Vancouver is a real estate city, and how land is used, developed and conserved here has dramatic implications for the economy, quality of life and our future. Given the important physical constraints on land use (mountains, oceans and rivers as well as the US border) and other equally important policy and practical constraints (policies and regulations related to planning, zoning and development, the preservation of agricultural land and fish habitat and ensuring viability for the port economy and transit), the limited physical space that is available for growth and development is subject to a myriad of rules and regulations. Different but related land use and development considerations apply in many other areas of the province.
Having practiced in this area for close to 35 years, first for local governments and subsequently primarily for private sector clients, Peter advises and represents our clients in their dealings with municipalities and other authorities as those clients navigate, or are confronted with, regulatory regimes in pursuit of their land use, business and other objectives.
Clients rely on Peter to successfully negotiate with local government and provincial representatives regarding land use, environmental, expropriation and business regulation issues. They also rely on him to litigate where disputes arise over how regulatory regimes are intended to work, regarding particular decisions made under those regimes, or where a third party has launched a court challenge to an approval.
Peter’s experience as both a solicitor and a litigator assists him in addressing a myriad of land use and political issues with a sense of how the courts are likely to approach the issues that arise, which can assist with getting transactions done in a fashion that is more efficient and more legally defensible. It can also assist Peter in better explaining to a court the context and implications, where a dispute arises.
Peter has been a frequent contributor to regulatory initiatives. Examples include:
- As a member of the Urban Development Institute’s Board of Directors for 10 years, commenting to the province various regulatory issues related to land use and development
- Representing a large coalition of BC businesses (Business Council, BC Chamber, UDI, tourism, mining, truckers, hotels, agriculture, etc.) in providing comments to the province regarding the scope of local government powers under the Community Charter, to better reflect private sector interests and concerns
- Representing a similar coalition of BC business in commenting on the legal aspects of the interplay between municipal and regional district interests, relative to regional growth strategies
- Advancing the creation of legislation authorizing ‘phased development agreements’ to allow local governments and private sector parties to make more sophisticated agreements regarding their commitments over extended time periods
- Representing private sector interests on the Province’s Development Finance Review Committee
In representing property owners, businesses, developers, First Nations, environmental consultants and civic officials, Peter recognizes the role that all stakeholders play in creating our communities and advancing our economy as well as social and environmental interests. He is gratified to play a part in helping clients make Metro Vancouver and British Columbia the livable and thriving place it has grown into.
Peter is also a past longtime distress services volunteer, Board member and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Crisis Centre; has made three trips to Kenya/Tanzania with non-profit organizations, to expand their donor base, build a school and assist other projects; is a founding member of Dignitas International’s Pivot Group; and volunteers from time to time on Vancouver’s downtown east side.