Bridgewater director of planning on the move

Eric Shaw to become city planner in BC

Eric Shaw will soon be shaping the plans of a city on the other coast of Canada.

Bridgewater’s current director of planning is moving his family of four to White Rock, British Columbia, next Thursday, as Mr. Shaw has received what he sees as an excellent job offer.

“I think we’re just interested in a new adventure. ….We used to sort of get a high off of that before, and I think we’re starting to get that itch again,” said Mr. Shaw, of himself and his wife, Alexis. They moved here eight years ago and started their family in the area. Now, they will drive with their three year old and seven year old for six days westward to start a new life.

“I think it was just a desire to try something new and pursue something different and maybe live in a different part of the country,” said Mr. Shaw of the move.

Mr. Shaw grew up in Montreal and Toronto, attending Concordia University for an urban studies degree, and the University of Toronto for a masters of planning degree. He also set down roots in Vancouver and Winnipeg before he and his wife moved to Bridgewater.

“Work has been really exciting here. We’ve been doing some really good stuff I think, and so that kept me very fulfilled, but now that the kids are older I feel like I’ve accomplished some of the things I wanted to accomplish here,” he said, adding it’s a perfect time to move before his children get too settled.

Bridgewater’s planning department has changed quite a bit under Mr. Shaw’s direction to include more long-term strategic planning for the town. Some of this work included the downtown master plan, a comprehensive planning review that updated planning documents, introducing policies and regulations for development, starting more active transportation initiatives, updating some infrastructure and introducing more sustainability efforts.

“It’s nice to see that Bridgewater, unlike a lot of rural communities out in Nova Scotia, seems to be doing quite well and it continues to grow, with some indication that additional growth is coming. I think that’s a credit to the department and to all the staff here that are really trying to foster that positive approach to help developers find solutions to problems,” said Mr. Shaw, whose last official work day is April 21.

“I have no qualms about how successful Eric will be in that new position. He has certainly demonstrated to us leadership and vision and a passion for planning,” said Mayor David Walker to council members at a regular meeting April 13. “If I were to look at where we were when Eric arrived in our planning department and where we are now, I think there’s been significant positive movements.”

He describes the town he is moving to as a little urban city of 20,000 people on a land area of 5 kilometres right on the border of the province and Washington State. Most of the city lies along the Pacific Ocean, which is a primary draw for tourists. The city is undergoing initiatives similar to those Mr. Shaw has introduced here – downtown revitalization, waterfront revitalization and a planning review of policies and regulations. He’s ready to take on the new role of being city planner in an area with twice the population.

“I really appreciate the time I’ve had here,” said Mr. Shaw. “It’s been eight wonderful years, life-changing years really, and I’ll certainly miss everyone very much.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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