British Columbia’s Green Communities Initiative – today’s expectations are tomorrow’s standards

A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate, then representing the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development, when she explained the matrix of Green Communities initiatives at the inaugural 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series

In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.

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DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – following release of Living Water Smart, this grass-roots capacity-building program was undertaken in response to the Province’s call to action create greener communities and prepare for climate change

Inter-departmental participation by all member local governments effectively meant closing front counters on three Fridays for most of the day so that planning, engineering, operations and building inspection staff could attend the Learning Lunch seminars. “Throughout the series, our theme and our challenge was to ask participants what will they do better or differently to achieve a shared vision for the Cowichan Valley,” stated David Hewetson, Building Inspector with the City of Duncan. “This is why it was so important to get everyone thinking in terms of the What – So What – Now What mind-map.”

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“Water Balance Model Express demonstrates how inter-regional partners are sharing tools and resources,” Kim Stephens informs Cowichan Valley Regional Board

“Watershed health is a priority is a priority and everyone has these over-arching plans and strategies. Everybody is primed to move from talk to implementation and integration. So, why collaboration? Here are the key words – affordable and effective. This is what it is all about. Money is not unlimited. So what is the goal of collaboration? We are talking about standards of practice, whether those practices be engineering or planning. They have to be affordable and effective. Where we are trying to get to is a healthy watershed with healthy streams,” stated Kim Stephens.

Read Article provides ‘home’ for telling the story of British Columbia’s Green Communities Initiative

“To help the Ministry tell the story of the Green Communities Initiative, the Website Partnership created a ‘home’ on the Green Infrastructure community-of-interest to post articles about the four areas of Ministry activity, namely: partnerships, legislation, incentives, and better information,” stated Mike Tanner, Website Chair. By serving as a communication vehicle to share information and experiences, we believe is helping to effect changes on the ground in water and land development practices in British Columbia.”

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Infrastructure Grants enable Province to influence behaviour through the Green Communities Initiative

The Province is looking at raising the bar as far as what it is trying to accomplish with standards, provincial legislation and infrastructure grant programs. “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward,” stated Dale Wall.

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NEW GUIDE: Development Permit Areas for Climate Action in British Columbia

In 2008, the Province amended the Local Government Act to include three DPA purposes for climate action. According to Ida Chong, the Guide was created to help local governments make strategic choices about how to effectively use DPAs to promote energy conservation, water conservation, and GHG emissions reduction. The Guide describes the legislative authority for DPAs for climate action. It identifies considerations for local governments that are undertaking a DPA for climate action; and presents examples of DPA strategies.

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Sustainable Service Delivery Links Land Use Planning, Watershed Health and

“The term Sustainable Service Delivery describes a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. The link between asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is emerging as an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” emphasizes Glen Brown. “Each year, the funding shortfall grows. As infrastructure ages and fails, local governments cannot keep up with renewal and/or replacement. Fiscal constraints provide a powerful impetus for doing business differently.”

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Green Communities in British Columbia: A Collaborative Effort

“The Province of British Columbia and B.C. local governments are committed to working together toward a vision of green, sustainable communities. Green communities are vibrant, connected, innovative, environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially responsive. The B.C. approach to achieving this vision involves all partners working together to help remove barriers, provide incentives, build capacity and ensure the right mix of regulation and legislation,” stated BC Minister Stephanie Cadieux.

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Comox Valley local governments initiate dialogue with development community about aligning efforts at a watershed scale

“The event was conducted as a townhall sharing session. We invited the development community to talk about how local government can make the development application process more transparent and faster. We also invited participants to share their ideas on green infrastructure innovations,” stated Derek Richmond. He connected the dots to integrated watershed planning, ‘front-end loading’ in the development application process, and greenhouse gas reduction.

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