Metro Vancouver Reference Panel recommends alignment of local actions with provincial and regional goals
Implementation – Move from Commitment to Action
In their Final Report to the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committtee in July 2009, the Reference Panel included three recommendations under the theme area Implementation – Move from Commitment to Action.
“No matter how good the Plan is, for its vision and goals to be achieved it needs to be accompanied by strong political leadership and commitment (political, financial, staff and public support),” states the report. Recommendation #19 addressed the need for, and the value of, an educationally-based regional team approach:
WHY – The Rationale for the Action
In making this recommendation, the Reference Panel highlighted that “experience has shown that success in implementation is maximized when you achieve broad understanding and alignment among all relevant stakeholders”. The Reference Panel also pointed out that a regional capacity-building program could be defined by this theme:
Examples that Inform Policy
In A Recommended Policy Framework for Liquid Resource Management in Metro Vancouver, the Reference Panel reported that Metro Vancouver and other regions are learning from each other; and that the 2005 REAC Consultation Workshop was the genesis for:
- Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Metro Vancouver: The 2006 Series was the pilot for a program implemented on both sides of the Georgia Basin in 2007, and continued in the Capital Regional District in 2008.
- Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminars: The 2008 Series was the provincial pilot for linking Living Water Smart to green infrastructure outcomes, and led to a regional team approach for applying legal, policy and technical tools that result in integrated solutions.
- 2009 Metro Vancouver Green Infrastructure Forum hosted by the City of Surrey adapted Vancouver Island lessons learned and introduced the regional team approach so that Metro Vancouver can move beyond pilot projects to a watershed objectives approach.
Regional Team Approach Explained
In their Final Report, the Reference Panel explained that a regional team approach is founded on broad and inclusive partnerships and collaboration that reach for the common goal of sustainability. In short, all the players set their sights on the common good and challenge the old barriers of jurisdictional interests. To achieve the common good, this ultimately requires bringing together:
- Local government – those who plan and regulate land use;
- Developers – those who build;
- The Province – those who provide the legislative framework;
- Universities and colleges – those who provide research; and
- The stewardship sector – those who advocate conservation of resources.
‘Hands across the Georgia Basin’
“Metro Vancouver experience has informed the Convening for Action on Vancouver Island program, known by the acronym CAVI. Vancouver Island is the pilot region for a multi-year commitment and precedent-setting approach to regional team-building through collaboration,” states Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, and Chair of the Reference Panel.
“CAVI has successfully implemented the vision and work plan that were the outcomes of the 2005 REAC Green Infrastructure Consultation Workshop, hosted by the City of Surrey. In particular, CAVI adapted the experience gained from Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Metro Vancouver: The 2006 Series.”
“The showcasing approach enables host local governments to tell their stories and share their experiences in a way that no other forum currently provides. In 2007, showcasing series were held on both sides of the Georgia Basin.”
“Success in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island in 2007 provided the springboard for the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series. Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative provided context that framed the learning outcomes.”
“The Series helped local government representatives conceptualize why a consistent approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure is needed and what it means regionally. This evolved into the regional team approach.”
2009 Metro Vancouver Green Infrastructure Forum
The Vancouver Island experience informed the design of the Metro Vancouver Forum in March 2009, which was:
- hosted by the City of Surrey;
- jointly organized by the Green Infrastructure Partnership and the Inter-Governmental Water Balance Model Partnership;
- funded in part by Environment Canada; and
- undertaken as an outreach opportunity for Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative.
The Start of a Dialogue
“The ‘Surrey Forum’ was designed to start a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers,” reports Vincent Lalonde, the City’s General Manager, Engineering.
“The Forum program was built around the HOW question as it pertains to green infrastructure: HOW will the City of Surrey ensure it gets built right; HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver?”
“We approached the forum design from a shared responsibility perspective. We explored how policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to ensure responsible outcomes.”
Moving Beyond Pilot Projects
“The vision of the partner organizations is that the ‘Surrey Forum’ will be the catalyst for additional regional forums that would be organized in collaboration with the ‘new SILG’ pursuant to the Reference Panel’s Recommendation #6,” states Kim Stephens.
- Recommendation #6: Mandate a renamed and ‘new SILG’ (Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group) to spearhead a regional team approach to develop policy, legal and technical tools that will enable ‘integrated solutions’ for rainwater management, green infrastructure and integrated resource recovery.
“This outcome would in turn lead to a consistent region-wide approach to integration pursuant to the Reference Panel’s Recommendation #7 – an approach which would be modelled on the 2009 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series.”
- Recommendation #7: Implement a consistent region-wide approach to neighbourhood (re)development and building design that integrates rainwater management, green infrastructure and integrated resource recovery.
“Because the Metro Vancouver region has a decade of experience in implementing green infrastructure, lessons learned about how to influence behaviour can also inform the region’s approach to Integrated Resource Recovery.”
To Learn More:
To learn more about the partnership vision, click on a Joint Statement on Moving Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watershed Objectives Approach