Milestones 2019

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 brought  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 included 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.

The panel delved into the planning actions, events, decisions and developments of 2019 and discussed emerging trends in the evolution of the city that have not previously been recognized. 





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. 

Ian Campbell, Panelist

Xàlek/Sekyú Siýam Ian Cambell is a Squamish Hereditary Chief and an elected councillor of the Squamish Nation. He also serves on the board of MST Development Corporation (MST), a corporate entity which manages real estate properties owned by a partnership between the Musqueam Indian Band, the Squamish Nation, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. In the years leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Campbell was involved in the negotiations for First Nation governments participation in the games, as the Four Host First Nations.

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.



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