Planning Institute of BC elects Dan Huang to 2-year term as President
The Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC), the professional association for Planners in BC and the Yukon, recently elected a new president—Dan Huang, Senior Planner and Branch Leader of Urban Systems’ Victoria office. The PIBC has roughly almost 1500 members, most of whom work in a variety of planning fields ranging from land-use and development, resource and environmental management, municipal and regional planning, policy planning and law, heritage conservation, transportation planning, urban design, and more.
Dan, a 20-year veteran in planning, kicked off his term with a strategic session this past July, where Council brainstormed about where to focus their efforts over the next two years.
A Profession Connected To All Aspects of Community
Professional planners are at the forefront of a wide variety of issues and projects across the province today more than ever. Issues that are heating up today such as affordable housing, active transportation, climate adaptation, energy resiliency, creating memorable places and spaces and aboriginal self-determination are dealt with by planners on a regular basis.
Two Years, Two Issues
In addition to PIBC Council’s Strategic Plan, one issue that Dan would like to focus on is what he calls “Owning our Space”.
“We want to ensure that our profession continues to be both relevant and recognized by other players at the table,” he says. Because planning is so diverse and far ranging, carving out an identity and awareness of the profession is an ongoing challenge, but one Dan says that PIBC is up for.
Dan explains that members now have Right to Title with “Registered Professional Planner” or “RPP”, reserved only for certified members of our profession. Specific legislation in the Local Government Act is tailored to the work of professional planners (e.g. Regional Growth Strategies, Official Community Plans, Zoning Bylaws, Development Cost Charges, and Heritage Conservation). “We will continue to advocate for appropriate legislative tools to better plan the communities in which we live, work and play,” he says.
The second and possibly thornier issue that he has asked Council to tackle is the question “What do we stand for?” Recently, the association has been asked to provide a position on a variety of issues, one in particular surrounding the Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation Referendum.
“As an association we are not an advocacy group per se, yet we need to decide when and how we get involved in advocating a position. Many of my colleagues thought it was a no-brainer for PIBC to support the transit referendum. However, others thought that this was an issue around transportation funding, not transportation planning, and that we should not be taking a position. In the end, we chose to communicate the importance getting out and voting. While this was a softer approach, as planners we know there are many sides to an issue. Over the next two years we will be taking a strategic position around when it makes sense for PIBC to weigh in on issues, for the betterment of the planning profession and our membership as a whole.”
The Future is Vibrant
Dan is excited about what the next two years hold. He says that he joined Urban Systems for the same reasons he decided on a career in planning:
“Ultimately it’s all about being a part of building great, sustainable vibrant communities. Planning is coming to the forefront and becoming more mainstream these days. We want a strong voice and to continue to provide leadership on a number of new emerging issues – climate change, watersheds, transportation, housing and others. I can’t wait to see the progress we make together over the next two years and beyond.”
Dan has been in community planning for over 20 years now, and has been on PIBC Council for six of those years. He says he’s so deeply involved with the association because it’s important to give back to the profession he’s been involved in, to continue to advocate for a strong planning profession and to promote good planning principles and process.