2019 Year-in-Review

A panel discussion on the planning milestones that transformed Vancouver in 2019

Expropriation of derelict hotels. Plans for 6,000 new units in 11 high-rises at the foot of Burrard Bridge, some as high as 60 storeys. Increase emission-reduction targets five-fold. Vancouver in 2019 was transformed. Or was it?

The Vancouver City Planning Commission, in partnership with SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, is bringing together some of the city’s top urbanists and advocates to look back 12-months in order to see where Vancouver is heading.

The panel on February 6, 2020 includes Sarah Blyth from the front lines of the opioid overdose crisis; Stephanie Allen, a champion of community housing; Ray Spaxman, the conscience of Vancouver’s planning community; and, Michelle Lorna Nahanee (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh), an Indigenous change maker. The panel will be moderated by Am Johal, Director, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Join the panel for the fifth annual Year-In-Review as they delve into the planning actions, events, decisions and developments of 2019. Find out whether the milestones of 2019 proposed by a VCPC committee can withstand their scrutiny. Listen in as the panel discuss emerging trends in the evolution of the city that have not previously been recognized. Question some of Vancouver’s most passionate city builders on their perspectives. Offer you own ideas on the watershed moments of 2019 in planning and development in Vancouver.

One year, one evening, one conversation. Be part of the showdown.


When: Thursday, February 6th, 2020 – 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Where: SFU Woodward’s Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, 149 W Hastings St., Vancouver, BC


Sarah Blythe, Panelist

Sarah Blythe is the Executive director of the Overdose Prevention Society and a mental health worker with the Portland Hotel Society. In both of these roles, Sarah works on the front lines of the opioid overdose crisis. Sarah is also the former chair of the Vancouver Park Board.

Stephanie Allen, Panelist

Stephanie Allen is a Founding Director of Hogan’s Alley Society. She has an undergraduate in Business and a master’s degree in Urban Studies. Stephanie and has worked for 18 years in real estate development in the US, Alberta and BC with the last 9 years focused on affordable housing as a critical part of equitable city-building. 

Ray Spaxman, Panelist

Ray Spaxman is an architect and planner. He was a former municipal planner in England, Toronto and Vancouver, where he was director of planning for the City of Vancouver from 1973 to 1989. Subsequently, Ray, as president of RSC Ltd., provided planning and urban design advice in Canada and Internationally. Now, with over 60 years of experience, he is “sort of” retired. 

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, Panelist

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) grew up in the Squamish Nation community called Eslha7an between the mountains and the ocean. Michelle works within the intersection of class, race, culture and creativity, focusing on social change through strategic communications and deep engagement. She founded Decolonizing Practices to actively undo colonial impacts. Her collaborations have influenced opinions, changed behaviours and mobilized community action. Michelle is also a partner in The Capilano Teahouse, an Indigenous-owned plant-inspired company.

Am Johal, Moderator

Am Johal is the Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the Co-Director of the Community Engaged Research Initiative. He is co-author of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale with Matt Hern. He currently sits on the boards of 221A Gallery, the Indian Summer Festival and the Bloom Group.

Tickets are limited. Register now!

If you have any questions about this event, please email vcpc@vancouver.ca or leave a message at 604.873.7477

Registration Disclaimer:

As this event is free, and free events routinely have a high number of no-shows, it is our policy to overbook. In case of a full event, registration may not guarantee entry. Seating is limited and will be available to registered attendees on a first-come, first-served basis.


Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre is located at 149 West Hastings St, and is located a brief walk from Waterfront station and numerous bus stops. Bike stalls are available outside the main entrance. There is an EasyPark lot located across from the centre at 65 West Cordova Street. There are washrooms located on all floors of the building. All floors within the building are serviced by elevators.

The Vancouver City Planning Commission acknowledges that this event will be held on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations.