Growth & Community Development Services

PlanSJ Citizen Advisory Committee

The Municipal Plan Citizens Advisory Committee was established to advise Common Council on the development of the City’s 25-year comprehensive municipal plan. The Committee served as ambassadors within the community to actively promote public involvement in the planning process.

The Citizens Advisory Committee’s primary role was to formulate recommendations to Council during each phase of the development of the City’s Growth Management Strategy and Municipal Plan. 

Read the complete CAC Terms of Reference.
Read the Agendas and Minutes of CAC Meetings.

 CAC Member Biographies
CAC-Moka

Mokhtaria Benhatchi

I am originally from Algeria where I worked as an Urban Planning Engineer. I have lived in Saint John for the past three years. I work for Settlement Services at the YM-YWCA. My family and I live on the East side.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I am very interested in the development of the City. There are many challenges here that I would like to help solve. I miss using my urban planning engineering skills and experience, and I look at this as a mutually beneficial opportunity for me to give something back to this community.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I have a young family and am a newcomer to Saint John. I hope we can represent growing diversity in our population and be able to reach out to them.
CAC-Dave

Dave Drinnan

I’ve lived in Saint John for the past ten years, after having spent most of my life in Vancouver, Ottawa and other larger cities. My professional background is in knowledge management and communications, and I run my own consulting business.

 
Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

The CAC has given me an opportunity to contribute to my community and participate in shaping its future. I believe it’s important for every citizen to become involved whenever possible in guiding the development of our community.
 

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

The municipal plan will be critically important to the future of this city, and that plan needs to be both realistic and innovative. Most importantly, it needs to fully reflect the vision of the citizens of this community and the community must take ownership. The members of the CAC will help make that happen by serving as a conduit between those citizens and the planning process.
 
We must ensure that the desires and priorities of Saint John’s citizens are considered and respected throughout the planning process. This requires active communication with both the community and the municipal planning team. It also requires education – for CAC members, citizens and planners – about critical issues facing this community, about its history, and about ways to sustain and improve the quality of life in Saint John over the next several decades.
CAC-Barry

Barry Harbinson

I’ve been an educator for thirty three years in the local school district. I live in Millidgeville.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

Saint John is an excellent place to live but has the potential, with proper guidance, to become even better. It would be a privilege to serve the City and help plan the development of our municipality.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I hope we can work with citizens to generate new ideas to develop a plan that makes living in the City desirable.

Patty Higgins (representative of Common Council)


CAC-Gerry

Gerry Lowe

I spent the first 27 years of my life living in the South End of Saint John. Then I moved to Lakewood Heights, then Quispamsis, and back to Uptown Saint John. The last 10 years I’ve been living on Old Rockland Road, which I developed and am still developing.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I have obtained a great deal of knowledge of Saint John through my various occupations – relief fireman, a letter carrier and business agent for Canada Post, driving taxi (I own Vet’s Taxi). During this time I purchased and renovated nine vacant buildings; many of these have become my business establishments. I also gained a great deal of knowledge sitting as a member of the Planning Advisory Committee of Saint John. This is why I have offered to serve as a member of the PlanSJ committee.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I am extremely interested in letting the people of Saint John know what this City has to offer its people.
CAC-Peter

Peter McGuire

I was first elected to Council in 2004 then was elected as a Councillor for Ward 1 in 2008. I am on secondment to UNB Saint John as their Community Engagement Officer.

Why did you want to be a council representative on the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I’ve served on a number of committees including Saint John Non-Profit Housing, First Steps, Inc. and the Vibrant Community Leadership Roundtable. I am keenly interested in affordable housing and planning in general.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I am hoping that we are able to engage children and youth and that we pay attention to green space enhancements and land for public purpose.
CAC-Anne

Anne McShane

I moved to Saint John about 12 years ago from Sussex when my job at the potash mine ended with the mine’s closure. I now live in the north end with my husband and have a small shop in the uptown that I opened about 8 years ago.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

To be honest, I found myself frustrated by some issues in the city. When I heard about the municipal plan’s Citizens Advisory Committee, I figured if I wasn’t willing to be part of the solution, I was part of the problem. I submitted my name to do my part.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

Frankly, I hope every single resident of this city weighs in. When you’re out and about chatting, you quickly realize there are people with some really good ideas for the city out there. They’ve lived here their whole lives. They know the issues and they’ve got solutions. The goal is to get all of that information together to develop a municipal plan that builds a stronger city.
CAC-andrew

Andrew Miller

I grew up in the North End and the South End of Saint John but have lived in other cities – Halifax, Fredericton, Victoria, Bangor and Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My family and I live in the South End. I am a Senior Service Planner for Bell Aliant where I work to develop new services across the four Atlantic Provinces.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I grew up in low income housing and firmly believe that I owe my successes to those experiences. I believe strongly in our city and the potential that exists here and I would like to give back to the community.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

In meeting with citizens I hope we will gather many fresh and innovative viewpoints and engage in many constructive conversations.
CAC-derek

Derrick Mitchell

I am a lifelong resident of the City and currently live on the West side. I am an Environmental Scientist at Fundy Engineering.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I have always seen the potential in this City. I feel this is an opportunity of a lifetime to affect change. I want this City to prosper; to become a great City in which to live and work. In the past I have seen many of my generation reluctantly leave Saint John out of economic necessity. This is changing and I wanted to be a part of it.
 

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I hope we provide a unique and practical perspective and a focus on sustainable development.
CAC-Sarah

Sara Mudge, P.Eng

I am a young professional who loves to live, work and play in our city and its surrounding areas.  Currently a West Sider, I grew up in Martinon but have also lived in other Saint John communities including Uptown and the North End. 

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

Saint John has a lot of potential for growth and diversity but we need to make sure we are ready for it by upgrading our infrastructure and knowing how and where we want to see change. Progress should happen in a way that encourages families and businesses to grow with us, is respectful of our neighborhoods and the environment, and is sustainable and will benefit the quality of life for our citizens in years to come. 

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

Saint Johners should have a say in how they want the city to look and feel and how they’d like to see their community grow over the next 25 years.  The CAC will play an important role in ensuring that comments and feedback given by citizens is properly captured and incorporated into the new Municipal Plan.  I hope that the CAC will be able to provide good insight to City staff and the project committee, and that we help create a process whereby everyone who chooses to provide input has the opportunity to be heard and will recognize the output of the process as a citizen driven plan.  

CAC_heatherQuinn_web

Heather Quinn

I was born and raised on the west side of the city, attending St. Rose School and then on to St. Vincent’s High School. I attended UNBSJ before completing my degree in Civil Engineering at UNB Fredericton. I currently live in Millidgeville with my husband and have been a Policy Advisor with the Department of Energy since 2004. I support the live music community and arts and culture this city has to offer.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I strongly believe in the long term, sustainable planning of the City and feel it needs to evolve to keep up with the challenges it is facing - from changing demographics to urban sprawl. I wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity of the City’s evolution and hopefully contribute something towards its future successes. I feel I am in a good position in my life to contribute to a sustainable plan that will see the City through the next 25 years.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I hope the CAC will represent the greater community from all walks of life and that through its representation, we will work to take advantage of all of the opportunities on the horizon and find solutions and common ground for problems facing the City of Saint John over the next 25 years.
CAC-Shawn

Shawn Peterson

I was born, raised, and educated in Saint John and live with my wife on Saint John’s East Side.  I work in the information technology sector, at T4G Limited.
 

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

I believe that there has never been a better opportunity for residents to have their ideas and concerns heard, documented, and debated as part of this process. Now is the time for people to focus on their hopes and dreams for this community, and it’s up to us, as members of the Citizens Advisory committee, to make sure that the community is heard throughout this process.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I hope to engage as many people in the municipal planning process as possible – especially the younger demographic, who will grow up and be directly affected by the decisions made by the residents today. Now is the time for your voice to be heard – and I will be there to help make that happen!
CAC-anneC

Ann Crozier

I have lived in Saint John my whole life, and I love this city. Since retiring several years ago from the federal Veteran Affairs Department, I have spent my time volunteering with local charitable organizations including Meals on Wheels and the Romero House.

Why did you apply to be a member of the citizen advisory committee (CAC)?

The municipal plan presents a wonderful opportunity to make changes in Saint John. I would like to make sure that the needs of those with disabilities are directly represented on a council with influence.

What do you hope the CAC will achieve as part of the process?

I hope that the CAC will serve as a strong voice for the whole community, getting the needs of all Saint Johners included in the Municipal Plan.