Harry Harker brings 46 years of expertise, innovation and mentorship to B&A Planning Group

With an illustrious 46-year-long career that spans both private and public practice in Alberta and British Columbia, Harry Harker has joined B&A Planning Group as an Associate, where he will continue to promote a collaborative, innovative approach to community, inter-municipal and regional planning.

Join us in getting to know, and welcoming Harry to the B&A family!


  • Harry’s professional career did not begin as a planner! He originally earned a Bachelor of Science with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and served as a US Coast Guard licensed Deck Officer on a tanker in the Vietnam War and then aboard a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hopper Dredge. During this time, Harry observed a number of environmental disasters that were the result of operational practices that were permitted at the time. Recognizing the lack of environmental mitigation measures in place, he became passionate about preventing similar issues from occurring in the future, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks to start the next phase of his career.
  • Harry took his first planning courses, “Community Planning” and “Regional Watershed Planning” in 1971 while studying at UA-F.
  • Harry undertook post-graduate studies in Regional Planning at the University of Waterloo from 1974-1977. His first Canadian planning work was in the Yukon, working on behalf of the Yukon Native Brotherhood.
  • Harry’s career has since spanned across the public and private sector, and has included the following positions:
  1. Town Manager, Cumberland BC
  2. General Manager, Development Services, Comox-Strathcona Regional District, BC
  3. Director of Planning, Red Deer County
  4. Town Manager, High River, AB
  5. Adjunct Professor / Lecturer; School of Urban & Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
  6. Practitioner-in-Residence: Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary
  • Harry was elected to the College of Fellows of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2014. Fellowship is a “special status for Members that recognizes excellence, identifies prominent role models, promotes advances in planning practice and draws leaders to the forefront of planning in Canada” (www.cip-icu.ca).
  • Harry has been dubbed the nickname “The Rebel Planner” by a fellow faculty member due to his innovative approach to planning. Continuously challenging the status-quo, Harry feels the best results come from questioning existing systems and asking, “How could we do this better?” and “How will this policy be implemented?”
  • Harry is a strong believer and advocate for stakeholder engagement in planning. He has witnessed and been a large part of the shift from “advocacy planning” in 1973 (in which planners would speak on behalf of communities) towards “transactive planning” (in which planners work together and facilitate two way dialogue with the public to plan greater communities, together). With the understanding and experience of differing perspective and objectives in the planning and development industry, Harry takes a collaborative approach to engagement that focuses on building trust to and credibility with a project’s audiences.
  • Harry is excited to share his approach to planning with B&A Planning Group and eventually pass the baton to the new generation of planners. As a dedicated and passionate mentor, he hopes to work with young professionals to tackle some of the challenges and missed opportunities he has experienced throughout his career, and make a difference in how the next generation of municipal development takes place.

Click here to read Harry’s bio.