The Making of Westhills Green Community on Vancouver Island



The meet-and-greet for Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langford starts at 8:30am on September 26. Program concludes at 2:30pm after a walkabout. To download the agenda, click here. To register, contact Suzette Chapman at either 250-474-0068 or Registration will be capped at 40.

Showcasing innovation - format for the day (360p) black background


Doing Business Differently

Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI) is collaborating with the Capital Regional District and the Green Infrastructure Partnership to present Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Capital Region: The 2008 Series. The second in the series will be held on September 26 and will be hosted by the City of Langford in collaboration with Westhillls to showcase its Green Community. To read an earlier story about the scope of the program, please click on the following link to Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the City of Langford: Transforming the Community.


Bridging Engineering and Planning:

The focus is on how to create neighbourhoods that integrate both good planning and innovative engineering designs, for overall greater sustainability (i.e. environmental, social and economic):

  • Westhills is a Canadian pilot for LEED Neighbourhood Development, and will help set a new national standard for community development.
  • Westhills incorporates leading-edge environmental  technologies.
  • The City will also elaborate on its vision for a Langford Green Utility that will ultimately comprise water distribution, sewage collection, sewage treatment, and re-use of reclaimed water.

The morning session has two interactive segments, first by the City and then by Westhills, that set the scene. A walkabout will follow, and is also organized in two parts. First, there will be a walking tour from City Hall to the Westhills Presentation Centre where lunch will be served. After lunch, a bus will take participants to the Westhills job site to view a selection of their ‘green’ show homes that are at various stages of construction.


Goal in Showcasing Innovation:

The goal of the Showcasing Innovation Series is to promote networking, inform and educate practitioners, and help local governments move ‘from awareness to action’ in doing business differently — The New Business As Usual — through sharing of approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned that will ultimately inform a pragmatic strategy for climate change adaptation.


Langford's Approach

The City's part of the morning program is structured in four parts. John Manson (City Engineer) and Emilie Adin (Deputy City Planner) will tag-team to tell Langford's story as follows: 

  1. Corporate Philosophy: At the heart of the City’s approach to innovation is its corporate philosophy for managing risk, learning by doing, and adapting quickly to new information and changing circumstances.
  2. New Official Community Plan: Langford’s new OCP, developed within a unique sub-regional planning process, is highly strategic rather than prescriptive. This OCP supports Langford’s vision for flexibility and rapid adaptation to new ecological and social imperatives.  Outcomes include a West Shore Greenbelt, and enabling policies for a compact and mixed-use transit-supportive City Centre and development nodes, district energy systems, and decreased auto dependence.
  3. Innovative Engineering: Langford’s support of alternative development standards includes reduced width of paving and rights-of-way, multi-modal road designs (woon-erven), permeable pavement, setback variances, reduced parking standards, and innovative rainwater/stormwater management, in line with Smart Growth principles.  Langford is also working to ensure wastewater reuse and a renewable district energy system as part of an Integrated Utility for Westhills and Langford.
  4. The Story of Westhills: A brief history of the Westhills Green Community, from the City’s perspective.  Langford’s strong history of piloting innovation, supporting best practices, and allowing variances to standards where supportive of other City goals, have all helped to ensure a rezoning process for over 500 acres of land in under 10 months, and the creation of one of Canada’s largest projects under LEED™ for Neighbourhood Development.

Langford - logos


A Precedent-Setting OCP

“The Cities of Langford and Colwood have pioneered the first ever sub-regional Emilie adin - city of langford deputy planner (120p)planning process in BC,” reports Emilie Adin. “Colwood and Langford have jointly produced complementary OCPs which deliver substantial net benefit to BC’s environment, and which can serve as a model to other municipalities regionally and provincially.”

On June 16, 2008, City of Langford Council adopted its new Official Community Plan (OCP); the City of Colwood adopted its new OCP on June 24, 2008. The Cities of Colwood and Langford worked jointly and within a parallel and cooperative process to ensure common terminology, seamless planning practices and complementary long-term strategic policies between our two OCPs.  The Cities shared resources and held joint public meetings and workshops to build the plan inter-jurisdictionally.

Both Cities are Signatories of the British Columbia Climate Action Charter in 2007, and the adoption of a new sustainability-focused OCP demonstrates the Cities’ commitment to addressing issues related to climate change. Integrated outcomes include:

  • 95% consistency in all policies between the two OCPs
  • integration of land uses designations and terminology between the two Cities
  • an inter-jurisdictional and networked transportation system
  • a West Shore Greenbelt
  • enabling policies for compact and mixed-use transit-supportive City Centres and development nodes
  • district energy systems
  • decreased auto dependence.

As the Regional Growth Strategy identifies both Cities as major growth areas, these cooperatively created OCPs ensure that the majority of development in the region will be sustainable.

Joint colwood-langford ocp


Managing Risk and Learning by Doing

John manson - langford city engineer (120p)“From its inception in 1992, the City of Langford embraced a philosophy of managing risk and learning by doing. This has become the corporate culture,” reports John Manson. “A corporate culture that is willing to accept and then manage risk with regards to infrastructure standards can open the door to creativity, innovation – and its rewards.”

CRD 9 - langford corporate culture


About the 2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series

To learn more about the three events that comprise the 2008 Series, and the rationale for the program, click on the following link to “2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series on Vancouver Island” features community-scale projects. Desired outcomes are being achieved through the combination of integration and innovation.

View royal showcasing - 2008 program

The Showcasing Innovation Series enables local governments to tell their stories in a way that no other forum currently provides. The purpose of the presentations in the mornning is to whet the appetites of participants for the site tour that follows. The real learning then takes place on the bus or during the walkabout.


Registration for Showcasing Innovation in Langford:

For a program overview and registration details, click on the image below to Langfrod showcasing - program (200p)download a copy of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langford. To register, contact Suzette Chapman at either 250-474-0068 or  Participants are advised that it is mandatory to wear a safety vest, hard hat and safety boots for the walkabout. At the time of registration, please advise whether you will need to borrow any of these items. 



Who is CAVI?

The CAVI Partnership comprises the British Columbia Water & Waste Association, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the provincial Ministries of Environment and Community Development, and the Green Infrastructure Partnership. CAVI is co-funded by the Province and the Real Estate CAVI logo - june 2008 revised (240p)Foundation of British Columbia. The Water Sustainability Committee of the BCWWA is the managing partner and is providing program delivery. For more information about the CAVI Partnership and what it wants to do, please click here



Posted September 2008