Ministry of Environment highlights importance of land use planning in protecting stream health
Note to Reader:
On November 9-10, 2011, an inter-governmental team is teaching, and the City of Surrey is hosting, the first 2-day course on HOW to develop a Watershed Blueprint to help restore urban watershed function over time. The “Course on the ISMP Course Correction” is designed for planning, engineering, environmental, asset management and other practitioners who make decisions that ultimately impact on land use, infrastructure or stream health.
How Will Metro Vancouver Municipalities Address Regulatory Requirements?
The commitments by Metro Vancouver and member municipalities to develop ISMPs (Integrated Stormwater Management Plans) and implement on-site rainwater management are spelled out in Clauses 1.1.12, 1.1.20, 1.1.21, 3.4.7 and 3.5.9 of the region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan.
The genesis for ISMPs was a desire to integrate the community, engineering, planning and environmental perspectives. In 2001, Metro Vancouver’s member municipalities recognized the benefits of this approach and made a legal commitment to the Province to have ISMPs in place by 2014 for their watersheds.
In a May 2011 letter to the Metro Vancouver Board, BC Environment Minister Terry Lake commended the region’s plan while at the same time advising that it does not fully meet his requirements. So he strengthened the plan by imposing conditions that expand municipal actions vis-à-vis rainwater management.
“Conditions that apply to the approved Metro Vancouver plan highlight the importance of land use planning in protecting stream health. The conditions focus attention on how the degree, type and location of land development can affect the long-term health of the watershed,” summarizes Avtar Sundher, Government and Compliance Section Head with the Ministry of Environment.
“Regulatory requirements provide a driver for local governments to protect and/or restore watershed health over time. We also recognize that solutions will be achieved through partnerships, collaboration and regional alignment of efforts.”
Metro Vancouver Reference Panel Perspective
Appointed by the Metro Vancouver Board in April 2008, the advisory Liquid Waste Management Plan Reference Panel played a key role during plan development.
“By providing clear direction regarding ISMP performance measurement and integration with land use planning, the Minister has strengthened the plan,” states Kim Stephens, Reference Panel Chair (and Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia).
“The Integrated Plan has two tracks: End-of-Pipe and At-the-Source. From the beginning of our involvement in the consultation process, the Reference Panel placed equal importance on what happens ON THE LAND, AT THE SOURCE. Connecting people to the land is essential if the region is to truly achieve the Sustainable Region Vision.”
To Learn More:
To download a copy of the Minister’s letter (dated May 30, 2011) and the staff report to the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee, click on Minister’s Approval of Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan.
To download a copy of the Recommended Policy Framework developed by the Reference Panel as a companion to the regulatory document, and embraced by the Metro Vancouver Board, click on Final Report on A Liquid Resource Management Plan for Metro Vancouver
Posted October 2011