Development of ‘O.U.R. Ecovillage’ on Vancouver Island established a Canadian precedent
Located on an extraordinary 25 acres near Shawnigan Lake, O.U.R. Ecovillage began operations in 1999 with a mandate to create a model demonstration sustainable village community rooted in social, ecological, and economic well being. People from all walks of life and all ages are able to benefit from educational services on redesigned sustainable modes of living, delivered on the location in a healthy, supportive, and operational Ecovillage.
The “O.U.R.” stands for One United Resource.
O.U.R. Ecovillage acts as a bridge between the rural and urban experience. The Ecovillage offers a protected green space and a healthy, supportive community learning environment for residents and participants in programs and the wider local and global communities.
The Ecovillage Vision
The vision for O.U.R. Ecovillage emerged through visioning workshops that included community and urban planners, agrologists, Permaculture specialists, educators, gardeners, health professionals, and children, family and friends. The first phase of the project culminated in the purchase of the agricultural property for integrated educational, residential, agricultural, and conservation uses.
Site planning has involved the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the BC Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Highways, the Cowichan Community Land Trust, The Land Conservancy of BC, experts in sustainable development and renewable energy, surveyors and individuals from the wider community.
Canadian Precedent Established
Care is being taken to ensure consistency with local community planning in the Cowichan Valley and the South Vancouver Island region. O.U.R. Ecovillage's request to the CVRD for a “Rural Residential Comprehensive Development Zone” was approved in the fall of 2002. The rezoning set a precedent in Canada for an innovative model of land-use zoning and for more attention to this type of sustainable land management planning and community development.
The rezoning has enabled O.U.R. Ecovillage to move forward with the onsite work of creating “full featured human settlement” and the infrastructure for a sustainable land management design. The aspect of “educational” usage allowed for within the rezoning sanctions the next phase of development, including an onsite school Topia: The Sustainable Community Learning Institute.
Showcasing Innovation Series
The Cowichan Valley Regional District, District of North Cowichan, and City of Duncan will co-host the second event in a series of three events that comprise Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series. The Cowichan event will be on Friday, September 28. For complete information on the Cowichan program, please click here.
Posted August 2007