Creating Liveable Communities and Protecting Stream Health: Helping goals become practice in BC


In 2008, the Vancouver Island community-of-interest had not yet been created. Thus, online resources related to the ground-breaking 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series are dispersed across the website. A long-term task is to replicate and update those resources on this community-of-interest. Below is one of those resources.

Doing Business Differently in BC

The Province is leveraging its grants programs to influence changes on the ground. British Columbia is in transition. Today, assessment criteria are based on a philosophy of “the greener the better”. Tomorrow, all projects must meet a green standard. The Province’s position is clear: Adapting to climate change and reducing our collective impact on the environment will be a condition for receiving provincial infrastructure funding.

Green Communities Amendments

The Province has enacted legislation (Bill 27) that will help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities. 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.

A2008 comox valley seminar #1 - catriona weidman (160p)ccording to Smart Growth BC: “This Bill is an excellent step towards climate protection, and many of the tools will assist local governments in addressing energy and greenhouse gas emissions.”

At the first in the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, hosted by the City of Courtenay, Catriona Weidman of the Ministry of Community Development elaborated on the Province’s guiding philosophy for doing business differently.

Catriona’s presentation was organized under three topic headings: 1) Changing the Rules for Greener Communities; 2) Living Water Smart; and 3) Funding for Green Infrastructure.

To Learn More:

To download and view the slide presentation by Catriona Weidman, click on Creating Liveable Communities & Protecting Stream Health: Helping goals become practice.

From Goals to Practice

To both provide a record of the day and capture the flavour of presentations at Seminar #1, video clips have been uploaded to YouTube. The video of the presentation by Catriona Weidman has been divided into two segments – the first is 5 minutes and covers Changing the Rules and Living Water Smart; the second is 8 minutes in length and deals with funding.

Changing the Rules

“We all work with rules …. what we really want to do is change some of the rules … to create the kind of communities that we desire,” stated Catriona. “We are using infrastructure funding to … encourage the right type of projects.”

Funding for Green Infrastructure

“There are three types of funding: planning, construction and recognition,” explained Catriona. The purpose of the Infrastructure Planning Grant Program, for example, is to assist local governments in developing sustainable infrastructure.

Today’s Expectations are Tomorrow’s Standards

Catriona outlined a number of ideas that would be received favourably by the Ministry under the Infrastructure Planning Grant Program. These include stream health feasibility studies and watershed plans.

“As we move forward, projects will only be eligible where they are green and sustainable,” emphasized Catriona when she explained how grant programs will leverage change through eligibility and assessment criteria.

About the Learning Lunch Series

The precedent-setting Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series is part of the implementation program for  Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual, This provincial initiative builds on the foundation provided by Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, published in 2002. In 2008, participating Vancouver Island local governments represented some 250,000 people.

The Learning Lunch Seminar Series promotes a consistent provincial approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure. It also adds depth to Living Water Smart, the Province’s plan for doing business differently….by encouraging water and land managers and users to make green choices that create liveable communities and protect stream health.

About CAVI

CAVI logo - june 2008 revised (240p)The CAVI Partnership comprised 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 was co-funded by the Province and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Water Sustainability Committee of the BCWWA was the managing partner and provided program delivery. In 2010, the committee morphed into the stand-alone and non-profit Partnership for Water Sustainability for BC.