Comox Valley Developers Dialogue provides bridge to 2011 Learning Lunch Series
Note to Reader:
Team-building is a cumulative process. The Comox Valley is proceeding with the third in a series of Learning Lunch Seminar programs. After the City of Courtenay hosted the 2008 Series, the Comox Valley Regional District hosted the 2009 Series. The Town of Comox is host for the 2011 Series.
Successive Comox Valley series have employed provincial guidance documents, guests from other regions, on-the-ground examples, walkabouts, and town hall sharing sessions to stimulate discussion of HOW to achieve water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices.
The Comox Valley is a microcosm of what is happening throughout BC. Lessons learned there in balancing settlement change and ecology can be applied elsewhere. A key goal is to enable communities to realize more benefits than liabilities from the development that takes place.
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.”
Collaboration, Alignment and Consistency
Held in December 2010, the ‘Developers Dialogue’ initiated a conversation with the Comox Valley development community about collaboration, alignment and consistency in a local government setting. Conducted as a townhall sharing session, a key message to the development community was the need to get the principles right from the beginning.
“The format was excellent for ‘stirring the pot’ as it allowed for a variety of ideas, questions and comments to flow easily and freely. The non-formal setting made everyone comfortable in sharing comments, whether positive or negative. In my experience I often find myself in meetings that only stifle free speech among peers…this was not the case,” reports Kip Keylock, principal of Ocean Estates Developments. He is a Director of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Emphasis on the Front-End Process
Derek Richmond, Manager of Engineering with the City of Courtenay, opened the session by describing the elements of a successful project outcome as portrayed in the image below. His emphasis was on the process that leads to success. He connected the dots to integrated watershed planning, ‘front-end loading’ in the development application process, and greenhouse gas reduction.
“We know…and you know….that if we do things right at the front-end, the end result will be a lot better, and everyone will wind up saving time and money. The end product that you have will be an added-value product,” stated Derek Richmond.
To Learn More:
To help the Comox Valley Regional Team tell their story about leading and managing change, the Water Bucket Website Partnership established a HomePage for the Developers Dialogue. To access a set of 9 stories that document what was accomplished, click here.
To find about the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, click here.
To delve into the 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, click here.
Posted February 2011