Metro Vancouver Reference Panel applauds region’s “Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan”


Reference Panel Assessment presented to Metro Vancouver’s Waste Management Committee on November 23, 2009

In late November 2009, Metro Vancouver released the the final version of the region’s Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan; and the advisory Reference Panel presented their independent assessment to the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee.

To download a copy of the summary memorandum submitted by the Reference Panel, click on Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management: Reference Panel Assessment of Final Plan dated November 2009. The memorandum is organized in five parts:

  • Our Overall Assessment
  • What We Liked About the Plan
  • What Could Have Been Better
  • What Next
  • The LWMP Reference Panel Process, and Why It Worked

The memorandum supplements the Final Report on A Liquid Resource Management Plan for Metro Vancouver that the Reference Panel submitted in July 2009. The heart of the report is the three-page Table 1 which is titled A Recommended Policy Framework for Liquid Resource Management in Metro Vancouver.

Table 1 consolidates the Reference Panel’s 19 recommendations in a reader-friendly format, and is complete with on-the-ground examples that can help the region implement the Final Plan. Table 1 is paralleled by a document prepared by Metro Vancouver and titled LWMP Consultation: Reference Panel Recommendations and Metro Vancouver Responses

Overall Assessment

“There is alignment and consistency between the Reference Panel’s nineteen recommendations and the Final Plan,” stated Kim Stephens, Reference Panel Chair in reporting out to the Waste Management Committee, “And furthermore, the Surrey wbm forum - kim (120p)strategies and actions in the Final Plan reflect and/or incorporate our nineteen recommendations.”

“The Final Plan is a solid, well-written document; and most importantly, it is action-oriented. We applaud Metro Vancouver staff for a job well-done in providing clarity and integration.”

“Because the Final Plan is a regulatory document, this limits the extent to which it is able to ‘tell the story’. It therefore needs to be read in tandem with our July 2009 Final Report to create a picture of a desired outcome that will inspire people to strive for constant improvement – this is what we want our region to look like, and this is how we will get there.”

What the Reference Panel Liked About the Plan

Metro vancouver sustainability framework - cover (200p)“The Final Plan is an opportunity for Metro Vancouver to ‘get it right’, by promoting public and municipal leadership to take advantage of this opportunity. The Final Plan provides the means to translate the visionary Metro Vancouver Sustainability Framework into tangible actions on the ground,” continued Kim Stephens.

The Reference Panel Assessment singled out seven items for recognition. To learn more, click on What We Like About the Plan.

What the Reference Panel Believes Could Have Been Better

“The Final Plan is a good plan. Yet there are issues that we believe need to be highlighted so that their significance will be recognized. For the record, we wish to draw the attention of the Waste Management Committee to four items,” stated Kim Stephens. For details, click on What Could Have Been Better.

The ensuing conversation with the Waste Management Committee focussed on the timelines for replacement of the Lions Gate and Iona sewage treatment plants.

“We are looking to senior governments to demonstrate their shared responsibility and commitment by providing fair and equitable cost-sharing so that both can be replaced sooner rather than later, and preferably no later than 2020,” emphasized Kim Stephens.

“In our view, implementation of the Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent creates an obligation on the part of the senior governments to step up to the plate and fulfil their social and environmental responsibilities.”

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What Next

“The members of the Reference Panel believe it is essential that the Reference Panel Final Report (July 2009) and the Final Plan (November 2009) go forward as a combined package because our Final Report provides necessary context for the Final Plan,” urged Kim Stephens.

This suggested action in treating the two as ‘companion documents’ was endorsed by various members of the Waste Management Committee, in particular West Vancouver Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones and North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto, who repeatedly emphasized the value-added contribution of the Reference Panel. In response, Metro Vancouver CAO Johhny Carline stated that this would be done.

The LWMP Reference Panel Process, and Why It Worked

To assist the transition process to the proposed ‘stewarding committee’ (to be known as IUMAC, or Integrated Utility Advisory Management Advisory Committee), the Reference Panel has prepared a synthesis of what the members believe made their process successful.

To learn more, click on The LWMP Reference Panel Process, and Why It Worked. This identifies and explains ten critical success factors.

“Trust and respect is the foundation of a successful process.” concluded Kim Stephens. “There was trust and respect among the Panel members; there was trust and respect between the Panel and Metro Vancouver.”

“Our ability to communicate directly with the Waste Management Committee was crucial. Our monthly meetings during May through July provided us with the platform to say: “We are not staff, we are not hired guns…..we live here, we are passionate about our region….and we will tell it like it is so that we can help you make the decisions that need to be made.”