icona in 2022: A year of challenges and breakthroughs


Greg Moore

No matter who you are or where you live, 2022 was a tumultuous year. The Ukraine invasion, the collapse of crypto, the Twitter takeover, a wave of layoffs, an Omicron surge, extreme weather events, and runaway interest rates are just a few of the upheavals we lived through in 12 short months.  

But big breakthroughs often emerge from times of crisis, and 2022 saw some truly inspiring events, too. NASA launched a telescope that brought the most distant galaxy yet into human view. Scientists made a game-changing breakthrough in nuclear fusion that could provide near-limitless clean energy. And Canada made a $350 million commitment to protecting global biodiversity.  

The year in review

Here at icona, we also used adversity as a springboard to better things. Along with many businesses, we had to reduce the size of our team and say goodbye to valued members. It was a difficult decision, but one that has enabled us to weather a significant market downturn and emerge stronger than ever. The new team is a powerhouse, coming together to accomplish groundbreaking work—quite literally, in the case of Ortus, which broke ground in April of this year. We are incredibly proud of this community, which is at the vanguard of a remarkable transformation of the West Side of Vancouver.

We are most proud of our efforts to engage, collaborate and learn from the people we create communities for. From the beginning, forging authentic relationships with our partners, friends and neighbours has been one of our core values, and in 2022, we doubled down on these activities. We participated in and sponsored community events such as the Vancouver Golf Club Women's Tournament and The Ugly Christmas Sweater Dash, and we helped to raise funds for local charities including Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, Port Moody Seniors Friendship Society, Covenant House Vancouver, and Act 2 Child and Family Services.  

The year ahead  

Looking ahead to 2023, our plan is to build on our strength in community engagement with two innovative focus groups. In January, we are holding a focus group to collect women's perspectives on a potential new community for Anmore South. After centuries of city planning based on the needs and physical proportions of men, progressive developers now recognize that representative input at the earliest planning stages is essential to create communities that are inclusive, diverse, safe and accessible.  

We are also holding a focus group for children to find out what matters most to them about the communities they live in. What's most exciting about this initiative is that these young participants could be among the first to move into the new community in the years to come, whereas in today’s Anmore, where the average home price is nearly $2 million, they have little hope of doing so.

Lessons learned

This was a year for making hard decisions, a year for getting things done and moving things forward, but above all, a year for learning some important lessons. Here are a few that top the list for us.

We are all interconnected

From the beginning, icona recognized the link between our local communities and the wider world. Our core values include a definition of community that includes the environment and climate change, and we prioritize sustainable approaches to placemaking. This year drove home just how interdependent the local and the global really are, as events thousands of miles away created ripples that affected all of us in profound ways.  

We all have a role to play

icona believes in development that balances the needs of the local community with a responsibility to embrace density and welcome new residents. This year, a renewed commitment at the federal and provincial level to welcome immigrants to B.C. has given us a clear directive in terms of building communities that increase housing, support inclusivity, and creates the robust tax base our region needs to thrive. We are proud to be part of the solution, working side by side with community residents in finding solutions to Metro Vancouver's ongoing housing crisis.  

We are stronger and better together

This year showed us where our greatest strengths lie. Our commitment to collaboration, especially our work to foster community consultation, input and brainstorming, resulted in ideas and solutions that we couldn't have come up with on our own. Bringing diverse experiences and perspectives together has enhanced our creativity, expanded our horizons and helped us design communities that reflect the lifestyles and priorities of the people they are built for.  

There is no doubt that the year ahead will bring more challenges. Here in Metro Vancouver, we will continue to grapple with the effects of climate change, a growing population and a lack of housing options. At icona, we feel ready to build on the lessons we learned in 2022 to build even better neighbourhoods and be good neighbours on both a local and global scale.  

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