This content originally appeared in Capital Magazine.
During the course of his career in public service, Tobi Nussbaum has had the unique perspective of both working on policy issues in a global context, and advancing them from a local perspective. And, says the former diplomat and city councillor, these experiences will hopefully serve him well in his new role as chief executive of the NCC.
Nussbaum, who had been city councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward since 2014, took the helm of the NCC — the chief planner and steward of federal lands and assets in the Capital — on February 4.
“I had an opportunity to understand the federal system and then an opportunity that introduced me to how cities work,” Nussbaum says of his previous work. “The NCC really sits, in some ways, in the middle of those two — a federal Crown corporation with, at times, municipal-like responsibilities.”
As a councillor, Nussbaum championed sustainable land use, planning and transportation, as well as transparency and accountability — all issues of immense relevance to the NCC as well.
This background will certainly be an asset in dealing with one of the largest files on his desk — relaunching the process to revive LeBreton Flats. While saying that the NCC will build on past processes and lessons learned, Nussbaum also wants to be clear that the NCC’s approach will be different from past efforts, starting with the timing of public engagement.
“There is no question we are really excited about the new process,” he says. “The public will have a role from the start in shaping the plan that will serve as the refreshed vision for the development of the 53-acre site.”
As an outdoors enthusiast, Nussbaum also brings to the job a deep understanding of the importance of what the NCC brings to the Capital.
“I’ve always been an active user of NCC assets as a cyclist, as a runner, as a cross-country skier and as a hiker. I always appreciated how lucky we were in the National Capital Region to live in a place where the NCC exists as steward of much land, forests, parks and pathways,” he says, adding that one of the attractions of his new job was “advancing the NCC’s value and its important role for the country and for the National Capital Region.”