DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Regional Growth Strategies for Healthy Communities” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in May 2024

Note to Reader:

Published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on May 7, 2024 featured Dale Wall, retired Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs. It was his job to implement regional growth management in the 1990s and 2000s. He was a founding member of the Green Infrastructure Partnership because he believed it would be an effective vehicle for peer-based learning that would build practitioner confidence to be innovative.



Regional Growth Strategies for Healthy Communities

Viewed through a local government lens, alignment of efforts and collaboration defined the 2000s within the Georgia Basin. It was a transformational era. Lessons learned are of universal application and stand the test of time. Know your history. Build on experience rather than re-inventing the wheel.

The foregoing synopsis is the context for reflections by Dale Wall, a retired Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs. In 2003, he was a founding member of the Green Infrastructure Partnership that played a prominent role in leading changes in practitioner attitude in the Metro Vancouver region.

A conversation with Dale Wall shed light on why under his watch the Ministry embraced shared responsibility as an ethos and how this paradigm enabled a top-down and bottom-up approach to “convening for action” to create liveable communities and protect stream health.



Integration of Regional Growth Strategies and Georgia Basin Initiative

“The Province passed the Regional Growth Strategies Act in 1994. This brought back a regional planning structure after BC had been without one for 10 years or so. The intent of the legislation was regional planning across a whole range of values,” recalls Dale Wall.

Dale Wall served in the provincial government for three decades. In the decade following his retirement, he was an advisor to the Union of BC Municipalities and a sessional instructor at the University of Victoria.

A planning framework for creating a sustainable future

“It was my job to implement regional growth management. One can go back to the goals in that legislation and look at all the different values that impact the way regions are built. We had not done something like that before. It was much more than pure land use planning.”

“At the same time, Premier Glen Clark became very interested in fish protection such that it became a parallel high-profile initiative of the government. Erik Karlsen was very deeply involved in that work as part of the Georgia Basin Initiative.”

“The government combined Regional Growth Strategies and the Georgia Basin Initiative into one operation so that Erik Karlsen wound up working for me. We were trying to tie-in what we were doing with Regional Growth Strategies to innovation in water management and stream protection.”


To read the complete story, download a copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Regional Growth Strategies for Healthy Communities.