March 30, 2021 - CBN News

President's Message: Looking Back and Forging Forward

By: Christopher De Sousa

As Brownfielders, we take enormous pride in acquiring older properties, cleaning them up, and redeveloping them into places and spaces that are functional, attractive, and contribute to the local community, economy, and environment. Indeed, CBN's role is to identify and share solution strategies for overcoming barriers to brownfields redevelopment and promoting brownfield sites as the first-choice for development. Every once in a while, however, an organization needs to take stock of its activities, examine everything from top to bottom, update it, and refresh it so that it is ready to take on challenges old and new.  Perhaps it was CBN's 15th Anniversary in 2019 that inspired the Board to gift the Network with a refresh. But instead of a traditional gift of crystal, we thought it best to stick with what we know and go with reassessment, remediation, and revitalization.

As you may know, the Board was busy reassessing in the fall of 2019, which led to a new Strategic Plan based on feedback from our members via surveys and our conferences. Launched on January 1, 2020, the five-year Strategy builds on past successes and puts forward an array of initiatives aimed at expanding CBN's reach across Canada, linking brownfields to government priorities, advancing "hot topics" in the brownfields sector, and adding value to our members. We quickly got to work on the initiatives, creating a new Development Committee to focus on planning, development, and finance issues and directing all our committees to develop Terms of Reference to align with our new Strategy.  And then along came Covid-19, which has had a devastating impact on so many lives and has fundamentally changed how we all live, work, and play.  While Covid caused us to cancel our summer conference, we were able to forge ahead with a virtual Brownie Awards that allowed us to celebrate the best that Canada has to offer in our sector.

It is a testament to our generous, loyal, and hard-working members that the CBN has been able to forge ahead with efforts to revitalize our Network. During the summer and fall of 2021, a Transition Task Force, made up of Board members, developed a new administrative arrangement for CBN.  In November, CBN welcomed Tammy Lomas-Jylha as part-time Executive Director and Sim Frayne as part-time Operations Administrator. Tammy is one of the founding members of CBN and facilitated the development of our new Strategic Plan. Sim has an extensive background in client services, office administration, and event planning. These two individuals have hit the ground running, working diligently to update the website, reorganize administrative procedures, refresh membership materials, and support Board and Committees so that CBN is revitalized and ready to push ahead with Brownfields-First.

Brownfields-First, The Preferred Development Solution, will continue to be front-and-center as we work through the pandemic and whatever lies ahead. Going forward, the CBN will need to consider: How COVID-19 may affect the scale and scope of the brownfields problem; Are there new challenges that need to be uncovered; and What opportunities may arise as markets and priorities shift. Everyone is seeking answers to these and many other questions. Fortunately for us, we have a dedicated network of multi-disciplinary expert-based professionals who together, are committed to finding brownfield redevelopment solutions.

Christopher De Sousa
President, Canadian Brownfields Network



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