Every time I visit Richmond, BC, I’m swept back to 1998. I was finding my stride in my career. As a young urban planner, I was given a gift—the opportunity to work on the City Centre Plan, a land use plan that supported the long term vision for what is now the Canada Line.
Together with a brilliant team, I helped plan for the revitalization of No. 3 Road, creating the vision and blueprint for the beautiful, functional city center that exists today.
About a decade later, I‘d fallen head over heels in love with city planning and found myself even deeper in that world.
Working with TransLink’s strategic planning and policy group, I was responsible for creating a transit-oriented community planning guide in support of Metro Vancouver’s long-range vision. Related to this, our team developed the concept of the frequent transit network and the regional transit investment strategy.
In 2011, I went to the District of North Vancouver, where our team was charged with developing implementation plans for the Official Community Plan – a plan that was approved the same day that I started the job.
There, I worked on the town and village center plans, and on major development applications in support of the District’s transit-oriented development strategy. I also worked closely with TransLink on the North Shore Area Transit Plan which was structured around our land use plan.
(And, my career carried on from there. Since then, I’ve led several initiatives that have informed policy around transit-oriented development, including as Chair of the NAIOP Industrial Land Committee supporting the regional industrial land strategy and City of Vancouver employment lands strategy.)
Today—more than 25 years after I was kicking off that Richmond City Center project—I’ve been honored to partner with government staff, real estate developers, private landholders, and everyone in between to help bring countless residential and commercial development projects to fruition.
The point? Through ALL the ups and downs we’ve seen in housing and development over the past 25 years, transit-oriented development has ALWAYS been one of my leading passions.
While the work I do is often steeped in complex policy, complicated stakeholder engagement, and arduous strategizing to get a project across the line—connecting with other leads locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally to solve planning issues is deeply rewarding.
Nothing brings me immense joy and satisfaction like taking a vision for a transit-oriented site—and turning it into a walkable community abundant with housing opportunities and beautiful, activated public space.
The new policies we’re seeing for Canadian landholders to develop or redevelop sites near transit are exciting for a myriad of reasons:
✅Unlocking much-needed housing supply
✅Creating potential spaces for public art and engagement
✅Walkable communities are healthy communities
…and I could go on and on.
To me, it feels like a full-circle moment—Canada has been sitting on a veritable goldmine of transit-oriented properties for my entire career.
We’ve watched other global hubs go first, leveraging the full range of their space and resources to create high-density housing that fits the needs not just of those able to afford million-dollar homes—but of the WHOLE populace.
I see new possibilities. We’re edging closer to following in the footsteps of brilliant cities like Sydney and Tokyo (btw, more on this next week!) and coming up with creative housing solutions.
THIS is what listening, connecting, and finding solutions is all about. Things might feel messy right now (because it really is messy right now)… but I don’t want to lose sight of our first steps towards addressing the housing crisis and building a brighter tomorrow. Like in Richmond, we will look back 25 years from now and there will have been an important impact.
Cheers to visionary leadership and doing the work to unlock housing supply around transit in Canada,
PS – In the midst of all this excitement about new possibilities—there’s also a LOT of uncertainty around how new legislation will impact development. As I said, it’s really messy and it will be for a while. If you’re feeling confused about what implications these new Housing Statutes will have on your land development project—you’re not alone.
MANY developers and landholders have been reaching out to me for clarity around how recent shifts in policy will impact development timelines, costs, and more.
Municipal leaders, too, are keen to understand the potential impact of these new housing bills… and, how best to use their staff and consultant resources.
If you’d like to talk through your uncertainty with a seasoned planner and development consultant who knows the transit-oriented space and these new statutes inside and out—I’d love to connect and work through your uncertainties together.
For the month of February, I’m offering a limited number of Power Hour sessions. Here, you’ll get…
- My undivided attention for one hour, dedicated to discussing your project particulars and how the new housing statutes might impact you.
- The ability to ask specific questions and get specific advice from Yours Truly, around anything and everything related to permitting, land use, transit-oriented sites, new policies, and more.
- The shot of clarity and courage you need to keep your project on track,
…All for a one-time fee of just $597.
PPS – Looking for deeper, longer-term guidance to help your team navigate changes in housing legislation as they come through? Book a zero-pressure call with me to start the conversation.