“Green” Legislation Supports Local Governments in British Columbia
Bill 27 will help local governments create more compact, sustainable and greener communities
VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia has enacted legislation (Bill 27) that will help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities,
“The Province of British Columbia is committed to working with local governments to find solutions to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Community Services Minister Ida Chong announced in April 2008 . “Local governments already have access to a variety of options that can make their communities more environmentally sustainable, and this legislation supports this further by ensuring local governments have the tools and guidelines necessary to create more compact neighbourhoods, with a stronger focus on energy conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, and affordability.”
The 2007 and 2008 speeches from the throne and Premier Gordon Campbell’s address at the UBCM 2007 Annual Convention proposed a wide range of initiatives related to climate change, resource conservation and air quality improvements.
“We are following up on these commitments to provide local governments with the flexibility to implement environmentally sustainable plans and developments,” said Chong. “This legislation will help local governments contribute to the provincial goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent below current levels by 2020.”
The legislation came into force in June 2008. Now local governments are required to include greenhouse gas emission targets, policies and actions in their Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies. They are also able to use development permits to promote energy and water conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gases, and encourage alternative transportation options for off-street parking.
Developers who are building small housing units (29 square metres or less) are exempt from paying Development Cost Charges. Local governments have the ability to waive or reduce these charges for green development including small lot subdivisions and affordable rental housing.
One of the ways this is happening is through the Climate Action Charter. The Charter commits interested local governments, the Province and UBCM to work together to find ways to tackle the challenges posed by climate change, pledging to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. To read what Smart Growth BC has to say about Bill 27, please click here.
Posted June 2008