Celebrating Green Infrastructure Program
The Celebrating Green Infrastructure Program is an outcome of a Consultation Workshop that was organized by the Green Infrastructure Partnership in May 2005. The program goal is to build regional capacity through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, experiences and lessons learned as an outcome of ‘designing with nature'. The program was launched in May 2006 in the Greater Vancouver region as a provincial pilot. The intention is that local governments on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan regions will undertake similar initiatives.
GREATER VANCOUVER: The Greater Vancouver pilot established that there is a need and an appetite for sharing of on-the-ground experiences. The 2006 Showcasing Innovation Series comprised three events. These were hosted by the District of North Vancouver, City of Surrey, and the City of Vancouver in colaboration with the University of British Columbia. As word spread, the registation totals increased accordingly: from 40 to 60 to 70. Each event attracted a different audience, in part reflecting geography. Representatives from a dozen municipalities participated in each of the three events. For the complete story on the 2006 program in the Greater Vancouver region, please click here.
VANCOUVER ISLAND: Building on the experience gained through the Greater Vancouver pilot. a Vancouver Island program is in the planning stages for 2007. It will be organized as a program element under the umbrella of Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. This is a joint initiative of the BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee and Green Infrastructure Partnership, with funding provided by the Real Estate Foundation and the Province.
An observation arising from the Celebrating Green Infrastructure Program is that pilot projects are scattered around British Columbia, but there is no overall vision for what each community wants its municipality to look like. Other key messages are distilled below
- Role of Champions: The rate of progress in changing standard practices generally depends on the willingness of individual champions to push the envelope in applying new approaches.
- Availability of Resources: Even where there is a willingness on the part of a local government to deliver changes in policies and practices, competing demands for essential services limit the time that is left over for municipal staff to champion green infrastructure.
- Experience: Because green infrastructure is currently viewed by local governments as non-essential, new approaches are needed to share, adapt and leverage experience among practitioners – both within and among municipalities.
- Effective Communication: Relying solely on written documents is not the way to create the appetite for change; new approaches are needed to inform and educate elected officials and the community at large.
By pooling resources under a regional partnership framework for outreach and continuing education, municipalities can leverage the efforts of their own staffs and develop a common understanding of issues and solutions.
The Green Infrastructure Partnership is a consorium of four organizations. BCWWA is the managing partner.
Posted December 2006