To the editor:
Re: "Sullivan baggage, personality sank Vancouver city planner," Feb. 3.
I fear there is a misstatement in your reflection on the dismissal of Brent Toderian as director of planning. Borrowing from a Vancouver Sun blog, Allen Garr quotes a former staffer that Brent "had a personality that didn't help." That former staffer, according to the Sun blog was me, and quite frankly, from this former staffer's perspective, I don't see the issue with his personality (and suspect it was a misquote). I felt privileged to work in the City of Vancouver's planning department and was fortunate to work with Brent. I found him openminded, very supportive of staff, proud of the legacy of the department, and eager to find creative and intelligent solutions to the significant challenges facing Vancouver.
The director of planning position deserves the attention and scrutiny paid to it-it's a challenging position and decisions made by the director have serious consequences for the city we call home. In my time at the city, I saw Brent take on the challenges of the position without hesitation, make difficult decisions, but maintain the integrity of his office at all times. Not everyone was happy with his decisions, and by extension, with him (a problem common to every planning director), but I question whether it was by flaw of personality.
As our city continues to face serious challenges (affordability, sustainability, responding to the changing needs of a diverse population), we could use Brent's energy and intelligence. I hope he will remain engaged in civic issues. Brent was a champion of good urbanism and also of the planning department. As a former staffer, I have only fond memories of working with Brent and as Vancouver searches for a new director of planning, I hope that spirit and energy remains intact in that challenging position.