A Guide to Green Choices: Ideas & Practical Advice for Land Use Decisions in Britsh Columbia Communities
Why a Guide to Green Choices?
To help local governments continue the extensive work they have already done in fostering green communities, the Ministry of Community & Rural Development has developed A Guide to Green Choices to provide practical advice and ideas in making land use decisions.
This Guide is expected to work in tandem with many other programs and projects already underway, including Living Water Smart and the BC Climate Action Plan. Many of the ideas proposed in this Guide are eligible for funding through various provincial government programs including: Towns for Tomorrow; LocalMotion; the LiveSmart Green Cities Awards; and, the Canada-UBCM Agreement on the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenues. In addition to the funding programs, the Guide is also linked with the BC Climate Action Tool Kit.
The document is structured around seven major issues that B.C. local governments face in their work to advise green land use decisions.
A Living Document
According to Laura Tate, principal author of the document, “The guide is meant to assist communities of all types: large, small, rural, resort-based, urban, and suburban. It is designed to help maximize both creativity and adaptability to varied scales, specific contexts, and changing on-the-ground conditions.”
“This is particularly important when working with local communities, where each have their own settings, histories, needs, and values — and of course their own unique visions for the future,” continues Laura Tate. “For this reason, A Guide to Green Choices is intended to be a living document. It will be revised over time to address ongoing changes in community needs, and to respond to suggestions from local government.”
The ‘Green’ Destination
What will it look like when we arrive? This ‘green’ destination or vision will mean a healthier natural environment, healthier communities, and healthier citizens, and lead to:
- Public spaces in all communities embraced by urban forests, and well- onnected with safe cycling and walking access to all parts of the community;
- Sustainable, compact rural and urban communities, with a range of options for different household types and sizes;
- Affordable housing choices;
- More opportunities for residents of all communities to comfortably age in place;
- A fitter population;
- A choice of transportation options serving all trips, needs and incomes;
- Diverse and vibrant local economies;
- Air quality improved by 50 percent over 2008 levels, and lowered rates of asthma in the population;
- Lower greenhouse gas emissions;
- Plenty of choices for residents to buy attractive and varied locally-produced foods; and
- Reduced energy and water consumption.
“The vision depends on many players, strong leadership, and a willingness to face challenges en route,” continues Laura Tate. “It needs new approaches, forward thinking and long-term commitment. It will continue to rely on timely decision-making by all parties.”
“A key theme in A Guide to Green Choices is the notion of integration,” concludes Laura Tate. “It stems from a belief that the solid efforts already being made could be even stronger if they work together in the right direction — not at cross-purposes.”
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