Previous Award Winners

The Planning Institute of British Columbia is pleased to announce the 2015 Award Winners, for the following awards:  

Awards for Excellence in Planning

Awards for Individual Achievement - Young Professional Leadership


Awards for Excellence in Planning

The 2015 winners were offically announced June 18 at the 2015 Annual General Meeting in Vancouver and included the following:

Excellence in Planning Practice – City & Urban Areas - GOLD
CRD Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan Implementation Project
Author: Capital Regional District

The Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP) was prepared in 2011 as a strategy for achieving a significant shift in transportation throughout the Capital Regional District. The PCMP identifies a series of recommendations under the five E’s of sustainable transportation (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation). The target is a 25% modal share for cycling in urban areas and 15% in rural areas by 2038.  In December 2012 the CRD secured funding through Canada’s Gas Tax Fund transfer program for a two-year PCMP Implementation Pilot Project, which consisted of a series of improvements and investments. These were supported by an Advisory Committee of planning, engineering, community sustainability, and economic development representatives from each of the 13 municipalities, as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the three electoral areas.

The jury was pleased to see this plan being implemented, and the regional district acting as a facilitator for local municipalities. The uniform wayfinding and coordination of the network in a collaborative way were well done. The indicators and evaluation demonstrate the commitment to continuity of these efforts.

Excellence in Planning Practice – City & Urban Areas – GOLD
West Vancouver's Coach House Examination
Author: District of West Vancouver

In early 2013, District staff published a discussion paper and began a first phase of public engagement on coach houses as a possible new housing type in West Vancouver.  The primary objective was to stimulate public debate on coach houses and to generate feedback on specific questions related to tenure, unit size, density, potential neighbour impacts, and District-wide or more limited application. More focused consultation on proposed coach house policies and regulations was undertaken during the first half of 2014; and implementing bylaws were adopted in the fall. While West Vancouver is not the first community to introduce coach houses, it has established a unique policy and regulatory framework, allowing for rental coach houses as a detached form of secondary suite; and ownership coach houses in limited circumstances. The focus of the Development Permit process and guidelines is to ensure fit of new development with established neighbourhood character.

The jury noted that the process that West Vancouver undertook was thorough and rigorous. They took the time to meaningfully engage the community, looked at examples from elsewhere, and then developed an approach that was suited to the local context and needs, such as maintaining neighbourhood character and preserving existing houses.

Excellence in Planning Practice – Small Town & Rural Areas – SILVER
St Ann’s Block: The Making of a Great Street
Author: City of Campbell River
Partner(s): DIALOG, PWL Partnership, Highland Engineering and Surveying

This submission focused on the success achieved when the City of Campbell River partnered with a local developer who was making a significant investment in a new commercial building in the downtown core. The partners were able to leverage public realm improvements around this key site which has had a transformative effect on the overall downtown. The City initiated a comprehensive re-design of the streets around the site and the infrastructure beneath the streets. Through green infrastructure and significant quality in the materials and characteristic of public space are not unprecedented in BC, the strategic interventions are a great example of leveraging shared opportunities to encourage and deliver an enhanced downtown property space. Moreover, few cities the size of Campbell River have demonstrated outcomes of comparable scale and scope in terms of quality and function of improvements to the public realm.

The jury identified this project as a catalyst for downtown Campbell River and was impressed with how it will be used to attract more development and stimulate investment in the downtown core.  The use of a multi-discipline approach showcases best practice in leveraging investment which is critical in the province’s smaller communities.

Excellence in Planning Practice – Small Town & Rural – SILVER
A Plan for Tofino’s Main Street: A Place for People at the End of the Road
Author: DIALOG and District of Tofino

Tofino’s Main Street planning process focused on developing a new design concept for this important street paralleling  the towns waterfront.  The study focused on ways to maintain the distinct character and sense of place of Tofino through celebration of historic buildings and stunning views, while strengthening the broader downtown as a seam that stitches the waterfront together with the rest of the community. The project involved extensive community engagement, which included a community charrette, interactive public open house and the development of a film featuring long-time residents and business owners.

The jury thought the use of film to capture the history of Main Street was an innovative idea that will provide a lasting legacy for the community.  The use of ‘quick wins’ (small, inexpensive projects to illustrate the potential of Main Street) was seen as a useful tool to demonstrate the vision set out in the plan. The overall presentation of the plan was done to a high standard.

Excellence in Planning Practice – Small Town & Rural – SILVER

Lakes District and Schooner Cove Comprehensive Zone Amendment
Author: EKISTICS Town Planning Inc and Regional District of Nanaimo
Partner(s): Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP, Fairwinds Real Estate Management Inc

The Fairwinds community is situated on the Nanoose Peninsula on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 20 minutes north of Nanaimo. The area includes spectacular Garry Oak meadows and a network of wetlands. Fairwinds is also home to a residential community centered on a golf course. The lands in the community were prezoned based on a master plan dating from 1983. Overtime, the masterplan and its vision became difficult to implement and was causing conflict between various stakeholders. EKISTICS was hired by Bentall Kennedy (landowner) to help break the impasse which saw the Regional District of Nanaimo with fragmented jurisdiction, the Ministry of Transportation holding authority over street design, the local Nanoose First Nation holding traditional territory rights and the land owner holding zoned private land with no clear vision. The resulting plan and Phased Development Agreement deliver a new refreshed vision for these lands and a framework that will deliver the goals of preserving environmentally sensitive areas, creating new recreational opportunities while introducing a mix of land uses to create a more complete community.

The jury was impressed with the way the stakeholders came together to develop a clear vision that was supported through the adoption of the Phased Development Agreement. The ability to work with the Ministry of Transportation to create a more sustainable road network was seen as a breakthrough for non-incorporated areas in the Province.

Excellence in Policy Planning – City & Urban Areas - GOLD
Healthy City Strategy
Author: City of Vancouver

The Healthy City Strategy is a bold and ambitious plan to achieve a vision for social development, equity and inclusion that will make Vancouver a “Healthy City for All”. Adopted by Vancouver City Council in October 2014 this plan introduces innovative and far-reaching policies for a socially sustainable City. This social strategy compliments the City’s Greenest City Action Plan (ecological) and the Vancouver Economic Action Plan (economic).

The robust process developed a guiding vision and principles, three interconnected and overarching focus areas, and 13 long-term, generational, aspirational goals aimed at creating a “healthy city for all” and furthers Vancouver’s efforts to create a truly sustainable future for people, place, and planet. The document provides a clear path for strategic decisions and alignment of resources. It builds on and integrates the many initiatives that have been undertaken over the last decade to create a comprehensive, integrated, and measureable strategy for moving forward.

The jury was impressed with the innovative policies introduced through this piece of work. The plan bridges the divide between traditional land use planning and truly integrated community building. Clear support from the Chief Medical Health Officer highlights the importance of developing partnerships between the planning and health communities going forward.

Excellence in Policy Planning – City & Urban Areas - SILVER
A Whole Health Neighbourhood: The Pearson Dogwood Redevelopment
Author: DIALOG & Vancouver Coastal Health

The Pearson Dogwood lands occupy 25 acres along the Cambie Corridor in a mature residential setting. The lands are home to two outdated health institutions which provide housing and daily care to residents with complex care needs and major disabilities. The buildings are old and need to be replaced while the site is largely underutilized. Vancouver Coastal Health engaged DIALOG to assist with the redevelopment of the site to generate revenue to fund health care while creating significant value to the community and the City of Vancouver. The resulting master plan lays out a comprehensive framework for one of the largest mixed-use residential development opportunities in Vancouver. The master plan proposes a range of new features. This includes a YMCA, neighbourhood retail shops, and approximately 3,000 homes for residents with diverse needs.  Other key features include a new rapid transit station, district energy, urban agriculture, integrated storm water management, LEED Gold buildings, and a beautiful, accessible, and sensual public realm.

In developing this complex master plan for the site, the jury was impressed with the incorporation of the sustainable design and the thought that was put into implementation of the plan. The link between health and environmental design while keeping the project economically viable was viewed as a real strength of the submission.

Excellence in Policy Planning – City & Urban Areas – SILVER

Marpole Community Plan
Author: City of Vancouver

The Marpole Community Plan is a result of an intense and collaborative two year engagement process with community members and other key stakeholders structured around issue identification, vision and goal setting, analysis and plan making.  The plan sets out a 30 year vision for this south Vancouver neighbourhood and contains strong policies targeting key community priorities. This includes retaining industrial land to support over 10,000 new jobs and creating new intensive employment space at the Marine Drive Canada Line Station.  The plan contains a strong commitment to delivering a diversity of housing choices and introduces a new inclusionary zoning policy that requires 20% social housing on key sites near transit and new density bonusing is offered for developers to build townhouses which are in high demand by families, but in low supply. The plan also addresses connectivity and mobility that has been challenging given the number of arterials that run through the community. Another success of the plan was the relationship that was developed between the City and Musqueam First Nation in preserving the Marpole Midden (one of the largest  pre-contact middens on the Pacific coast of Canada).

The jury was impressed with the broad community outreach that included creative use of social media and audiovisual tools, bilingual and First Nations engagement,  walking tours, pop-up events in local parks and ‘speed planning’ sessions.  The plan itself sets out a clear course for how the Marpole community will grow and develop over the next 30 years.

Excellence in Policy Planning – Small Town & Rural Areas - SILVER
Northern BC Mountain Bike Recreation & Tourism Development Strategy
Author: David Nairne and Associates Ltd.
Partner(s): Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association and Northern BC Tourism

The Northern BC Mountain Bike Recreation and Tourism Development Strategy was a collaborative initiative that involved twelve communities and three regional districts across central and northern BC.  The project involved the preparation of a comprehensive strategic plan to support the development of a robust mountain bike recreation and tourism sector across the region. Before the initiation of this project, many of the communities were developing trails and infrastructure independently. The Strategy identifies effective actions that the participating communities can take to build upon their own strengths and collaborate to position the region as a competitive and attractive destination.

The jury felt that this was a comprehensive piece of work that involved extensive data collection, analysis, collaboration and practical recommendations. It is innovative to develop a sense of community and regional collaboration around mountain biking. Some of the highlights were the focus groups with mountain bike travellers, an online survey that drew 3,500 responses, and the use of festivals and races to increase the profile of the region.

Excellence in Policy Planning – Small Town & Rural Areas – HONOURABLE MENTION

Sunshine Coast Agricultural Area Plan
Author: Sunshine Coast Regional District
Partner(s): Investment Agriculture Foundation, AEL Agro Ecological Consulting, Upland Consulting

The Sunshine Coast Agricultural Area Plan coordinates regional, local government and community action in support of agriculture within the region. It integrates agricultural, farming and local food system priorities into local policies, practices and functions, while also identifying community-based initiatives in support of agriculture. The goals include strengthening farming and agriculture as an economic driver; increasing access to locally grown and produced food; building community resilience to geopolitical uncertainty, climate change and rising costs of food and energy; and providing policies that serve to protect, preserve and promote agriculture while preserving the rural character.

The jury noted that this plan is more comprehensive and graphic than most Agriculture Plans. It includes a list of key performance indicators and specific monitoring mechanisms organized under four distinct categories: Coastal Consumption, Coastal Production, Coastal Producers and Coastal Market Support. There is a significant amount of background information in the appendix, a detailed implementation section, a funding strategy, and the plan addresses the many layers of government including First Nations.

Excellence in Policy Planning – Small Town & Rural Areas – HONOURABLE MENTION

Lake Country Integrated Sustainability Plan
Author: Golder Associates and District of Lake Country

The District wanted a long‐term strategic ICSP to help them and their community partners to co‐ordinate efforts, articulate a vision for a sustainable future and make progress towards a set of goals for the environmental, cultural, social, and economic dimensions of a sustainable community. The ICSP was prepared in an inclusive way in partnership with a core group of community stakeholders including arts and cultural groups, education institutions, other government agencies, environmental organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, and individual volunteers. Since its inception, the ICSP for the District of Lake Country was referred to as a “community‐owned” plan. This description emphasizes the District’s desire and preference for a plan that is developed and shares implementation responsibility with community partners. The Community Sustainability Team (CST) is the facilitator of plan implementation. Actions are listed under each of the twelve strategies along with their timeframe and implementation responsibility.

The jury noted that this is a comprehensive report with good graphics and a solid public process. Information is well laid out with useful summaries, and there is a clear action plan with measurable indicators, timelines and responsibilities. The idea of introducing temporary uses to help create a downtown and the State of Sustainability report were noted as strong components.

Research & New Directions in Planning - SILVER
Planning for Climate Change: A Values-based, Strategic Approach for Urban Planners
Author: EcoPlan International and UN-Habitat
Partner(s): Compass Resource Management

This initiative involved preparing a guide to help city planners and other allied professionals to better understand, assess, and take action on climate change at the local level. With a focus on cities in low-and middle-income countries where the challenges are unique and the human stakes of planning for climate change are particularly high, Planning for Climate Change incorporates an approach for addressing climate change through structured, values-based, participatory planning processes. The guide includes a summary of how and why climate change is affecting our planet’s atmosphere, and the biophysical cycles driven by it. Also included is an explanation of how these impacts can affect vulnerable groups—the poor, women, children, etc.—more severely, and an overview of the policy and program avenues that planners might use to play a role in responding to climate impacts and mitigating a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The draft guide next went through an extensive review and field-testing process in a number of countries.

The jury was impressed with the “how to” nature of the guide and the case study examples with implementation ideas. This document illustrates how climate change can be integrated into all aspects of city planning. Jury members also liked the information about the complexity, time and costs of different tools so that planners can choose the most appropriate tool for their context.


Awards for Individual Achievement:

Award for Young Professional Leadership - Winner:  William Dunn, PIBC Candidate Member

The Award for Young Professional Leadership recognizes young members within the planning profession who demonstrate leadership and innovation at an early stage in their career and who contribute to the ongoing success of PIBC and the planning profession as a whole. The award is based on the overall impact of the nominee’s work and personal commitment to planning.

The 2015 recipient of the PIBC Young Professional Leadership Award is William Dunn. William’s planning experience began as an intern in Central Area Planning with the City of Vancouver where he completed extensive research on mixed use buildings: an effort which received many accolades including a PIBC Student Fellowship Award. In his current work in the Active Transportation Branch William brings a thoughtful approach to his work whether researching best practices, engaging stakeholders, facilitating workshops or mentoring the next generation of interns.

William has proven himself to be innovative. Prior to his work with Vancouver, William co-founded the Origin Planning Collaborative, an innovative ecological design and planning collective, working on projects that push the boundaries of housing, community design and ecological living. Also cutting edge was William’s own master’s thesis which focussed on the impact of new media in planning.

Outside of his professional planning work William has been extremely active, working and volunteering in his community for the benefit of others - in food security, social justice and the environment - since he was in his teens. Moving on to serve on the UBC Food Co-op’s board of directors and volunteering time to research the state of marginalized youth in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, among other efforts.

More recently, William’s involvement in the Richmond Food Security Society, as board member and vice president, has led to the development of new policies and improved accountability and transparency. As well, he started the Food for Thought Book Club, in partnership with the Richmond Public Library, which aims to spark local action through knowledge sharing, seeking members from all ages and cultural backgrounds. Mr. Dunn's volunteer work also includes the co-mentoring of planning students through the (City of Vancouver City Scholar program).

His ongoing contributions of planning articles based on his diverse volunteer experiences demonstrate his dedication to the on-going success of the Planning profession. His own adoption and chronicling of a One Planet lifestyle in an online magazine, is further indication, should any be needed, of his commitment to leadership.

William Dunn is described by his nominators as “a big picture thinker who understands the finer details,” and as someone who “has strong values and is dedicated to the betterment of his community and the planning profession”.

In sum, Mr. Dunn meets the spirit of the Young Leadership Award due to his efforts in innovative research, workplace and volunteer contributions, efforts to raise the profile of the planning profession through well researched articles and conference/ university speaking engagements, and his own personal commitment to sustainability.

Congratulations to all the 2015 award winners!!