Friday, June 10, 2011

"40 Years On" at SFU

My daughter Claire, the Social Worker, (although generally more 'social' than 'worker'), with Gord Price of the SFU City Program who organized the evening, in matching hats.

Architect Norm Hotson, a classmate at U of T from 1965 to 1969, with whom I have worked on many planning projects, Gord Price, Brent Toderian, Brent's partner Rene, and me at reception following the talk.

I know that it was a very indulgent thing to invite 200 friends and colleagues to come and listen to 40 years of reminiscing on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of my start in architecture, planning and development. But hopefully it wasn't too dull, and I was so very delighted to see many people who have played an important part of my career and life...

Michael Audain, who I met in 1975 when he was an advisor to the BC Minister of Housing and has remained a life-long friend and colleague; Neil Griggs with whom I worked on the initial phase of the redevelopment of False Creek South Shore; Craig Waddell, formerly a prominent Vancouver architect who designed the now back in vogue Shaughnessy Place One, and went on to become President of Narod Properties...(he along with David Mooney brought me back to Vancouver in 1981); Peter Horwood a Narod colleague and now manager of Bridges Restaurant; Bruce Buchanan, former President and Vice-Chair of BC Packers who essentially set me up in business by inviting me to continue with the rezoning of the BC Packers waterfront lands in Steveston; Former Mayor Philip Owen who was involved with many of my milestone projects...Architects Norm Hotson and Tom Staniskis with whom I have worked on many projects.....and so many more.

I was also pleased to see current Director of Planning Brent Toderian who told me he gained some fascinating insights into past planning decisions, and the actions of past and present city of whom actually led the community opposition to our 1998 Langara Gardens proposal to build 350 rental housing units at no cost to the city!

It was great to have Stephen Mikicich, a senior community planner from West Vancouver in attendance, since he has been deftly guiding the Hollyburn Mews project through the West Vancouver community process. I was delighted to be able to report that it was approved on Monday night. And Robert Renger, with whom I worked so very closely in the creation of UniverCity.

The fact is, no good developments happen unless there is a genuine partnership and collaboration between the private sector....and the public sector. Trust me on this one!

Finally thanks to Gordon Price of the SFU City Program for helping to make the evening happen. As always, I was more interested in his comments than my own. We are lucky to have him in our city. And thanks to my family, who asked me not to thank them last night...especially my daughter Claire who showed up in matching Gord Price hat. (My other daughter wasn't in attendance since she's riding her bike down the Adriatic Coast.

And thanks to the almost 200 people who did attend, whether out of interest or a sense of obligation! It was a very special evening and I was delighted to have you there to share it with me

The presentation was videotaped, and can be found at


Stuart Mackinnon said...

A wonderful evening Michael. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge, experience, and wisdom after 40 years in community development.

Linda Naiman said...

Hi Michael,

I found your narrative of your 40 year career in real estate development fascinating. I have sort of a love hate relationship with your industry, and love it when it's done well.

I was inspired by your imagination, by your resilience in bouncing back from controversy, by your stories of context --and how developing a connection with the community is so important, if you want to achieve results.

Great lessons for innovators in any field. Thanks for sharing your stories.