SHARED RESPONSIBILITY EXPLAINED: “Policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to implement green infrastructure solutions and ensure responsible outcomes. Each party in the process has a responsibility,” stated Susan Rutherford, former Legal Counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, during capacity-building presentations delivered under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in the first decade of the 2000s
NOTE TO READER:
Originally published in 2009 as a Backgrounder for the Water Sustainability Action Plan outreach program, and posted for posterity on the waterbucket.ca website, the storyline for Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Shared Responsibility Underpins a Regional Team Approach to Creating Our Future connects three ideas that emerged in the process of delivering peer-based education to local government practitioners.
The program goals for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the companion Green Communities Initiative constitute a ‘call to action’ on the part of British Columbians to manage settlement change in balance with ecology.
Living Water Smart contains a key message – green development makes sense. Fostering new approaches to development will lead to more green spaces, more water and fish in streams, improved community vitality, reduced demand for water, and reduced expenditure on infrastructure.
Achieving the vision for settlement change in balance with ecology will require a ‘regional team approach’ that is founded on the notion of shared responsibility.
Shared Responsibility Underpins a Regional Team Approach
“A guiding principle for the Water Sustainability Action Plan program is to build capacity through sharing and cross-fertilization of experience and lessons learned. This bottom-up approach supported the rollout of Living Water Smart in British Columbia in 2008. That is the context for this ‘flashback’ in the Living Water Smart Series. Originally published in 2009 as a Backgrounder for the Action Plan outreach program, the storyline connects three ideas that emerged in the process of delivering peer-based education to local government practitioners,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability.
“Building on the experience we have gained on Vancouver Island through the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island program, the Green Infrastructure Partnership developed a Responsibility Matrix that regulators, developers and designers would be able to use as a decision support tool,” stated Susan Rutherford. In 2009, she was Staff Counsel with West Coast Environmental Law.
“The matrix is intended to get everyone thinking about the role that they can play; and get everyone talking to others about how they will all work together. It was an outcome of a forum hosted by the City of Surrey in 2009. The forum focus was on the implementation challenges of green infrastructure, and how to overcome them. We looked at law, policy, process and technical tools; and how people have most successfully brought those tools together to implement the objectives of green infrastructure.”
“For the first part of the matrix, think in terms of three columns: GOAL, PARTY and TOOL. Our focus is on the linkages – that is, how people interact and/or collaborate to achieve community development sustainability goals.”
“For the second part of the matrix, again think in terms of three columns that elaborate on the first part: DESIRED OR REQUIRED OUTCOMES, RELEVANT STAFF OR OTHER ACTORS and INSTRUMENTS FOR ACTION. Under desired outcomes, we will be defining a series of objectives and/or situations – for example, ensuring that the minimum topsoil requirement is achieved and maintained over time.”
“Each party in any process has a responsibility,” reiterated Susan Rutherford.
TO LEARN MORE:
Download a copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Shared Responsibility Underpins a Regional Team Approach to Creating Our Future. This is an updated version of a Backgrounder released by the Partnership in December 2009.