Vivi Chi to take helm as interim Ottawa official responsible for building permits and planning

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Vivi Chi will take responsibility for the City of Ottawa department responsible for planning, building permits and economic development effective on Jan. 2.

Chi, a civil engineer whose career started in the construction industry, replaces Don Herweyer, interim general manager of Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development, city manager Wendy Stephanson wrote in a memo on Tuesday (Dec. 11). Chi will continue as interim general manager until a permanent PRED general manager is announced “to ensure a seamless leadership transition.”

Herweyer is retiring at the end of the year, concluding his 36 year career.

“Since August 2022, he has successfully led the team in PRED to advance transformative files that will shape Ottawa’s future including the Official Plan, the Transportation Master Plan and Climate Change Master Plan,” Stephenson wrote.

“Throughout the past 18 months, Don has brought stability to the department by working closely with his leadership team to navigate multiple provincial legislative announcements that have led to unprecedented changes to how the department functions. Don has successfully led the department through two budgets, further provincial changes to the Official Plan, work on the new Zoning and Development Charges by-law, Lansdowne 2.0 and the Community Improvement Plan review.”

Chi has more than 35 years of experience in municipal government, beginning with the former Region of Ottawa-Carleton, then the amalgamated City of Ottawa, Stephanson wrote.

“Vivi is a seasoned leader within the organization having served in several senior management roles including most recently as Director of Transportation Planning and as Associate General Manager (AGM) of PRED from 2021 to 2022. As AGM, Vivi had the opportunity to strengthen the core leadership skills and competencies required of a GM.

“Vivi excels in challenges and has led many high-profile city-building initiatives such as the West Transitway Extension, the O-Train pilot project, the Corktown Bridge, the Laurier Bike Lanes, Churchill Avenue and the City’s first Transportation Master Plan. These projects and others have won several provincial and national awards for innovation and design excellence.”

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