Why Metro Vancouver is a Partner Region in the “Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative”
Framework for Watershed-Based Planning in Metro Vancouver Region
The Utilities Committee is the standing committee of the Metro Vancouver Board which provides advice and recommendations to the Board on water and liquid waste management programs. The Utilities Committee provides oversight for implementation of the region’s Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan (i..e “the Integrated Plan”) which was adopted by the Board and approved by the Province in 2011.
“The Integrated Plan established the framework for moving beyond regulatory compliance to transitioning Metro Vancouver to an approach where watershed-based planning is integrated within a broader, sustainability framework. The Integrated Plan deals with liquid discharges and rainwater resources,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (i.e. “the Partnership”). During the period 2008 through 2010, he served asChair of the advisory Reference Panel that reported out directly to Metro Vancouver elected representatives.
Benefits of Inter-Regional Collaboration
In a May 2012 presentation to the Utilities Committee, Kim Stephens introduced the benefits of the Inter-Regional Education Initiative that the Partnership had just launched on Vancouver Island.
“Participation in the Inter-Regional Education Initiative would result in opportunities for the Metro Vancouver region to better deliver on member commitments pursuant to the rainwater management component of Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan,” Kim Stephens stated.
“The Georgia Basin bioregion is a hot-bed of progressive ideas and provincially significant initiatives. Regional districts and municipalities are advancing watershed-based strategies and programs for ‘integrating rainwater management at the site level with the watershed and stream’.”
“Collaboration among Vancouver Island local governments, Metro Vancouver, and member municipalities has grown steadily since 2007. In particular, the City of Surrey and District of North Vancouver have provided content and added value to inter-regional educational events hosted by Vancouver Island partner local governments. Similarly, Vancouver Island local governments have provided knowledge-sharing in the other direction. In other words, everyone benefits from sharing information and experiences,” concluded Kim Stephens.
Educational Initiative Fills a Need
Participation of the Metro Vancouver region in the Inter-Regional Education Initiative was formalized in October 2012 when the Utilities Committee passed the following motion:
That the Utilities Committee refer to staff the request from delegate Kim Stephens to collaborate with the Partnership, as it relates to Strategy #3.2 of the Integrated Water Resources Management Plan and opportunities to inform municipal councils about the benefits of sharing and leveraging.
Strategy #3.2 states that Metro Vancouver will “collaborate with local and senior governments, academic institutions and industry in research on wastewater treatment technology and stormwater management and associated demonstration projects, training and development of educational toolkits”.
“We were informed by Kim Stephens that a guiding principle for inter-regional collaboration is that program elements will align with local government priorities and workloads. Also, that a program goal is that local governments will leverage more with the same resources. These were influential considerations and made it easy to pass the motion to collaborate,” stated Darrell Mussatto, Chair of the Utilities Committee. He is the Mayor of the City of North Vancouver.
“While Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (SILG) provides a forum for Metro Vancouver members and senior government regulators to share information on rainwater and stormwater management issues, there is no formal mechanism to enable inter-regional collaboration,” stated Robert Hicks, Metro Vancouver Senior Engineer, when providing context for the request.
”The Partnership fills this gap by bringing together local governments, regulators and businesses around the Georgia Basin to address shared issues with consistent, workable solutions.”