grace no matter who they are,” the organization's website says.

“They really serve the underprivileged families and kids. They bring about 500 kids in on a Saturday,” Larmour said.

“They do some Bible lessons, feed them food, provide support to the families, gifts for the kids at Christmas. That sort of thing. It’s a program that is amazing.”

After three decades as a planner, Larmour said it isn’t development projects that he is most proud of.

“It’s more about the relationships I’ve built along the way,” he said.

“I remember when somebody has succeeded or when somebody has moved onto a bigger career to another municipality, or are elevated inside of the organization.”

“Those are the memories for me that are most important.”