Integration of Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: A Provincial Perspective
‘Made in BC’ Educational Approach
At the Beyond the Guidebook Seminar, Chris Jensen, Ministry of Community Services, explained the regulatory and legal framework in a presentation titled Integration of Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure: The Province’s Perspective. His presentation was structured in two parts: Education; Financial Incentives.
“In BC, we have come to the realization that prescriptive approaches stifle innovation. By telling people how far they must go, that’s as far as they go. They don’t go much beyond what is required for an approval. This is the story that we are hearing from people in Washington State,” stated Chris Jensen.
”In BC, the approach that we are taking is to set the goal. As a result, we are seeing people in local governments leapfrogging each other to see how close they can get to the goal,” continued Jensen, “Our observation is that people are not stopping at the numbers on the page and saying ‘well, we have met that criterion’. Rather, they are often going above and beyond what is required.”
Jensen added that the Province made a conscious decision to create change through practitioner education, and after a decade this approach is now paying dividends.
A Road Map for Leveraging Change
After providing the audience with the highlights and examples of provincial grant program, Chris Jensen then described how the Ministry is using the Green Communities Initiative to advance green infrastructure province-wide.
“We are slowly raising the bar for local government,” stated Jensen, “For example, we are saying show us what you are doing to protect stream health.”
Jensen also emphasized that the Ministry is providing cash awards to recognize the efforts of local governments in achieving design with nature outcomes.
In his closing remarks, Chris Jensen made it clear to his audience that: “In terms of providing you with a road map, today’s expectations are the standards of tomorrow. At the Ministry of Community Services, we believe that change for the better will be created through the combination of education and financial incentives.”
To Learn More:
To read the complete story about the presentation by Chris Jensen, click on Integration of Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: The Province’s Perspective.
Original story posted on the Green Infrastructure Community-of-Interest in December 2007.