And the experts say …

Downtown Plan launch event this Thursday features expert guest panel

When the Town of Oakville launches the Downtown Plan this Thursday, the audience will hear from an expert guest panel on how culture, urban design, accessibility and commerce can enhance, transform and elevate a community to new heights.

Five seasoned professionals will kick off the Downtown Plan by answering questions posed to them by Mayor Rob Burton, and then by the audience.

“This is a great opportunity for residents and business owners to share their vision for our downtown core and to interact with professionals that have implemented similar plans across the country and the world,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Between the public’s input, our town staff and consultants, we have a wealth of experience and imagination to continue to make Oakville even more livable.”

Two of the panel guests, Joe Berridge (Downtown Cultural Hub Study) and Anne McIlroy (Downtown Transportation and Streetscape Study) are the lead consultants on the two studies and will share their experiences on similar projects.

Joe Berridge, Partner at Urban Strategies Inc., has had an integral role in the development of some of the largest and most complex urban regeneration projects in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Asia. He was an advisor on the development of World Financial Center in New York and Canary Wharf in London and a master planner for the waterfronts of Toronto, Singapore, Cork, Ireland, London’s East Docklands, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Governors Island in New York City. He has prepared campus master plans for the University of Waterloo and Western University. Mr. Berridge played an important role in helping form the growth management and transportation plans for the Toronto region. He teaches at the University of Toronto and is a regular media commentator and writer on urban issues.

Anne McIlroy, a Principal of Brook McIlroy, has over twenty years of experience as an urban designer for master plans and urban design projects across Canada and the United States with particular expertise in the development of master plans and design standards for communities, waterfronts, universities and other institutions. Ms. McIlroy’s accomplished list of projects includes urban centres such as the Rockcliffe Neighbourhood Development in Ottawa, the Bloor-Yorkville Master Plan in Toronto, and the Vaughan Health Campus of Care. On the streetscape side, Ms. McIlroy has led projects for the Jarvis Street Transformation and the St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvements Project in Toronto. Brook McIlroy is also established in developing sustainability, urban design, and intensification guidelines throughout Ontario.

Sharing his business acumen in the discussion will be John Bowker, Vice-Chair and Chair of Beautification, Roncesvalles Village BIA. As a successful business owner and board member of the Roncesvalles Village BIA, Mr. Bowker will bring a practical viewpoint on how an improved streetscape and beautification plan in a commercial district can be implemented in a successful and lucrative way.

Rounding off the panel is Oakville resident Don Pangman, founder of ArtHouse which provides cost-free arts programs for young people ages 7 to 12 in Oakville and Burlington. Mr. Pangman and his family have lived in Oakville since 1976. Over the last 15 years he has devoted much of his time to fundraising, both as a volunteer and as a professional. Don has served on several boards including the United Way of Oakville, the Oakville Community Foundation and the Oakville Symphony Orchestra. He is currently Chair, Canadian Music Competition of Toronto. Don has been recognized for his work receiving the Paul Harris Fellow, the Oakville Community Spirit Award for the Arts, McPhie Award from the Children’s Aid Foundation of Halton, and was presented with The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

For a town’s perspective on this plan, Community Development Commissioner Jane Clohecy will join the expert guest panel to take the audience through the next steps for this plan and how the town’s current official plan, Livable Oakville, and other policies will impact the studies.

The Downtown Plan — Time to Dream — launch will set the stage for intensive community engagement for the next six months on these two studies. The Downtown Cultural Hub Study will explore opportunities to create a downtown cultural and performing arts space including: a performing arts centre, art gallery, library, outdoor program space, and digital space that will become the cultural, social, and economic heart of our community.
The Downtown Transportation and Streetscape Study will improve downtown streets, pedestrian and cycle ways, and the Towne Square by introducing a cohesive look and feel, while increasing connectivity, mobility and accessibility.

The Downtown Plan launch will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2013, at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts starting at 7 p.m. To RSVP call 905-845-6601, ext. 7529 or email For more information visit the Downtown Plan page.

Media contact:

Mary Jo Milhomens
Senior Communications Advisor
Town of Oakville

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And the experts say …