Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

John Ariens RPP, MCIP

Upon graduating from Mohawk College in 1974 with a Diploma in Community Planning John started his planning career as a Planning Technician with the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo. This provided him with the ability to attend the University of Waterloo as a part time student and within a few years he obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree. Armed with a degree he then obtained senior planning positions with the Region of Haldimand Norfolk and the City of Stoney Creek.

After 12 years of Public Sector Planning John joined a private consulting firm in Kitchener called Planning Initiatives. He soon became a partner and Vice President and with his contacts in the Stoney Creek/Hamilton area he opened their Hamilton branch in 1988. Private consulting together with a strong design background allowed John to practice his overall planning philosophy that no matter what the situation there is always a design solution. In 2007 their firm merged with the IBI Group and John continues to practice in the Hamilton area and is an Associate Director and Practice Lead.  The Hamilton office has grown significantly and now boasts a 45-member staff compliment and is now the largest planning practice in all of the IBI Groups offices. This growth is in part due to Johns overall corporate philosophy of “treating others as you want to be treated: with respect and fairness”.

John’s passion is affordable housing and heritage preservation. He sat on the Board of a municipal housing provider and more recently was a Director and Chair of the Hamilton Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Under John’s leadership Hamilton Habitat built some 29 homes, acquired 4 new properties and is now poised to partner in a major waterfront redevelopment which would see Habitat securing some 65 new affordable housing units. He is a subscriber member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals and sat on a municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.  Together with his wife Victoria they restored one of the oldest pioneer farm houses in Kitchener and these efforts were duly recognized by receiving the Mike Wagner Award for outstanding Heritage restoration.

John is an active Member of OPPI and currently assists with both Exam and PLAR reviews.  He also sponsors and mentors’ planners wishing to become full members and frequently contributes to local seminars, workshops and conferences. A recognized “expert” in planning matters John has also provided planning advice and assistance in over 250 OMB/LPAT Hearings, the Courts and other Tribunals. He is also the former Chair of the Mohawk Community Planning Advisory Committee and his work supporting Planning Technicians has resulted in an Honorary Lifetime Membership to CACPT.

John and his wife Victoria of 46 years reside in Kitchener. They have two children Katherine and David and enjoy time with their 4 grand kids. John has no immediate plans to retire as in his own words:
“I have great clients, great projects and a great staff to work with, I’m simply having too much fun to consider stopping or even slowing down!”