Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Road Map for Moving from Awareness to Action in BC to Protect Watershed Health


Note to Reader:

The story below is extracted from Chapter 1 of Beyond the Guidebook 2010, released in June 2010. This water-centric guidance document tells the stories of how change is being implemented on the ground in British Columbia. To download a PDF copy, click on Moving from Awareness to Action in BC 

Aerial view of burnaby - june 2004

Creating Our Future

The Province of British Columbia has provided a ‘design with nature’ policy framework that enables local governments to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with ecology:

  • This is what we want to collectively and incrementally achieve over time, and this is how we will work together to get there.

The future desired by all will be created through alignment of federal, provincial, regional and local policies and actions.

Guiding Principles

Beyond the Guidebook 2010 draws on BC case study experience to illustrate how success will follow when local government elected representatives, administrators and practitioners:

  1. Choose to be enabled.
  2. Establish high expectations.
  3. Embrace a shared vision.
  4. Collaborate as a ‘regional team’.
  5. Align and integrate efforts.
  6. Celebrate innovation.
  7. Connect with community advocates.
  8. Develop local government talent.
  9. Promote shared responsibility.
  10. Change the land ethic for the better.

Major breakthroughs happen when decision makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community to create desired outcomes.

Regional team approach explained

Enabling Philosophy

BC local government is among the most autonomous in Canada, and BC is perhaps the least prescriptive province.

Historically, the Province has enabled local government by providing policy and legal tools in response to requests from local government. Local government can choose to act, or not.

In general, the enabling approach means the onus is on local government to take the initiative. The Province recognizes that communities are in the best position to develop solutions which meet their own unique needs and local conditions.

This enabling philosophy has become a driver for a Regional Team Approach to implementing a new culture for urban watershed protection and restoration.

Call to Action

The program goals for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative constitute a ‘call to action’ on the part of BC local governments.

The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia is a primary implementation interface with local government. The Action Plan program demonstrates what can be achieved through a ‘top down and bottom up’ strategy.

Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how water sustainability can and will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. Getting there relies on a change in mind-set.

Call to Action_March2010