“It was an interesting mix of planners and engineers. This provided a range of perspectives, from community planning to on-the-ground utility maintenance. Roundtable sessions like this are essential for building understanding,” observed Peter Law (Ministry of Environment).
Tim Pringle stated that,”Residents of growth communities think of themselves as being rural places, but people want urban services. How does a community weigh the benefits and liabilities of change driven by demand for land use? What will determine long-term wellbeing for a community or region when nature is becoming commoditized?”
The City of Dawson Creek hosted a workshop titled “Sustainable Planning and Development for Small Communities”, a program developed by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation to help small communities. According to Mayor Calvin Kruk, the workshop was attended by municipalities from throughout the Peace River region.
Showcasing the Soft Path to Water-Centric Sustainability at the Building SustainAble Communities Conference
“Sustainability is a buzzword. We hear it daily…but what does it mean in the community context? The Building SustainAble Communities conference, held in Kelowna, provided a timely opportunity for three leading British Columnbian proponents of water-centric sustainability to collaborate in explaining what it means to move along the “soft path” of water use in neighbourhoods and communities,” stated organizer Joanne deVries.
“The Green Infrastructure Partnership and Water Sustainability Committee provide a progress report on what was learned through one-on-one conversations with an ‘ad hoc mayors and chairs focus group' representing three regions of BC,” stated Kim Stephens.
The Policy Research Initiative held a 3-day conference on the future of freshwater policies in Gatineau, Quebec. “Instead of looking at water as a product, alternative approaches to water management consider water as one Gatineau conference – cate soroczanmeans for providing a service – and not always the only or even the best one. This session explored various perspectives on water management,” stated Cate Soroczan, chair of a panel that included two BC perspectives.
Organized by the Canadian Water Resources Association, the Conference was the kick-off for an education process designed to broaden province-wide support for this shared vision: In a fully integrated landscape, water is the unifying element. “To move toward sustainable water management in the Okanagan Basin requires difficult decisions now that will include new governance models that consider the basin as a whole,” stated Brian Guy.
The 2005 Environment Conference organized by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities explored the development and implementation of an integrated environmental management process through the building of effective partnerships. Richard Boase explained how the Water Balance Model enables users to compare scenarios for rainwater runoff volume reduction in order to achieve a light ‘hydrologic footprint’.
In March 2005 the Douglas College Institute of Urban Ecology in New Westminster, BC hosted a conference on how to keep rainwater out of the pipes and get it back into the ground. Don Moore was the driving force in organizing the event. He was responsible for constructing the first ‘engineered rain garden’ in British Columbia.
The Green Infrastructure Partnership informed REAC regarding the Convening for Action process and invited member municipalities to participate in a Consultation Workshop hosted by the City of Surrey in May 2005. “Achieving higher levels of ecological systems protection and overall environmental well-being is being successfully pursued through changes to existing land use regulations, design guidelines and construction standards”, stated Paul Ham.