About Us


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The North Van Urban Forum is a coalition of residents, business owners, and community-minded individuals – united by a shared interest in transparent democracy and a love of North Vancouver.  The group was formed in response to the massive potential of the Lot 5 development at the foot of Lower Lonsdale, coming together to ensure that as a public site it be developed to its potential, and in consultation with the community.  While the future of Lot 5 and the Central Waterfront remains an important focus, NVUF has since widened its gaze.  The North Van Urban Forum has grown to become local champions of transparency, community oriented development, and meaningful civic engagement.

The North Van Urban Forum is open to all members of the public who are keen to get involved and to be a part of the conversation about how we want our community to look and feel.

Our directors and founding members:

Benjamin Woodyatt, President & Founding Member

Ben developed a passion for urban design and architecture after years of travelling the world and observing how other people live.  During his travels he was filing into mental storage all sorts of ideas for what makes exciting, vibrant public space.  Having put away his backpack and fallen into a more settled lifestyle in North Vancouver, Ben is keen to explore some of those ideas and to be an active part of the development of his community.  With a drive toward sustainable living, ecological awareness, and creating dynamic, liveable cities, Ben would like to see our neighbourhoods become pedestrian-scaled and walkable, and simply great places to be – whether as a resident or as a visitor.  Having immigrated to Canada from Australia in 2007, Ben lives and works on the North Shore.  Choosing to make his home in North Vancouver, Ben would like to see his adopted city live up to its extraordinary potential.  Through the North Van Urban Forum he would like to be a part of the creation of the next phase in North Van’s evolution.


Tyler Russell, Director & Founding Member

Tyler’s first encounters with The City of North Vancouver came in 2008/9 as he started to establish a cafe and art space in the heart of East Lower Lonsdale. With a majority of his art space’s exhibitions having been centered around and motivated by an interest in community development, urban concerns and new media he has been a vibrant participant in a number of community conversations concerning developments in North Vancouver generally and most pertinently regarding the Lower Lonsdale waterfront. A proud Lower Lonsdale curator and business owner he is primarily concerned with ensuring that the urban development in this community, he is so deeply invested in, proceeds in an honorable and transparent manner that builds community while paying utmost respect and honor to the public interests of this generation and the next.  He hopes the North Van Urban Forum can help address community concerns like these.

Kevin Lee, Founding Member

Kevin is a professional who works in Lower Lonsdale and wants to see the area develop into something truly scintillating.  He was drawn to our Lot 5 site by last years’ concerts on the new stage, the people friendly long pier and the towering cross-section of the hull – not something that every city has to work with!  Kevin wants to  see this precious piece of  publicly owned waterfront in the centre of this developing urban space come alive in a way that is awe inspiring and incredibly functional for a wide cross section of our community and those visitors who we know will come.


Sandra Grant, Founding Member

Born and raised in North Vancouver and a lifelong resident, Sandra Grant can’t imagine living anywhere else.  Her goal is to work with North Van Urban Forum to encourage citizen participation in creation of civic spaces in the City and specifically at the shipyard site at the waterfront.  Sandra has always had a close connection with the shipyard.  Her father, Jack Mitchell, started work in 1919 as an office boy at Burrard Dry Dock  and retired as dockmaster of the shipyard in 1970.  Sandra spent a teenage summer as an assistant in the blueprint department at the shipyard.  In a January, 2008, speech to North Vancouver City Council, she urged protection for the last remaining shipyard buildings which were facing demolition.  She has enjoyed spending time in great civic spaces in many cities around the globe and has high expectations for a prizewinning public space at the shipyard site.

Elena Giorgetti, Founding Member

Elena grew up in Italy and is a resident of Lower Lonsdale. She misses the cafes, piazzas, and the life of vibrant Italian towns. She is passionate about people and helping them achieve their full potential in their careers. Through the North Van Urban Forum Elena hopes to work with her neighbours and community to find a voice that will enable the North Shore to reach its full potential.


Marianne Ketchen, Founding Member

Marianne is a rooted lower Lonsdale resident and a long term employee of a local post-secondary institution on the North Shore.  She is a recognized activist through her many and varied volunteered positions both past and present within the LoLo community. Marianne believes in the future of Lower Lonsdale and is very supportive of a public consultation in every step of any process.  She welcomes your involvement.


Amanda Nichol, Member

photoAmanda and her young family have been living in the City of North Vancouver since 2007. Her first encounter with the City of North Vancouver came with the Port Expansion project/Low Level Road and resulted in a run for City Council is 2011. Since then Amanda has become an active community advocate for  transparency , public consultation and collaboration in public processes. Amanda wants to urge each and every resident to become part of the conversation to keep it community centered and promote a feeling of pride and ownership in new developments and re-developing and shaping going on in our community. Amanda can be found in the gallery at council meetings most Monday nights.