Speakers - The Best High Street Design-FutureProofing for Vibrancy + Technology


Gloria Venczel, BES, B.Arch., MRAIC, RPP, MCIP (MODERATOR)

Derek Lee – Principal, BCSLA  CSLA  LEED® AP

Greg Holmes

Tanya Paz

Scot Hein, Urban Designer and Architect (USA)

Vance Leschuk


Gloria Venczel, BES, B.Arch., MRAIC, RPP, MCIP is an award winning urban designer/planner with 10 years of traditional architectural practice before embracing city planning. Gloria has been the Thought Leader and Organizer for the RAIC Built City Speaker Series for the past three years, creating a strategic vision for the Series and providing a public forum with experts to re-think livability in the MetroVancouver region in this time climate change.

Gloria is Urban Designer/Principal of Cityscape Design Inc. and is working on an off-grid eco-pocket neigbourhood in BC. She was the Urban Designer/Development Planner for the City of North Vancouver where she oversaw the Civic Plaza urban design and programming, as well as conducting urban design reviews for all rezoning applications.

Gloria has taught architectural + urban design as an Instructor, former Royal Oak College, Vancouver. As Founding Executive Director, Smart Growth Canada Network, she convened Canadian sustainability NGOs, plus created a series of visually enhanced e-courses on implemented smart growth principles through NRCan + REFBC.

She was also the Organizing Co-Chair for the Congress for the New Urbanism-Cascadia Chapter’s Vancouver Summit 2015 called “The Business of NorthWest New Urbanism + Bridging Sustainability & Aboriginal Values”. As an Intern Architect, she was one of the founding members of the AIBC’s Architects in the Community Program. Gloria was recognized by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for the 2013 Volunteer Recognition Award and was awarded an Honourary Mention for Comprehensive + Policy Plans 2003 by the Planning Institute of BC.


Derek Lee – Principal, BCSLA  CSLA  LEED® AP


Derek Lee is a principal at PWL Partnership with over twenty years of experience in urban design, master planning, and landscape architecture.  With project experience in North America, Asia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East, Derek brings to the team an understanding of sustainable planning practices as they apply to the development of neighbourhoods and public spaces.

Derek applies his skills in master planning and design to a number of diverse waterfront redevelopments and communities, one such being the Southeast False Creek development in Vancouver, one of the largest City-led sustainable development initiatives in North America.

Serving as the creative lead on design teams at PWL, Derek focuses on innovative placemaking and urban design with a view to improve people’s overall health and quality of life. Derek’s infectious passion for innovation is grounded by extensive experience. His experience and ingenuity is evident in all scales of work, from large-scale master plans and urban waterfront developments to custom details that celebrate a site’s unique character. Derek’s ability to quickly translate conceptual ideas into graphic form effectively bring ideas to life.

Derek is a member of the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.  He is a registered Landscape Architect in British Columbia and is a LEED® Accredited Professional.


Greg Holmes leads the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area as its first official executive director.

In the BIA’s top spot Greg serves over 600 businesses operators and commercial property owners in The Shipyards District of Lower Lonsdale.  

Greg’s role in a nascent BIA is largely about consensus building with a diverse group of stakeholders. He works closely with the City of North Vancouver around innovative placemaking, street design and enhancement, and event creation and activation. All whilst working to creating the most unique urban waterfront experience in North America.

He is the first to recognize that for a neighbourhood and community to prosper all interested groups must work together. Having spent several years living, working and traveling abroad provides him with a unique perspective of what it takes to create a healthy, prosperous urban hub.

Greg has enjoyed a career full of successes in economic development, marketing, promotion and tourism growth; including almost a decade as Director of Sales and Marketing at the Vancouver Aquarium. In this role he was active with all destination development organizations be they municipal, provincial or national.




Tanya Paz has 20 years in transportation planning with an expertise in shared mobility (carsharing, bike sharing, ridesharing, Veemo sharing). Paz was the first on her dad’s side and 3rd on her mom’s side to get a degree. She graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in planning the Arts County Fair. First working in co-operative housing, she moved to Modo The Car Co-op in its early days in 1999 – finding herself curious and passionate about community planning. Putting vehicles in dense neighbourhoods, preferably also near major transit hubs and bike routes, employment centres, and other destinations, and encouraging people to commute to work by other modes, to create their own personal network of transportation choices, made sense to her.

Paz worked for Modo for 13 years, co-founding the Federation of Canadian Carsharing Co-ops and the international CarSharing Association. She’s helped carsharing organizations on four continents. At Tanya Paz Consulting since 2013, she has planned for all kinds of share-zies - including autonomous vehicles and the growing area of micromobility - on location planning, operations, and public policy.

Paz recently volunteer chaired the City of Vancouver’s Active Transportation Policy Council (ATPC) for 6 years, advising the City on walking and wheeling, bicycling, skateboarding, transit, and public spaces.

Overarching policies such as VisionZero and Complete Streets have come from the ATPC, as well as specific ones like allowing skateboarders and in-line skaters in protected bike lanes - a by-law that was passed after 4½ years of work.

Paz ran for Vancouver City Council in 2018 with Vision Vancouver, lost, and pleasantly surprised her party with the number of votes she garnered for a first-time runner.





Scot Hein, Urban Designer and Architect (USA)

Scot Hein was the University of British Columbia’s Urban Designer until May 2018, and is an Adjunct Professor of Urban Design in UBC’s Masters of Urban Design Program.  Prior to this work he was the Senior Urban Designer for the City of Vancouver and led the city’s high profile Urban Design Studio for 10 years of his 20 year career.  His work included the urban design and implementation of new plans for the city’s West End, Downtown East Side, Cambie Corridor and Mount Pleasant. 

He was responsible for the development planning of Woodward's, Southeast False Creek/Olympic Village, Mole Hill, Chinatown, the revitalization of Gastown/Victory Square/Hastings Corridor and related public realm projects such as the Granville Mall, Carrall Street Greenway, Pigeon Park, Downtown Historic Trail, CPR ROW and the Silk Road. Prior to joining the COV, he was in private architectural practice in the US and Canada where he specialized in the design of research and development facilities, health care, resorts and transit infrastructure. He is a previously registered architect with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and is a registered architect in the United States.

He co-chaired the inaugural urban design panel for Abu Dhabi and is a founding board member of Urbanarium, a non-profit society that advocates for “smart cities”.  He is also a board member of Small Housing BC.  He is invited to lecture on best urban design practices frequently, and has been a tireless advocate for neighborhoods and sustainable urbanism. Scot has also served as Canada’s representative for the Built Environment Education Movement.  Scot was honored with the 2015 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Advocacy Award.






Vance Leschuk has over 25 year’s experience in various facets of commercial real estate matters including negotiating leases for small business owners, operating cost audits on behalf of tenants, asset management, relocation/highest and best use studies, property assessment reviews and various means of real estate tax recoveries.

Prior to joining AEC, Vance worked for Deloitte & Touche, BC Housing Management Commission and his own successful real estate consulting firm – Add-Vance Real Estate Consulting Inc.

His unique experience of working in both private and public practice allows Vance to understand the motivations, challenges and opportunities of seeking change in public policies and seeking to overturn the status quo.

Recent achievements include spearheading a fundamental change in how social housing properties are assessed and taxed in BC along with obtaining exemption from property taxes for a number of small, non-profit and charitable organizations.  His work has resulted in annual savings in excess of $4 million for his small business and non-profit/charitable organizations.