'CAVI-Comox Valley Regional Team' hosts Developers Dialogue to bridge to 2011 Learning Lunch Series
Originally scheduled for Fall 2010, the third annual Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series was postponed until early 2011. The Developers Dialogue was designed as a ‘bridging event’ and was held on December 3, 2010. The story below describes what was accomplished.
Comox Valley Regional Team
In 2008, the four local governments in the Comox Valley agreed to embark on a journey as a regional team. As a result, the Comox Valley is the provincial pilot for demonstrating the benefits of a ‘regional team approach’ to establish expectations and achieve consistency at the front counter.
“Our definition is that the ‘regional team’ in its fullest sense encompasses local government, the Province, the development community and the stewardship, agricultural and academic sectors,” states John Finnie, Chair of Convening for Action in Vancouver Island, known by the acronym CAVI. “The latest initiative by the Comox Valley team was a Developers Dialogue. This has opened lines of communication to the local development community.”
Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series
The Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series is the vehicle for bringing all the players together and generating momentum for collective action. The goal in collaborating and aligning efforts as a regional team is to strive for settlement change that is balance with ecology.
The 2008 and 2009 series were hosted by the City of Courtenay and Comox Valley Regional District, respectively. The Town of Comox is the host for the 2011 Series.
A Regional Response to Climate Change
“The 2011 Series theme, A Regional Response to Climate Change, defines the desired outcome. This shows how far we have come as a regional team. We are ready to establish performance targets for integrated land and water management,” states Glenn Westendorp, Chair of the 2011 Series. He is Public Works Superintendent with the Town of Comox.
“When we met as a team in November to initiate planning for the 2011 Series, we concluded that the time has come to brand our collaboration as the CAVI-Comox Valley Regional Team. This makes a clear distinction from CV-OPS and reinforces the relevance of the umbrella role that CAVI plays.”
CV-OPS is the acronym for Comox Valley Intergovernmental Engineering/Operations Liaison Group. This was an outcome of the 2009 Series.
Courtenay hosts Developers Dialogue
“The City of Courtenay acted on behalf of the CAVI-Comox Valley Regional Team in organizing and hosting an afternoon event that we branded as the Developers Dialogue,” explains Nancy Hofer, Environmental Planner.
“We saw this as an opportunity for the local development community and local government staff to focus on how we can all work together towards low environmental impact development; and how we can better understand each others’ needs to accomplish the tasks at hand.”
“So we invited the development community to come prepared 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. In our communication, we emphasized that the Developers Dialogue is the first step in a process.”
The Developers Dialogue was conducted as a townhall sharing session. Six objectives shaped the program design:
- To present goals of low environmental impact land use, including legislation that is directing the regulatory sector, and the movement towards interjurisdictional planning and implementation approaches
- To discuss the applicability of specific tools to promote low environmental impact land use goals
- The importance of thinking beyond individual borders
- Better understand the process required to achieve successful development(s) and how we can collaboratively improve the process
- To listen to the development community on their concerns, barriers and ideas as it pertains to sustainable land use and how local governments can facilitate their efforts
- Identify areas for action
Kim Stephens, a member of the CAVI Leadership Team and the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, moderated the townhall sharing.
To Learn More:
Click on local government and developer perspectives to download the handout that guided the townhall sharing.
Click on front-end presentation to inform audience to download a copy of the storyline for a series of short presentations by City of Courtenay staff that informed the audience in preparation for the townhall sharing.
What We Heard
“Conversation leads to dialogue. That was a key message at the Developers Dialogue. Our goal was to start the conversation. We got some ideas on the table, we listened and we documented what we heard. The insights and understanding gained from the townhall sharing about developing land sensitively will help the Comox Valley Regional Team navigate a way forward,” states Nancy Hofer.
“Awareness is a big factor, and I would like to see an increased awareness on the part of developers about current issues,” stated Kip Keylock, a leader in the Comox Valley development community. “Without awareness, developers may have the best of intentions, yet will get nowhere. Bringing issues to the surface will allow developers to address them.”
“The townhall sharing session was high energy and the time flew. There were no gaps in the conversation. Someone would make a comment and that would set off a train of conversation. It was therefore really important that Nancy Hofer and her colleague Allan Gornal did such a fine job of documenting the conversation. The record of the Developers Dialogue provides a point of departure for collaborative action,” concluded Kim Stephens.
To Learn More:
Click on summary of notes to view the record of the 2010 Comox Valley Developers Dialogue. This summarizes objectives, participant expectations and discussion highlights.