Meet B&A Associate Grant Mihalcheon

Q: How long have you worked at B&A?

A: Five years.

Q: What university/universities did you go to, and what did you graduate with?

A: I’m a graduate of the University of Alberta Geography Department where I received a Science degree with urban planning specialization.

Q: How long have you been a planner and where did you begin your career? 

A: I’ve been a planner for 27 years in both the public and private sectors. My first job was with the MacKenzie Regional Planning Commission in Northwest Alberta. After getting my feet wet in the field, I moved to Calgary where I joined what was known at the time as the Municipal District of Rocky View. After three-years there I joined the City of Calgary Development and Building Approvals Department where I worked in various positions over nine years.  As a Planning Project Manager I critiqued various applications including development permits, revised plans, outline plans and land use files. After leaving the City of Calgary I joined Tim Hortons where I remained for seven years as Planning Project Manager. 

Q: Why did you become a planner?

A: I have always been interested in the development of cities. As a teen I witnessed the development of a subdivision adjacent to my house. I enjoyed reading the Area Structure Plan and refuting misguided opposition to the plan. From that point on I had a desire to help form our city and the places we live. I’m fortunate to live in a province where growth continues to occur and where my actions can help shape communities in a collaborative manner.

Q: What is your role/specialty at B&A?

A: Having worked for the City of Calgary for nine years I understand the internal reporting structure, including the timelines expected of city staff. I have also maintained good relations with upper management should applications need to be escalated to facilitate decisions. I also have specialized knowledge and experience with commercial/industrial developments but am also comfortable with residential communities from an outline plan/land use and development permit applications point of view.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your career so far?

A: Shaping the form of Calgary and creating a legacy for future generations. I appreciate the opportunity to work with developers and individuals to build a vision for this city and am proud of what Calgary has become and how it continues to grow and mature over time.

Q: What is one of your most memorable/successful projects at B&A?

A: Trinity Hills, located at the west entrance to Calgary. The outline plan/land use application was complicated due to the nature of the land, negotiations of land transfers and the 10,000 name petition signed by residents who wanted the land preserved. The project was eventually approved by Council after two days of public hearings and this decision was rewarding to both the client and I. Continuing with the project from a development permit perspective has also enabled me to successfully obtain approvals and influence what the building form of the property will look like. Seeing any project progress to a tangible stage is very rewarding.

Q: If you didn’t become a planner, what career path do you think you would have taken? 

A: Either real estate or civil engineering, as I would have likely pursued a career in the development industry in some way; either that or a circus clown.

Q: How do you spend your time outside of the office? 

A: One of my favourite pastimes is travelling with my family and exploring new and interesting regions of the world. I enjoy seeing worldly cities, architecture and getting new development ideas that can be brought back and implemented in Calgary.

Q: What is one thing about you that most people don’t know? 

A: I share my birthday with World Town Planning Day, so I guess I was destined to become a planner.