About Wes

I've  called Vancouver home for two decades. In that time both the city and the world around it have changed dramatically. I'm fascinated as I watch this happen, and sometimes I even find the time to write about it. I've worked in social policy, community economic development, and poverty reduction for the second half of those two decades. I've done this as a social planner at the City of Vancouver, as the Executive Director of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association, and before that at Building Opportunities with Business Inner-City Society, the multi-governmental public-private-partnership that implemented the Vancouver Agreement's 2004-2010 Downtown Eastside Economic Revitalization Strategy.

Currently, in addition to my role as the City of Vancouver's Community Economic Development Planner, I also enjoy keeping a foot in academia as the Director of Simon Fraser University's Community Economic Development Program and as a graduate student in SFU's Urban Studies Program. I've also been an instructor and mentor at SFU and at Vancouver's Groundswell Alternative Business School which does some amazing and innovative stuff. I contribute pretty regularly to local media on issues around the local economy, poverty and economic development, and also speak at a few conferences in Canada and/or the U.S. every year on these issues. 

Nobody has told me my ideas are crazy yet, though I keep trying to push new boundaries. 

I've dabbled in urban farming, as a co-founder or Urban Stream Innovation, Director of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society, and occasional delivery boy for the Vancouver Food Pedlars.

I've also dabbled with politics, I ran for parliament in 2015 in the riding of Vancouver East, and didn't do too bad! I remain active with the Green Party of Canada as the Party Critic for Urban Affairs and Housing and as a member of the local Vancouver East Electoral District Association

Before all of that I tended a lot of bars, waited a lot of tables, made a lot of lattes, and played a lot of gigs as a touring musician and songwriter. Something I also still dabble in. 



Master of Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University 

Thesis - Density and Diversity: Examining the impacts of mixed use development on the retail culture of Vancouver's Main Street 2007-2016 (Defence, December 2017)

Certificate for Community Economic Development Professionals, Simon Fraser University (2014)

Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction), Human Geography, Simon Fraser University (2012)

Certificate in Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University (2012)

Associate of Arts in Geography, Langara College (2009)


Current Boards and Committees 

  • Street to Home Foundation, Employment Action Committee
  • Vancouver Foundation, Field of Interest Grants Advisory Committee 

Past Board and Committee Experience

  • Past Chair of LOCO BC
  • Past Director of the Downtown Vancouver Association 
  • City of Vancouver Greenest City Action Plan Small Business Advisory Council 
  • Simon Fraser University Urban Studies Graduate Student Society 
  • Langara College Alumni Association 
  • Partner with BC Partners for Social Impact, a Provincial policy think tank examining ways to support and enable social innovation in communities and regions in British Columbia.
  • Past advisory board member and spokesperson for Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED BC), an association of academics, professionals and BC business leaders interested in a fact-based conversation around energy development and opportunities for long-term prosperity on BC’s West Coast.
  • Past Treasurer of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society
  • Past Chair of the Inner-City Safety Society
  • Past Chair Grand Masonic Day Organizing Committee
  • Vancouver East Federal Green Party District Association