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A Day in the Life of a Town Planner at Barker Ryan Stewart: Hope O’Dea

At Barker Ryan Stewart, we’re proud to have a highly motivated and passionate team that works together to deliver infrastructure and create better outcomes for our communities.

Town Planner

In our ‘day in the life of’ blog series, we aim to showcase the work of our talented team and help you get to know the faces behind our projects a little bit better. This month we sat down with Hope, one of our Town Planners, to chat a bit more about the most enjoyable aspects of being part of our planning team and the standout project she’s been involved in so far.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what attracted you to becoming a Town Planner?

I have always been interested in geography and went on to study a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Human Geography and the Environment at The University of Newcastle. During my studies I started working as a Junior Planner for a planning consultancy on the Central Coast. I have really enjoyed working within the planning profession, which has been further cemented during my studies at The University of Sydney where I am completing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning.

Walk us through a typical day in your working life. How do you usually start your workday and what are the most enjoyable parts of your day?

I usually aim to tackle the most difficult project on my list first thing in the morning whether it’s preparing planning advice or a long report. The afternoon is spent completing smaller tasks like lodging or following up applications, preparing fee proposals, and making contact with clients, councils or other authorities.

What’s it like being part of Barker Ryan Stewart’s planning team? Are there any standout projects that you’ve enjoyed working on?

It’s enjoyable being part of Barker Ryan Stewart’s planning team. We work both autonomously and collaboratively, which means there is a wide variety of the projects and people we work with. It’s really rewarding being part of a team that is always looking to improve on their skills and service. We work on a range of projects from large subdivisions and mixed-use developments for private developers to infrastructure projects on behalf of state and local governments.

Lochinvar Ridge Estate has been a standout project. This is a residential subdivision within the Hunter Region, which currently comprises 14 stages of development. It’s great being in a team with planners, engineers, and surveyors to deliver this project. It’s hands on and you are able to see the whole development process from site selection and subdivision design, gaining development approvals, through to development funding, construction, registration of the lots and marketing of the development. Having insight into the overall running of the development and various impacts from a developer’s standpoint has been really fascinating and the lessons learned will be implemented and considered in future developments.

What’s been the most memorable aspect of working at Barker Ryan Stewart so far?

The most memorable aspect of working with Barker Ryan Stewart so far has been the people. It’s great working with such a collaborative group where no one is out of reach. BRS feels like a united workplace where our relationships motivate us to work in an efficient and cooperative environment and where we are supportive of one another.

Looking back at your career, is there anything that’s surprised you about being a Town Planner?

The most surprising aspect of being a Town Planner is the constant learning. I could comfortably say that I learn something new most days.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to become a Town Planner?

There are so many different planning opportunities out there. Check what is available especially through organisations like the Planning Institute of Australia, Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand or the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Don’t be afraid if you have a non-planning background whether it’s commerce, social science, law etc. These backgrounds are helpful and valuable to the planning profession.

Want to get to know our team a bit better?

Check out our other ‘day in the life of’ blogs to learn more about our team.

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