Limping Towards Sustainability: Growth Management, Ecological Governance, and British Columbia's Islands
- Author: Kirk Stinchcombe
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 1 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, June 1999), 29pp.
- Abstract: The Islands Trust is the local government agency that has been responsible for land use planning in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia since 1974. In many ways the Islands Trust is an ideal local ecological governance body that involves an institutionalized sustainability orientation, a decentralized political structure, a precautionary approach, and ecologically based political boundaries. In recent years the Gulf Islands have faced development pressures that are challenging the integrity of their rural character and the fragile ecosystems they support. At the same time, public support for the Islands Trust has fluctuated, in large due to competing views of sustainability within Gulf Island communities. Nevertheless, this report finds that the organization is continuing to have considerable success in achieving its mandate.
- Download: Limping Towards Sustainability: Growth Management, Ecological Governance, and British Columbia's Islands (.pdf)
The Salmon Aquaculture Review: Facing Ecological Complexity and Scientific Uncertainty in the First Policy Level Assessment under British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Act
- Author: Carla Davidson
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 2 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, August 1999), 26pp.
- Abstract: The Salmon Aquaculture Review, concluded in 1997, was the first strategic level assessment under the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act. The Review assessed the controversial farming of salmon, usually exotic Atlantics, in open netcages along the British Columbia (BC) coast. Some of the concerns addressed in the review related to: the escape of Atlantic salmon and subsequent competition with or genetic impacts on indigenous salmon; the transfer of diseases from farmed salmon to wild salmon; the effects of wastes from farming operations; and the killing of marine mammals and birds in efforts to protect farmed salmon from predation. This case report gives particular attention to how the Review dealt with ecological complexities, data limitations, conventional and unconventional information sources, and competing options for dealing with the resulting uncertainties. It finds that while the Review was a significant step forward for environmental assessment and informed public policy debate, it was limited by narrow terms of reference, a weak base of anticipatory research, and partial application of the precautionary principle.
- Download: The Salmon Aquaculture Review: Facing Ecological Complexity and Scientific Uncertainty in the First Policy Level Assessment under British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Act (.pdf)
Responses to Urban and Rural Land Use Pressures: Three Case Studies from the Okanagan-Shuswap
- Author: Jennifer Ellis
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 3 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, June 2000), 125pp.
- Abstract: The Okanagan-Shuswap region in the interior of BC is a region of picturesque valleys and lakes and unique arid areas. The economy of Okanagan-Shuswap is heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture. As the population of Okanagan-Shuswap grows, it is becoming increasingly evident that the region is in need of better planning and growth management. This report examines three significant responses in the region: the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy; Community/Crown Interface planning occurring through the Okanagan-Shuswap Land and Resource Management Planning Process; and the Salmon River Watershed Round Table. As might be expected in communities where the ecological, social and economic costs of growth have not yet become apparent to many people, these initiatives have had limited success. Their strengths and weaknesses suggest that if sustainability is to be achieved, it will likely be through a long slow process involving a variety of planning initiatives operating in conjunction with each other.
- Download: Responses to Urban and Rural Land Use Pressures: Three Case Studies from the Okanagan-Shuswap (.pdf)
Growth Management in the Vancouver Region
- Author: Ray Tomalty
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 4 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, March 2002), 27pp.
- Abstract: While many authors have lauded Vancouver Region for its strong growth management plans and policies, there has been little assessment of actual performance. This paper attempts to identify some growth management goals that have been (officially and unofficially) espoused by planning authorities in the region, and to measure these against actual trends. The results of the analysis show the Vancouver Region has had mixed success. For instance, the supposedly compact scenario adopted by the region deviates hardly at all from existing growth trends, which regional planners had clearly identified as unacceptable. At the same time, the region has achieved an ambitious goal of preserving large swaths of green areas. These findings are not as contradictory as they may appear. Evidently, conservation in the region has been done in a way that does not compromise the potential for growth in the region - at least for the time being. The real test of regional growth management efforts will come in the near future when further expansion meets the "green wall" on the periphery and neighbourhood resistance to densification within existing urban areas. The study suggests that regional planning as a partnership between municipal and regional government has served the region fairly well in building support for growth management and in elaborating growth management vision. However, doubt remains about the ability of the planning system to set and meet ambitious growth management objectives in the face of social forces attempting to preserve business-as-usual trends in the region.
- Download: Growth Management in the Vancouver Region (.pdf)
Southeast False Creek: From Brown to Green
- Author: Donald Alexander
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 5 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, January 2001), 22pp.
- Abstract: Southeast False Creek is an area of largely derelict industrial land close to the downtown core of Vancouver that is currently being planned as a model "sustainable community." The initiative has evolved over the past decade as in response to Vancouver City policy initiatives and pressure from environmental and social justice activists and concerned design professionals. By the end of 2000, the City had developed a set of policies for the site and began developing an Official Development Plan. The project has been subject to a tug of war over how "sustainable" the end product should be, and whether the land should be turned into a mixed use community or devoted to some other purpose, such as a park. In the current conception, both a community and a park are envisioned. This report analyzes the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of urban sustainability of the South East False Creek plan. Both the substance and process achieved thus far are evaluated from the vantage point of an "ideal" urban sustainable planning process.
- Download: Southeast False Creek: From Brown to Green (.pdf)
The Capital Regional District Growth Strategy: Herding Cats onto the Road to Sustainability
- Authors: Michelle Boyle, Robert B. Gibson, Deborah Curran and Karin Foreman
- Details: British Columbia case report no. 6 (Waterloo: Integrating the Environment into Planning for Growth Study, SERS/UWaterloo, March 2003), 98pp.
- Abstract: Of all the regions of British Columbia that face serious growth pressures, the Capital Regional District (CRD) at the south end of Vancouver Island is perhaps the one most in need of a proper Regional Growth Strategy. Seven years into the process of developing a Regional Growth Strategy, the CRD still faces substantial challenges, particularly the persistent jurisdictional protectionism of CRD municipalities. Nevertheless, the Regional Growth Strategy has achieved many positive outcomes, and has managed to include a wide diversity of individuals and organisations in the process. While the achievements so far have fallen short of some expectations and apparent needs, they are clearly positive steps in the direction of a more sustainable regional future.
- Download: The Capital Regional District Growth Strategy: Herding Cats onto the Road to Sustainability (.pdf)