We're Hiring for City of Surrey's Parks, Recreation & Culture Strategic Plan

MODUS is hiring Ambassadors as part of the public engagement efforts for the City of Surrey's Parks, Recreation & Culture Strategic Plan. Read on to learn more about this exciting opportunity. Apply by February 23, 2017.



Help Shape Surrey

Employment period: Throughout March 2017 and May 2017 (plus one mandatory 2-hour training period on February 27th)

Compensation: $18/hr

Number of positions:  3 (each position will average approx. 70 hours)

Timing:  Mostly evenings and weekends; potential for some daytime shifts for those interested

Closing Date:  February 23, 2017

About Surrey PRC Strategic Plan

Surrey has incredible parks, a thriving arts and cultural scene, a rich history, and world-class recreational facilities. The City’s Parks, Recreation & Culture (PRC) Department helps to plan and operate many of these amenities. To build on these great assets, and to meet the needs of a diverse and growing community, the City is now updating its Parks, Recreation & Culture (PRC) Strategic Plan.

The City is launching a highly engaging process to hear from a wide range of community members and stakeholder groups. We are currently looking for up to three (3) ‘ambassadors’ to join the team and engage the public at key locations and events throughout the City.

The ambassadors will interact with citizens at community ‘hot spots’ such as malls, community centers and major transit hubs. Ambassadors will go to a range of community events and gathering places and speak directly to as many community members as possible about the process and encourage citizens to answer a short electronic questionnaire on tablets.

We are looking for enthusiastic, energetic people with an optimistic outlook and a willingness to talk to a wide variety of people; candidates do not need a background in community planning. Engagement training and equipment will be provided.

We are also seeking a diverse range of project ambassadors including youth (15 – 30) and Punjabi-speakers. Ideally ambassadors should live in Surrey and/or know the community well.

Note: this job can be physically demanding - requires standing for long periods, working outdoors, and may include set up of tables, chairs, displays, etc.


Description of Responsibilities

Provide outreach and raise awareness about the Surrey PRC Strategic Plan update. Ambassadors will be working at various outdoor locations over two periods (March and May 2017).

·      To engage a wide range of community members, hand out information cards, and capture their ideas in an electronic questionnaire

·      To achieve a high level of community awareness of and interest in the process and driving up participation numbers for the questionnaire and other activities.

·      To achieve high rates of participation among audiences who might not otherwise participate.

·      Go to community events or gathering places on weekends and evenings to gather input.

·      Gain enough understanding of the project to be comfortable answering general questions.

·      Act as a positive role model across the organization.

·      Support the project team in ensuring effective community engagement.

·      Applicants must commit to a minimum of 7 shifts and attend a mandatory, paid training session prior to the campaign period

·      Shifts are 4 to 6 hours each, at various outdoor locations. Shifts will be confirmed prior to the campaign start date. You will be compensated for up to half an hour travel time per shift and reimburse your use of public transit within one zone.

Key Skills and Aptitudes

·      Approachable, out-going and optimistic; friendly demeanour is key.

·      Willing and able to transport informational materials to transit-accessible locations within the City of Surrey.

·      Physically capable of setting-up displays, table and chairs, if necessary.

·      Eager to hit participation targets and able to compile and report successes, failures and community responses to outreach efforts.

·      Remain calm and display professionalism if faced with challenging conversations. 

·      Capable of using time in an effective and budget-conscious manner.

·      Ability to speak Punjabi a strong asset

·      Diversity training or experience an asset

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. We especially welcome applications from visible minority groups, women, youth (ages 15 – 30), Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities.

Please submit a resume and brief cover letter by February 23rd, 2017 to:

Collyn Chan, Engagement Coordinator
Modus Planning, Design & Engagement Inc.



Thoughts on 2017

As 2017 begins, there is a lot of discussion about the best way to respond constructively to "the challenges of our times," and to the sometimes harsh discourse that has sharpened recently. 

The principals and the staff team at MODUS have committed to spend some time in focused discussion over the next couple of months on how to best renew and expand our mission statement (purpose), core values (what we stand for) and services (how we deliver value).

This quick note is simply to put a "stake in the ground" that such a renewal is underway....stay tuned for an announcement of what we develop together later this spring.


11 Really Great Things that Happened in 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, the MODUS team is keeping things positive.

We’ve created a list of some of the best things that happened in 2016, with a focus on those that strengthened our communities and our world.


1. The Paris Agreement – At the Paris climate conference, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal and legally-binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

2. Canada’s Commitment to the Paris Agreement - For the first time in Canada, the government is pricing carbon pollution as part of the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. In March 2016, all Canadian provinces adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to invest in clean energy and reduce carbon emissions.

3. Robson Square Plaza - The City of Vancouver made a monumental decision this year to close the 800 block of Robson Street, which runs through Robson Square, Vancouver’s main public plaza in the heart of downtown. With this closure, Robson Square will become downtown Vancouver’s largest public space. And the north side of the Art Gallery is getting a fresh new plaza design as well. 

4. Renewable Energy is “Crushing” Fossil Fuels Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels. To prove this, California is now powering over 6 million homes with solar power, a record in the US, and Portugal ran its entire nation solely on renewable energy for four days straight.

5. Public Transit Investments – The Lower Mainland’s transit referendum may have failed, but Los Angeles residents voted in favour of a permanent sales tax increase to fund a major expansion of the county’s public transit system. Measure M will bring in $860 million annually for decades and will fund expanded subway lines, sidewalk improvements, cycling infrastructure, bike share expansion, and a network of greenways. Locally, Metro Vancouver celebrated the expansion of its rapid transit network with the opening of the Evergreen Line in December.

6. Zero Waste in Vancouver – The City of Vancouver is the first large city in the world to commit to a zero waste target. As part of its ambitious goal to become the Greenest City in the World by 2020, Vancouver has already reduced solid waste going to landfills by 23%  – almost halfway towards the 2020 target of a 50% reduction. With help from MODUS, the City is now creating a long-term Zero Waste Strategy (with a target of 0 waste by 2040).  

AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh

AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh

7. Reforestation in India and Beyond – on July 11th, 2016, 800,00 volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours to combat climate change, smashing world records for the most trees planted in a single day. In December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares. A wide range of stakeholders, from countries to companies, also signed on to the non-binding New York Declaration of Forests with the goal of halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030.

8. Endangered Species are Rebounding - Endangered tiger, panda and manatee populations grew in 2016, demonstrating that conservation efforts really work. The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists. Wild tiger populations appear to be slowly rebounding thanks to efforts to crack down on poaching and protect wildlife reserves in places like India, Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan.  The Florida manatee population now hovers around 6,300, a 500 percent increase from 1991, thanks to conservation efforts.

9. The Great Bear Rainforest - On February 1, 2016, Premier Christy Clark announced an agreement between the province of British Columbia,  First Nations, environmentalists and the forestry industry to protect 85% of the 6.4 million hectare Great Bear Rainforest from industrial logging. In December 2016, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, officially ended its greatest threat, the Northern Gateway Project.

10. Syrian Refugees - While the war in Syria rages on, Canada has welcomed 38,713 Syrian refugees since November 4, 2015.

11. New Planning Leadership in Vancouver - This year, the City of Vancouver hired a new General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability, Gil Kelley, to help take Vancouver to the next level in becoming a greener, more affordable, and inclusive city.

All of these good news stories demonstrate real momentum in efforts to make the world a better place. Let’s keep moving forward in 2017.

PHOTO: Ian McAllister

PHOTO: Ian McAllister

City Council approves the Maple Ridge Youth Strategy

Maple Ridge City Council unanimously endorsed the Maple Ridge Youth Strategy last month, acknowledging that it does “take a village” to ensure local youth have the best environment to grow and thrive in.

One local councillor lauded the plan stating that, “just when I thought the draft version couldn’t get any better, the final is that much better.”

As one of the fastest growing municipalities in the region, Maple Ridge has a high proportion of youth. To help support their positive development in today’s challenging world, the City hired MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement to develop a Youth Strategy and  Youth Development Wheel.

This highly collaborative process involved over 1,000 local youth, emerging adults, parents/caregivers, and service providers through a series of surveys, interviews, workshops, focus groups, and Youth and Adult working groups.

This input, along with best practice research on youth development, were used to develop a set of recommendations to support youth/young adults; improve working partnerships between youth, caregivers and service providers; and create pathways to ensure that youth are seen as partners in their own future.

You can read the Maple Ridge Youth Strategy here.


MODUS partners with James Corner Field Operations & PWL Partnership to Envision a New Park in Northeast False Creek

MODUS is excited to announce that we will be working alongside James Corner Field Operations and PWL Partnership Landscape Architects on the Vancouver Park Board's Northeast False Creek Park Design project.

In 2015, the City of Vancouver made a historic decision to replace the City’s viaducts, creating an unprecedented opportunity to renew this neighbourhood and within it, create a new park on the last undeveloped piece of land in Northeast False Creek. 

Located at the crossroads of some of downtown Vancouver’s liveliest neighbourhoods, Northeast False Creek is at the heart of social life in the City. The new park will connect Downtown, Yaletown, Crosstown, Citygate, Chinatown, Gastown, and Main Street, and draw these neighbourhoods to an extensive and inviting waterfront.

MODUS will lead engagement for the Northeast False Creek Park Design, ensuring deep public involvement in this important project. We are honoured to collaborate with James Corner Field Operations and PWL Landscape Architects.  They will provide world-class landscape architecture and urban design to the project. 

Click here to learn more.

Welcoming Edward Porter and Sandra Bicego to the MODUS team!

MODUS is excited to announce that two more people with tremendous experience and energy are joining the company, Edward Porter and Sandra Bicego. 

As an enthusiastic, big-picture designer and skilled graphic communicator, Edward will lead our engagement-focused urban design practice. He is committed to pragmatic, collaborative and contextual solutions, and treats design as a means-to-an-end to effectively develop, communicate and facilitate complex development processes. 

As an effective facilitator with experience across diverse sectors, Sandra will support engagement efforts  but will focus on our rapidly growing “organizational development” service area. Taking an appreciative and participatory approach, she will ensure that our strategic planning, team leadership and change management tools support a wide range of MODUS clients and sectors.

Edward Porter

Prior to joining MODUS, Edward Porter was a Senior Urban Designer with IBI Group’s Vancouver office, supporting the St. Paul’s Hospital relocation, Pearson Dogwood rezoning, and several architectural site planning and public realm studies. He was also Design Lead at Diamond Head Consulting, helping build a green infrastructure planning and design practice, including strategic master plans for new communities, a river system and several urban forests.

Edward also holds the role of Adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at The University of British Columbia, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate-level design studios in Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture.

Sandra Bicego

Sandra brings tremendous energy, focus and commitment along with a proven record of success working with diverse non-profits, local government, community groups, and private sector interests on a range of topics.

Sandra’s experience working with all levels of government -  including First Nations, in Canada, the US and abroad - helps her address both the key issues/trends and the inner workings of organizations, ensuring better action-strategies and lasting results. Her experience spans a wide range of sectors, including health, education, social services/inclusion, environment, community economic development, international development, and community planning, environmental sustainability, and urban design.

Her skills and multi-sectoral experience in community engagement, group facilitation, strategic planning, and policy development will complement and deepen both the engagement and organizational development practices at MODUS. 


A New Addition to Our Engagement Practice

Stacey Forrester is joining MODUS as Engagement Coordinator after 10 years of working in public health care.  We are excited to welcome Stacey, who will join our thriving engagement practice. She brings with her a skill set that includes facilitation, research, knowledge translation and technology-based engagement. Stacey is passionate about diversity, inclusion and bottom up processes. She is excited to translate her experience in supporting healthy and resilient people into engaging and creating vibrant communities.