Meet Our New Vice President of Regional Planning
Arnie Stefaniuk, one of Genesis Land’s longest-serving team members, has a new role at the company.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to envisioning, planning and ultimately building a new community — it’s not an easy endeavour, but it sure is a rewarding one. Thankfully, we have a large team of qualified and passionate people who are deeply committed to turning imagined communities into vibrant reality. Among them is Arnie Stefaniuk, who, this past June, was named Vice President, Regional Planning at Genesis Land.
Originally from Saskatoon, and a civil engineer by trade, Stefaniuk initially joined the Genesis Land team in 1999 when he came onboard as Manager of Engineering. Since then, he has held a variety of key positions within the company, including that of Vice President, Land Development. In his latest role, Stefaniuk will lead engagements with public officials while also overseeing the conceptualization of new communities and planning their rollout.
“My focus now will be on communities that don’t exist yet, that are a piece of raw land,” says Stefaniuk. “I’ll be helping our team envision what the project should look like, getting it to a certain point in the planning process and then passing it over to our land development group.”
Among the new Genesis Land communities currently in the planning process are Huxley, Lewiston and Logan Landing — all three of which are based in Calgary and will be overseen by Stefaniuk.
“The way I see it, I’m a member of a great team, and I offer my input and listen to what all the other team members say, and together, we come up with the best community designs,” he says.
Here, Stefaniuk talks more about what goes into planning a Genesis Land community and gives us a glimpse into what homebuyers can expect in the new Calgary communities on the horizon.
Q. What are the first steps in conceptualizing and planning a new community for Genesis Land?
A. Everyone can do it differently, but the way I start is by going out and really looking at a piece of land that’s available. Then, this might sound a bit weird, but I’ll walk the land and let it speak to me. For me, that begins a process of finding the sweet spots on that particular property and making them shine. I look for the attributes that the land has and then attempt to bring those to the forefront. It’s really about working with the land.
Q. Can you give an example of how you let the land guide your decisions?
A. At Genesis Land, we believe that Mother Nature is by far the best sculptor of the land. I know other [developers] might prefer to basically make a flat tabletop, but Genesis takes the exact opposite road: if there’s a hill, it’s there to be honoured. We won’t knock it down, because the hill gives terrific views, the hill adds a third dimension. And that third dimension, that vertical component, is one of the most important attributes of a community.
Q. What’s another feature Genesis Land likes to highlight in its communities?
A. There’s one thing that tends to form the backbone of each of our communities, and that’s taking the stormwater management facility and making it a drawing card instead of something to be put off to the side. This is something that others might see as a challenge, but Genesis Land views it as an opportunity.
Q. How so?
A. Well, we’re on the prairies here, and water is gold on the prairies. People are naturally attracted to being close to the water’s edge, so we always aim to make the stormwater pond a nice place to gather. From there we tend to build out a variety of other amenities depending on what’s available to us, what the land will give us.
Q. What do you see as one of the main, modern-day benefits of building new communities?
A. As we move forward as a society and we’re watching our greenhouse gas emissions, I think it’s only in the new builds that we can give people the ability to attain their personal carbon footprint goals. We can do things like beef up the electrical distribution system before anybody lives in a community, so that everybody in the neighbourhood can have an EV charging station. We can also mandate within our architectural controls the ability for a homeowner to have renewable energy options installed in their house. To do that in an existing neighbourhood can be extremely cost prohibitive, so this is where the new communities can really step up. For the next few communities we’re planning for Calgary, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Q. What’s the key to building a community that will gel and thrive?
A. Be passionate about what you’re doing, because that way, you’ll put your heart and soul into making something that people will find special. My operating philosophy is to keep in mind, always, that it’s not just about the home you live in, it’s where you live.