Meet Our Team

Cornerstone maintains a compact team of reliable core planners with experience in multi-disciplinary backgrounds including urban and rural planning, engineering, social and environmental sciences, architecture, business, economic development, and community engagement. Our teams broad set of skills enable us to operate creatively in a wide variety of project and organizational contexts. We maintain offices in both Vancouver and Victoria.

Our Partners

Cornerstone Partners have decades of experience in strategic planning and Indigenous engagement. Because we take responsibility for maintaining high quality standards and effective customer service, each Partner plays an active and central role in all projects. We share a commitment to thorough analysis, effective consultation, innovative problem solving, and viable frameworks for moving forward. Our many repeat clients are a testament to the success of our philosophy and approach.


David Hill

David Hill has more than 20 years experience in project management, program development, evaluation, facilitation and communications, across BC and Western Canada. David has worked with more than 20 Aboriginal organizations and Communities, provincial government agencies and private companies, with an emphasis on finding collaborative ways to achieve success as defined by each group.

David facilitates engagement and consultation activities between First Nations, government and industry, leading a path to mutual benefits and success for all involved.

David holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria and professional training in project management and public speaking.


Melanie Roskell

Melanie has a background in systems design engineering. Her experience in strategic and facility planning spans industries and geographies, specializing in complex multi-user systems such as healthcare and mixed-use facilities. Melanie’s focus on functional requirements drives her to deeply understand client and user needs to form solutions that are strategic, comprehensive, and implementable. Using practiced analytical methods, problem-solving skills, and project management expertise, she works closely with clients to realize their goals while keeping the strategic vision forefront.

Melanie holds a Masters of Science from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo (systems design engineering).


Quentin Talbot-Kelly

Quentin’s experience ranges from mechanical design and project engineering to project management and leading multi-disciplined teams. His experience in industrial construction exposed him to the complete scope of requirements to successfully execute projects from start to finish. With a strong focus on client relationships, he is committed to working as a team to deliver concise, valuable deliverables.

Quentin attended the University of Ottawa and holds a Bachelors in Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering. He is registered with Professional Engineers of Ontario, Engineer in Training.

Partner Emeritus

David Whetter

David Whetter has a career that spans 40+ years which brings a unique approach to organizational development and strategic planning. David works with organizations in various sectors as well as and municipal, regional and federal governments. As Partner Emeritus, David leads select project engagements and provides oversight to firm strategy and development. David strives to deliver innovative and viable strategies that are continually evolving to take advantage of advances in technology and process management concepts.

David holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Masters in International Business. He has LEAN accreditation and is a member of Arts Consultants Canada.

Our Associates

Each of our Associates has specific skills and expertise based on their varied educational backgrounds and work experience. Because our planning projects are strategic in nature, all our team members must be able to take on responsibility for particular aspects of the work, while functioning as an integral part of the team. As a result, all our Associates are at an intermediate to senior professional level, which ensures high quality outcomes and deliverables.


Holly Alyea

Holly has over ten years of planning experience with university, college, library and government groups and organizations throughout British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. This experience has provided her with in-depth and practical knowledge around successful public participation processes, strategic communications and spatial analysis.

Holly’s proficiency at master planning, and the resolution of complex relationships between people, spaces, functions, and design, into often intricate frameworks for implementation, is well regarded.

With LEED AP, and Lean Certification, Holly adds another level of analysis to her work by applying a sustainability and process efficacy lens to her planning palette.


Natasha Sischka

Natasha is a senior consultant at Cornerstone Planning Group. She is a seasoned strategist with over a decade of experience in business improvement, process engineering, evaluation, and complex project management. She has led planning, redesign, and systemic change projects in sensitive and highly visible environments, finding innovation and opportunity through authentic qualitative engagement and refined outcome and financial modelling. She has experience leading projects across a wide range of public sector portfolios, including healthcare, municipal government operations, public safety, recreation, child protection, among others. Natasha is a true “people person” and a natural facilitator, skilled in bringing diverse perspectives and objectives into alignment.
Senior Associate

Dacia Douhaibi

Dacia has ten years of experience providing support to organizations and companies in strategic planning, programme development, monitoring and evaluation, grant management, research, business plan development and developing curricula for educational programmes. She has worked with both domestic and international non-profit and/or non-governmental organizations, particularly in community development with indigenous communities in Canada and in peace and stabilization, humanitarian interventions and education in East Africa.

Dacia is also doctoral candidate at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include impacts of land reform, the relationship between development and transitions in livelihoods and forced migration, and the processes of territorialization that accompany the challenges of state-building in a new country. Dacia’s areas of academic specialization are political ecology, political geography and forced migration.


Natasha Kappell

With more than eight years of experience working with public and Indigenous communities across Canada in roles ranging from treaty negotiations to regulatory consultation, Natasha understands the complexities and challenges of effective engagement and knows how to navigate parties with differing interests to find common ground.
Natasha is a member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and sat on the Advisory Committee which provided recommendations to IAP2 Canada to explore how Indigenous inclusion could be integrated into the IAP2 program.
Natasha graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science, with distinction, in Geography and Environmental Studies.
Senior Associate

Shannon Lambie

Shannon is a Registered Professional Planner and member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. Her professional experience spans higher education institutions, provincial government, local government, and non-profit organizations.

Shannon's work is driven by her natural curiosity and passion for engagement and community development. With a strong and versatile skillset, she is adept at managing complex projects across multiple levels of government, as well as with various organizations and institutions. She is committed to inclusive and equitable planning approaches that prioritize diverse communities' needs and perspectives. As a skilled communicator, Shannon effectively collaborates with stakeholders to achieve her clients' goals while keeping the strategic objectives in sight.

Senior Associate

Veronica Ardila Vernaza

Veronica is an architect & urban law specialist who holds a Masters of Engineering Leadership in Urban Systems (MEL) from the University of British Columbia. She has over ten years of international experience working in both private and public sectors in urban planning, community engagement and urban policy review, development, and analysis.

Veronica’s strong leadership and group management skills in multidisciplinary processes help her to coordinate and develop successful and thorough urban policies and regulations for the development of large urban infrastructure projects as well as multi-use developments. She has developed several Master Plans, Community Plans and Land Use and Urban Impact analysis for diverse organizations. Veronica has strong creative problem-solving skills and comprehensive and collaborative team-oriented attributes, that she brings to every project.


Alec Young

Alec is a planning professional with a double major in Environmental Studies and Geography and post-graduate studies in Applied Urban Planning. Through his work, Alec demonstrates knowledge of urban spatial structure and the way in which facilities and their sited environments work. He understands the social and environmental impact of planning decisions on user groups and local communities, working to articulate planning issues to a wide variety of audiences. Alec solves problems using a balance of technical competence, creativity, and pragmatism. He excels in interdisciplinary teams that build consensus strategies, and integrates multiple perspectives and ideas while meeting tight project deadlines.

Jonathan Mak

Jonathan is a planning professional with a Master of Planning in Urban Development and a B.A. in Geography (Environment & Sustainability). He has experience working on a variety of projects with the public sector and non-profits, including arts and culture planning, housing policy, supportive housing, and active transportation. With his experience working on projects with very different sets of needs in different communities, he is adept at tackling complex projects, understanding the differing needs and nature of every project, and using a data-informed approach to find solutions.

Jonathan is skilled in data interpretation and analysis, community engagement, report-writing, data visualization, and project coordination. He is passionate about finding creative solutions to complex problems and finding ways to communicate ideas in easily understandable ways.


Linda Zacek

Linda has over 18 years of experience coordinating and collaborating with government, industry, and First Nations staff and representatives to develop the best methods for producing the various reports, documents, and records they require. She is an experienced resource manager, records keeper/compiler, and desktop publisher with an extensive background in data analysis, process management, and building of presentations, storyboards, newsletters, and other print material.

Linda is proficient in researching and fact-checking information to ensure the content is not only accurate but is also in a format that is accessible to the target reader. Throughout every project she ensures that the information and documents generated are produced in a concise and understandable format and professionally edited and designed.


MacKenzie Schmidt

MacKenzie is a community planning professional with a B.A. in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s degree in Indigenous Community Planning from UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning. MacKenzie is an experienced communicator and public engagement expert, with a history of working effectively with a diverse range of people and community groups. Throughout her past experience, she has created connections with over 30 community stakeholders and rights-holders, including various Indigenous communities and First Nations across Ontario and British Columbia.

MacKenzie’s work experience is wide-ranging, including the development of province-wide marketing initiatives, the creation of blog posts, educational and staff-training materials, social media content creation, and Ontario Parks brand review. MacKenzie also supported and led localized park and zone projects and planning initiatives, such as the creation and implementation of a brand new interpretive educational program across Ontario Parks Algonquin Zone, the creation and piloting of the Ontario Parks pass library lending program, and the completion of an accessibility initiative to make all park facilities and services at Bonnechere Provincial Park accessible.


Sean Montgomery

Sean has a strong background in methodical and analytical studies providing him with effective technical skills. He excels at data management by implementing planning principals to data collection and report writing, he is able to refine large data sets to allow for simple extraction. He is able to combine his education, practical skills, and passions in the workplace to become a driven and efficient professional.

Sean holds a diploma in Architectural Technologies, bachelors in Urban and Regional Studies, and post degree diploma in Applied Urban Planning.

Canine Associate


Carmen is originally from Mexico and joined the team as our second Canine Associate in 2020. She loves her fluffy bed and long bike rides into the office.
Canine Associate


Cleo may be the youngest Canine Associate; however, she brings enthusiasm and dedication to the role that only a Bernese Mountain Dog/Australian Shepard could. Cleo loves the walk into the office, treats, and her fellow associates (human and canine).
Canine Associate


Maisie is a Bernese Mountain Dog, and our first canine associate. Giver of snuggles and eater of treats, she brings the office an adorable vitality.

Our Affiliates

Cornerstone has developed and maintains ongoing collaborative relationships with a number of highly qualified and experienced professionals in a variety of fields. We incorporate these independent consultants into our project teams to provide our clients with the most effective and relevant expertise while remaining cost-effective. The following selected colleagues illustrate the range of expertise available.

First Nations Consultation

John Kafka

John Kafka has been involved in planning for 35 years, focusing on community development, business planning and consultation. He has extensive experience working on community development initiatives for First Nations Communities. John leads a well-rounded team that provides services to private and government clients who wish to consult or enhance their relationships with First Nations Communities.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in Political Science. John is certified in conflict resolution and is an accomplished facilitator with invaluable dispute resolution skills.

Business Planning, Strategy Development

Paul Mittal

Paul has 24 years of experience in Business Planning & Strategy Development, Portfolio, Project, and Change Management, Operational and Process Improvement, and Financial modeling. Having led high-profile projects in both the private and public sectors, Paul is skilled at guiding organizations through periods of change.

Paul excels at improving business processes, analyzing problems to identify opportunities for improvements, and innovating through creative ideas and thought leadership. He facilitates executive teams in drafting tolling plans for the Port Mann Bridge to satisfy consumer, municipal, financial, and political stakeholders. He has also managed numerous projects for the Fraser Health Authority, including a new Critical Care Tower, and a Provincial Ebola Unit. His diverse knowledge in various contexts contributes to his versatility on each project.

Fire Services Consultant

James Cook

Jim Cook is an experienced professional with over 38 years experience in the Fire Service. He has extensive knowledge in budget analysis, labour relations, Council and community relations, strategic planning, executive leadership, project management and organizational change.

During his successful career with the City of New Westminster’s Fire Department, Jim was promoted to the position of Deputy Chief. His roles and responsibilities included administration, annual operating and capital budgets, communications, human resources, emergency operations and facility maintenance including oversight of the construction phase of a new fire hall in 2001 – 2002.
In 2008, Jim was appointed to the position of Fire Chief in the District of West Vancouver Fire Department. During his 6-year term, he was a member of the senior management committee responsible for leading the analysis, planning and design of a shared fire/police facility. Over a few years during the planning stages for shared facility, Jim worked closely with Cornerstone Planning Group who directed the functional planning and feasibility study. After retiring from the fire service in 2015, Jim became an independent planning consultant. He also serves as an instructor of fire officer development at the Justice Institute of BC. In 2018, Jim was part of a Cornerstone Team that prepared a Master Plan for the Poundmaker Edmonton Fire Rescue Service (EFRS) Training Site in Edmonton, Alberta as well as a Functional Program for the on-site Training Academy.

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