The news of Vancouver’s planning director Brent Toderian getting kicked to the curb came out of left field. The Globe & Mail’s Frances Bula is reporting that the Vision city council has decided to terminate Brent. The termination comes without cause, but I’m sure the Vision political team will spin this story, it’s what politicians do best. In a city ruled by developers, the planning directors role is key to the city’s growth, so here’s to hoping that Vision has a great candidate in mind to replace Brent.
Before getting the boot, Brent was the planning director for six years. When he came on board he was only 36 and at the time the youngest planning director in Canada. To add to the pressure he had some mighty big shoes to fill, being the successor to Larry Beasely (the man famous for making Vancouver’s downtown core what it primarily is today) is definitely not an easy task. He inherited the “living first” strategy which, made Vancouver’s downtown core one of the most dense and livable places on the planet. However, Brent and others soon realized this worked too well and proceeded to bring a balance back to downtown. That balance meant more designated office space. This policy shift is exactly what was needed in order for Vancouver to avoid becoming a “resort town“.
In the end his constant scuttles with certain developers and dealing with the numerous NIMBY (Not In M Back Yard) groups may have led to his ultimate demise. Brent was no Larry Beasely but he did a decent job bringing larger scale developments to the rest of Vancouver. At the end of the day, larger developments outside downtown were bound to happen and lets hope the future planning director has the cojones to stand up to numerous anti-growth, anti-change, anti-everything groups.
Who will replace him? At this point it’s not known. I say the city brings back Larry Beasely at any cost. He can finish what he started by urbanising other chunks of Vancouver outside the downtown and Broadway Corridor core.
Image: Price Tags