Other Regional Work
Featured here are some of our past projects in the Greater Vancouver-Sea to Sky region:
In 2011 FBC hosted a Lower Fraser Collaborative Initiative to help leaders in the region identify opportunities to secure the long-term sustainability of the lower Fraser River, from Hope to the Salish Sea. FBC brought together all orders of government, along with private and non-profit sector leaders, each with an interest in the river or a responsibility for some aspect of its management. The aim was to assess opportunities to work more collaboratively.
FBC hosted a river tour and two dialogues on issues ranging from diking and flood management, to water use to ecosystem degradation. The project received funding from the BC Living Rivers Trust Fund, Environment Canada and the Real Estate Foundation of BC.
From its inception, the Fraser Basin Council has supported authorities and other interests in taking an integrated approach to flood hazard management. In this role, we have overseen a hydraulic model of the Lower Fraser (which led to a new provincial design profile for dike construction), digital floodplain mapping, flood gauge installations, best practices for environmental protection, and a BC Flood Forum for communities to share lessons learned. For a closer look at current and past initiatives, see Flood Management.
For 12 years FBC also helped oversee and secure funding for the Fraser River Debris Trap, which protects Lower Mainland communities from large volumes of woody debris coming downstream. The trap is now overseen by the Province of BC through a funding partnership with Port Metro Vancouver.
Moving people and goods across the busy, growing Lower Mainland is more complex than ever before. Transportation impacts climate change, air quality, human health, economic productivity and quality of life. Without doubt, it’s a key sustainability issue.
The Fraser Basin Council helps support steps for sustainable transportation across BC, notably through our E3 Fleet program, Green Fleets BC initiatives, including Plug in BC, and past work on Transportation Demand Management.
We have also helped with other regional transportation and transit initiatives in the Greater Vancouver Sea to Sky region. In particular, the GVSS Regional Manager assisted Translink in an initiative to track and publicly report on sustainability and helped support steps leading to Transport 2040, Translink’s long-range plan for sustainable transportation.
The Fraser Basin Council, through its BuySmart Network, was pleased to work with Metro Vancouver in an update to its Sustainable Supply Chain Logistics Guide in late 2011. The updated guide can help businesses work with their clients and suppliers to avoid waste, make better use of resources, and improve financial, environmental and social performance.
The guide is designed for manufacturers, wholesale or retail distributors and logistics companies. Service-based companies and institutions might also find it helpful. Metro Vancouver offers the guide as part of its Sustainable Regional Initiative.
In 2009 the City of North Vancouver asked the Fraser Basin Council to assess the City’s policies, plans and programs from a sustainability perspective. The aim was to pinpoint gaps and suggest improvements.
Through the work of Smart Planning for Communities facilitator and the GVSS Senior Regional Manager, FBC reviewed key documents, interviewed City staff on their understanding and implementation of the policies, and considered external sustainability indicators. The City was found to have many successes and also opportunities to further integrate sustainability into their work.
The project is profiled in a Smart Planning case study North Vancouver Walks the Talk. A summary of FBC comments are wrapped up in Measuring and Communicating Sustainability Progress Within the City of North Vancouver.
To support Environment Canada in monitoring the state of health of the Georgia Basin ecosystem, FBC conducted indicators research and a multi-sector survey of professionals and decision-makers for their views. The first survey was completed in 2007, with further research undertaken in 2010.
In the view of survey participants, the greatest impacts on the health of the Georgia Basin ecosystem are human population growth and development, consumption of resources, climate change, waste and pollution, issues related to fragmented governance, transportation, homelessness and food security. Survey participants cited sustainability conflicts and tensions over land use and density, transportation, population growth, the cost of living and homelessness. Also high on the list were solid and liquid waste management, air quality and food security and supply.
Many participants said that they were measuring sustainability in their own work, but were not necessarily collecting the appropriate data and information on Georgia Basin ecosystem health. To take action on priority concerns, participants recommended adaptive governance, leadership and clearer roles and responsibilities.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (dubbed SMES) — those businesses with fewer than 50 employees — are the fastest growing part of the BC economy. As of 2008, there were about 350,000 SMES, contributing 30% of the provincial GDP and 58% of private sector jobs.
In partnership with VanCity Savings Credit Union, FBC oversaw a survey on the sustainability practices of small and medium-sized business in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Southern Vancouver Island.
There were 331 respondents to the survey, and most reported some sustainability initiatives underway. Their efforts included waste reduction (92.5%), ethical purchasing (61%), GHG and energy reductions (51%) and water conservation (40%). Social initiatives included charitable contributions and employee volunteerism (45%). The survey allowed businesses to self-select, so it’s not clear how representative the findings were of SMES as a whole. It is clear, however, that there are many strong sustainability champions in this sector.