Meridian Partners

About Us

Nick McDonald, RPP is the President of Meridian Planning Consultants and has been a Planning Consultant since 1989. Much of Nick's work throughout his career has been for the public sector and he has prepared a number of Official Plans, Secondary Plans, Strategic Plans, Zoning By-laws and Land Use Studies for numerous municipalities. He has also provided advice to over 40 municipalities in his career and has from time to time provided advice to the Province of Ontario. Nick has also been retained by landowners to manage complex development approval processes and by ratepayer groups who were looking to participate in planning process.

Nick has often been called upon to lead complex projects and is well known for his public speaking skills and strategic thinking abilities. Nick is also an accomplished writer and has the ability to translate complex policies and regulations into something more understandable and relatable.

Nick has a keen interest in all types of geographies and has continuously thought of how they evolve and change sometimes almost on a daily basis. Nick was born in Montreal and spent much of his youth exploring every corner of that great city. He has been living in the Toronto area for the past 30 years and has travelled extensively throughout the Province as part of his practice and has come to truly enjoy and respect its incredible diversity. Nick has also travelled to many places throughout North America and Europe and has seen how different geographies have evolved over time.

In all places visited, Nick is always attempting to relate one place to another to see how things are done differently and to understand why. In the end, there is a reason for why every public space is the way it is, for why buildings look the way they do and why cities and regions are organized the way they are. He also has a photographic memory when it comes to geography and spatial relationships. Lastly, he understands the complexities of making changes happen. In this regard, it is never easy and it often requires the generation of big ideas and grand visions at the start that then get implemented incrementally over time.

Alison Luoma, RPP has been a Senior Planner at Meridian Planning Consultants since early 2021. Alison has over 25 years of experience as a Professional Planner. Over that time, she has gained a breadth of planning experience particularly in relation to policy planning, municipal planning, specialized planning studies, research, planning litigation, and expropriations. Ms. Luoma has provided planning services to government agencies, municipalities, school boards, non-profit organizations, landowners, and large corporations.

With respect to policy planning, Ms. Luoma has provided planning analysis, research and advice on policy development and implementation to many public and private sector clients. She has acted for numerous municipalities throughout the Province of Ontario. In some instances, this was to provide a policy response to a specific planning issue such as urban growth and intensification, affordable housing, heritage buildings and districts, commercial hierarchies, employment land policy structures, intermodal transportation hubs and sustainability. Ms. Luoma also has extensive experience in both writing and interpreting zoning regulations. This includes drafting new Comprehensive Zoning By-laws, preparation of zoning advisory papers, providing technical assistance to municipalities undertaking in-house zoning projects, and the assessment of proposed zoning regulations on behalf of private sector clients.

Ms. Luoma has extensive experience in providing planning and strategic advice, opinions and authoring numerous Witness Statements for cases being heard under the Ontario Planning Act, Expropriations Act, Partitions Act and Assessment Act. Ms. Luoma has also provided planning services to numerous expropriation cases being heard before the former Ontario Municipal Board (now Local Ontario Land Tribunal) and the National Energy Board. This includes expropriations for municipal waterfront redevelopment projects, school board properties, energy from waste facilities, regional and local road corridors, as well as numerous 400 series highway projects and natural gas pipelines. As a very specific niche within the planning field, it has been Ms. Luoma’s role to work closely with appraisers and legal counsel to undertake in-depth policy analysis and research, prepare forensic chronologies, planning opinions and evidence for cases being heard under the Expropriations Act.

Alison is currently working on a number of expropriation files with a variety of lawyers and appraisers and is also working on Comprehensive Zoning By-law updates for the City of Sarnia and the Town of Penetanguishene.

Toula Theocharidis, RPP has been a Senior Planner at Meridian Planning Consultants since 2018 and before then worked as a Development Planner for 10 years at the Region of Peel and then at the City of Brampton.

As a Development Planner at the City of Brampton and at the Region of Peel, her work responsibilities consisted of project managing various complex development applications. In this regard, she has worked with municipal staff, agencies, consultants, developers and the public to work through various challenges and reach acceptable solutions on numerous development projects. In this role, she was also responsible for coordinating the review and circulation of plans to interdepartmental staff and external agencies, collecting and analyzing comments, making recommendations and preparing reports. She is knowledgeable in interpreting planning legislation, policy documents, plans and technical drawings.

Toula's specialty is working on development review files for municipalities that do not have the resources in-house to manage an increasing number of planning applications. For Whitchurch-Stouffville in 2018, this included the processing of a range of minor to major development proposals for applications such as Zoning By-law Amendments, Official Plan Amendments, site plans and subdivision applications. As part of this role, she was responsible for circulating materials to departments and agencies for comment; coordinating and analysing comments; conducting research; attending and conducting site visits, preparing reports and recommendations; attending and making presentations at Development Review Team meetings and to Council; and, preparing implementation documents. Toula has also been responsible for a number of Plan of Subdivision and other files at the Town of Caledon in 2021 and she recently started reviewing a number of files for the City of Cambridge in 2021.