Victoria

Dr. Alison Shaw
Research Manager, Associate, Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3), Royal Roads University

Published March 5th, 2013


Case Summary

The City of Victoria is a community of 78,000 people located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, and serves as the metropolitan core for British Columbia’s Capital Region District (CRD), which has a total population of approximately 345,000 (City of Victoria 2011). The City is a signatory of the provincial Climate Action Charter, which commits the City to being carbon neutral in its own operations by 2012. Victoria has taken on the provincial target of reducing greenhouse gases to 33% less than the levels of 2007 by 2020 through a “bottom-up”, community-driven energy and emissions plan. An aging citizen population and aged infrastructure, combined with the economic downturn, reinforced the need for anticipatory planning in order to minimize potential costs and risks arising from climate and energy uncertainty.

Victoria stands out for its strong vision of transformative sustainability and the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation within this framework. This vision has been developed and used for sustainability planning over a five-year period, from the initiation of the 2008 Victoria Sustainability Framework (VSF) to the plans and approaches for operationalizing sustainability goals in the 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) (2013-2016) and finally in the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation throughout the sustainability goals and targets in the 2012 Corporate Strategic Plan and the Official Community Plan (OCP). The key factors contributing to climate innovation in the City include,

  • a foundation of a strong sustainability policy framework (as described above),
  • policy alignments in climate change planning and the timing of the OCP revision process,
  • broad-scale and sustained civic engagement in climate change and sustainability planning at the community scale, and
  • strong regional government relations contributing to the overall integration of mitigation and adaptation in underlying corporate, community and regional sustainability goals and targets.


Sustainable Development Characteristics

The 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (2012-2015) identifies key strategies for transitioning Victoria into a regenerative society, “one that actually restores ecosystems, increases biodiversity and enables communities to be healthier and stronger than they are now”1. The four key drivers listed above have contributed to this integrated vision and will be described below.

A Sustainability Policy Framework

A strong policy framework on sustainability, formalized through the 2008 Victoria Sustainability Framework (VSF)2 and adopted in 2010, provided the overarching framework and guidance for strategic planning in the City. Integrated corporate and community level climate action has been integrated into broader sustainability planning. The framework enables the integration of climate mitigation and adaptation efforts into broader economic, environmental and social sustainability goals such as developing a green economy, improving air quality (through reduced emissions), decreasing poverty and homelessness, etc.

The initiation of the 2009 Sustainability Department was intended to make sustainability a priority within the Corporation. In 2010, the Department spearheaded the Climate Action Program, giving climate change a home within the organization (pers. comm. [2]). The Climate Action Program was designed to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach to climate change with both Corporate and Community plans. This was done to achieve short-term climate and energy action planning, through the Sustainability Action Plan, which aligned with and contributes to the long-term goals of the VSF, which are linked to Victoria’s Master Plans and more broadly to the overall OCP planning process (see below diagram, click here to expand image).3

Taken from Project Charter Climate Action Program (2011)

These integrations have lead to synergistic climate change and sustainability planning in the short-term, leading to the 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) (2012-2015) (approved July 2012) and, in the long-term, through the revised 2012 Official Community Plan (OCP), Shape Your Future (approved August 2012). Of particular interest are the ways the City of Victoria’s OCP integrates the co-benefits of climate action amidst other sustainability goals such as land-use, transportation, infrastructure and food security.

In addition, this strong sustainability framework has spurred new ways of thinking about economic growth in the city. For instance, Victoria’s Economic Development Strategy4 explores opportunities for creating a sustainable economy. This has included and aligned with efforts from the Greater Victoria Development Agency that is emphasizing the concept of economic innovation, which includes pursuing a green tech economy (pers. comm. [6]) and also expanding investment and business in health and clean technology.5

Community Engagement Builds Support

Over the past five years, innovative and sustained forms of participatory engagement and climate action tools have been used to link experts and practitioners and staff and community. The 2008 VSF was the ‘front end visioning process’ to form long-term corporate and community-wide sustainability planning that fed into both the Corporate Strategic Plan and the OCP. The VSF began the processes of public and corporate engagement for a community-informed understanding of sustainability (pers. comm. [2][3]). The VSF helped build corporate and community “buy-in”, developing a solid foundation for sustainability goals and building momentum for the revision of the OCP, Shape Your Future.

In 2009, the OCP consultation process lead to the largest consultation process undertaken in the City, including over 6000 people representing various interest groups.6 Engagement with the community occurred throughout the three-year process via interactive websites, discussion forums, community-led Community Circles and a variety of public meetings and hearings and the development of a Citizen Advisory Council to help guide the process. This created energy and profile around sustainability initiatives and visions of a sustainable Victoria in 2031.

In addition, in 2009, the Sustainability Department and consulting firm C2MP worked together to develop an interactive, web-based, community energy and emissions assessment tool, the Climate Action Navigator (CAN).7 This tool was used as way to development of “bottom-up target-setting” for community-wide emissions reductions including strategic sectoral representatives and stakeholders from the community (over seventy people in a two-day workshop) in identifying targets and priority actions. This quantitative tool and qualitative engagement approach contributed to the 2010 Community Energy and Emissions Plan, which was included in the development of the 2011 Community Climate, Energy and Resiliency Plan.

The final analysis was that for the community target of 33% emissions reductions from 2007 levels by 2020 to be reached, community alliance-building and partnership formation among provincial, regional (CRD), private, non-profit and utility stakeholders would be required. It remains to be seen how the broad-based engagement of the community in sustainability considerations and community energy and emission planning process has or has not initiated a process of ‘buy-in’ among key organizations and actors, building networks of trust to build those future climate action partnerships.

In 2011, the Sustainability Department developed collaborative advisory groups of relevant Departmental Staff and community stakeholders through the Climate Action Program (see Figure 1 above). The Climate & Energy Working Group was initiated to identify and pursue reasonable corporate emissions reductions strategies aimed at achieving carbon neutrality and “safeguarding against the loss of future provincial funding” through the Carbon Neutral Plan. Similarly, a Climate Action Team was struck, including relevant internal Departmental staff and diverse community stakeholders to advise on appropriate emissions reductions activities undertaken in the Climate and Energy Resiliency Plan. These advisory teams aim to build inter-departmental and inter-sectoral collaboration on corporate carbon neutral and community emissions reductions strategies, galvanizing both internal and external support and ‘buy-in’ to the plans (pers. comm. [2]).

This broad civic engagement has built broad-scale support in sustainability planning in Victoria over the past five years, in particular. It could be said that this strong support and vision of sustainability in Victoria, now adopted in the OCP, has also politicized the issue of sustainability in the City. For instance, public debate and protest around the City’s $77 million expenditure on replacing the Johnson Street bridge has raised public concerns of the implications for long-term transportation emissions have arisen, bringing the City’s commitment to long-term sustainability planning into question (pers. comm. [5][6][8]). These debates highlight that critical infrastructure decisions made by the City today will have considerable long-term effects on transportation options and emissions into the future. While the new bridge is seismically suited and emissions have been monitored in the construction process (pers. comm. [5]), the option of including light rail was rejected, leading to public concern, and concern among a couple of active Councilors, about the City’s commitments to long-term sustainability planning, and in particular the long-term transportation targets outlined in the OCP (pers. comm. [6][8]). A similar sentiment has been raised questioning, why in fiscally constrained times, a Sustainability Department is required in the City. The public (and internal) debates pose the question that, if the Corporation takes sustainability seriously, then the whole of the institution, both corporate and operational, should be integrating sustainability into all initiatives and practices, rather than having a separate Department tasked with ‘doing sustainability’ (pers. comm. [3]). These types of questions have lead to considerable dialogue and debate about a sustainable vision for Victoria and clearly demonstrate active civic participation in the area of sustainability.

Inter-regional Collaboration Strengthens Capacity

A strong and supportive relationship with the CRD, comprised of 13 municipalities and 3 electoral areas, has helped to synchronize climate change action and sustainability planning, programs and activities with the City.8 Since 2009, the Climate Action Program (CAP) acts as “a regional hub and facilitator on climate change issues”.9 In particular, staff from CRD’s CAP have close working relationships with staff from Victoria’s Sustainability Department, particularly on matters of integrating climate change into broader sustainability planning. Joint initiatives between the City and CAP have reinforced both mitigation and adaptation strategies that address energy conservation, emissions reductions and enhanced resilience at the corporate, community and regional scale alongside other sustainability goals. Joint initiatives between the City and CRD include residents and businesses in this sustainability vision through a myriad of relevant initiatives and programs. A joint initiative, supported by the Province’s Community Charging Infrastructure Fund, will install ten electric vehicle charging stations in the City; seven will be for public use, recharging vehicles within three to eight hours, and three will be used for the City of Victoria’s fleet.

In addition, both the City and the CRD are part of a two-year national pilot program on adaptation in communities with International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Canada, which follows a five-milestone framework. This project identifies climate-related risks and reduces vulnerability particularly in buildings, infrastructure and public lands. The City of Victoria has completed two Milestones and is completing Milestone 3 in 2013, resulting in the release of an adaptation action plan.10 The City’s goal is to identify co-benefits, synergies and trade-offs, between the CEEP and use similar evaluation criteria so that mitigation options that have low cost and great impact can be examined for adaptive trade-offs or added benefits for resilience, for instance through stormwater management that offsets large-scale infrastructural costs and associated emissions (pers. comm. [2]). The CRD’s Climate Action Program is also in initial stages of facilitating “the development of Municipal Corporate Adaptation Plans”, of which Victoria will be a regional leader.11 ICLEI’s pilot study in both the City and CRD harnesses the potential for coordination and cooperation that have been established through the sustainability framework, to be applied in priority areas for local and regional adaptation, namely buildings, infrastructure and public lands (pers. comm. [2][4]).12

Integration of Climate Change into Sustainability Goals

A strong sustainability framework, extensive and innovative engagement processes and tools and regional government alignment are contributing to Victoria’s innovative approaches in integrating climate action. The recently released Sustainability Action Plan refers to key strategies and initial steps to move Victoria towards becoming a ‘regenerative society’, that works toward a sustainability 2.0 vision of “living better, healthier and wealthier lives in more beautiful surroundings”.13 These principles and strategies are also embedded in the OCP, which incorporates them into the guiding principles for the City for the next thirty years. The City did not anticipate such a coordinated alignment of sustainability objectives and direction (pers. comm. [2]); however, this alignment has allowed for inclusive and collaborative strides to be made internal to the corporation, among the community and in the broader regional area. While it has not been explicitly identified, it is likely that the integration of climate change into broader sustainability goals and alignment in planning processes will contribute to integrated decision-making about the synergies and trade-offs between overall climate change and sustainability goals as Victoria moves into the implementation phase.


Critical Success Factors

  • Leadership from senior-level planning for an overarching sustainability framework created opportunities for integration between mitigation and adaptation, corporate and community climate action strategies and with other sustainability goals and co-benefits.
  • Local culture with high corporate and community interest in sustainability contributed to civic participation in the planning process.
  • Leadership from a City Councilor in 2009 initiated the Sustainability Department; dedicated to environmental and social planning and a dedicated home for climate action.
  • Intergovernmental cooperation between the regional government and the City on joint initiatives related to climate change and sustainability

  • Policy engagement of broad professional networks and public-private sector partner institutions
  • An innovative decision support tool, the Climate Action Navigator (CAN), co-developed by planners in the Sustainability Department and consulting firm, C2MP, provided rigorous energy and emissions reductions scenarios and included participatory analysis from strategic stakeholders. This process helped to prioritize energy and emissions strategies while also facilitating broad support among and buy-in from decision-makers, utilities, large emitters and energy users, and other relevant stakeholder groups, integral for reducing community-wide emissions.
  • Community energy and emissions reduction and resiliency were integrated into the OCP in a stand-alone chapter, detailing climate change and energy goals and embedded through integrations with land use management, housing, transportation and mobility, infrastructure and food systems.
  • Both the City and the Capital Regional District are part of ICLEI adaptation planning pilot study, and the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Team, comprised of academics, industry leaders and other relevant stakeholder groups. This joint initiative allows the City and regional governments to coordinate and cooperate in examination of assets and also to co-identify vulnerable and sensitive areas (Milestone 1&2 complete).
  • The CRD has the inter-municipal working group to share leading municipal strategies among municipal communities.


Community Contact Information

Mark Hornell
Assistant Director, Community Planning
City of Victoria
(250) 385-5711
MHornell@victoria.ca

Allison Ashcroft
Sustainability Planner
City of Victoria
(250) 361-0366
aashcroft@victoria.ca

Sarah Webb
Manager, Climate Action
Capital Regional District
(250) 360-3123
scwebb@crd.bc.ca


What worked?

  • An overarching sustainability-focused policy framework guiding decisions and planning processes to align with sustainability principles and goals.
  • Policies were aligned in a manner that integrated climate actions in community and corporation and embedded them throughout Sustainability Action Plan, which were also legislated in the OCP
  • The establishment of a specific Department devoted to climate change and sustainability within the City ensures innovative solutions for climate action are continually being developed and the momentum for these solutions is prioritized (pers. comm. [2]).
  • Community and Corporate climate action teams, which provided coordination among relevant community stakeholders and encouraged interdepartmental coordination.
  • Cultural environment of Victoria is conducive to staff and community support for climate change and sustainability planning.


What didn’t work?

  • The Sustainability Department is associated with city operations rather than the City Manager’s Office; this gives the perception of that sustainability staff are duplicating skill sets of operational staff (pers. comm. [3]), making the Department vulnerable to changes in City focus and budget priorities.
  • The approval of the most costly infrastructure project in the City’s history ($77M) has politicized the issue of sustainability, forcing discussions of future transportation planning in the City and the appropriate use of funds to encourage visions of sustainability now and into the future.


Financial Costs and Funding Sources

In the 2009 operational budget, the City Manager’s Office shifted priorities in order to create the Sustainability Department (pers. comm. [6]). Only the salaries of the 5 people in the Department are paid for from the City budget.

Other funding has been creatively captured and leveraged through a Climate Action Reserve Fund (set up in 2010). This fund, initiated by the Sustainability Department, has captured monies from the carbon tax since 2009 (approx. $70,000 annually) and a Monk Office rebate for using recycled content, in order to build an endowment for corporate and community climate action. The goal is to leverage these funds (now approx. $350,000) with matching funds in order initiate innovative and relevant climate change and sustainability initiatives.


Research Analysis

Case study methodology was used. Document review and ten semi-structured interviews were performed. Interviews included four City of Victoria staff and two Councilors, a CRD government representative, a Victoria Chamber of Commerce representative and two community leaders.


Detailed Background Case Description

The following quote from Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin is illustrative of Victoria’s unique and comprehensive view of sustainability: “Victoria is committed to a transformative form of sustainability... one that actually restores ecosystems; uses waste as a source of fuel and energy, and asks how our most vulnerable populations can be part of the solutions for social and economic equality”.14

The 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (2012-2015) identifies key strategies for transitioning Victoria into a regenerative society, “one that actually restores ecosystems, increases biodiversity and enables communities to be healthier and stronger than they are now”15. Victoria’s Sustainability Department refers to transitioning to a regenerative society as sustainability 2.0 because it requires shifts beyond simply reducing the wrong things we do, i.e., “sustainability 1.0”, to “living better, healthier and wealthier lives in more beautiful surroundings. This, in turn, can be achieved by creating and using tools to wring maximum social, environmental and economic benefit from everything we decide, build and do. This will help us create the content of a future we want”.16

Three key drivers have contributed to this integrated vision, and these include a strong policy framework on sustainability, extensive community engagement in climate change, sustainability and land-use planning processes, and a strong and supportive relationship with the Capital Regional District,

Policy Framework

A strong policy framework on sustainability, formalized through the 2008 Victoria Sustainability Framework (VSF)17 contributed to considerable guidance for and alignments in strategic planning in integrated climate change and land-use planning the City, both at the corporate and community level. Initiated by a leader in the Planning Department and carried out with a consulting firm, Sheltair Group (currently known as Stantec), the framework has allowed for the integration of climate mitigation and adaptation efforts into broader economic, environmental and social sustainability goals such as developing a green economy, improving air quality (through reduced emissions), decreasing poverty and homelessness, etc.

These integrations have lead to synergistic climate change and sustainability planning in the short-term, through the 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) (2012-2015) (approved July 2012) and, in the long-term, through the revised 2012 Official Community Plan (OCP), Shape Your Future (approved August 2012). Victoria’s Corporate Climate Neutral Plan and Community Climate and Energy Resiliency Plan are integrated into the SAP through actionable steps toward reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency and cost savings and building a more resilient and livable community over the next three years. Two interviewee noted that the Sustainability Action Plan is an operational component of what now resides in the OCP amidst other social, economic and environmental goals (pers. comm. [2][3]).

Of particular interest are the ways the City of Victoria’s OCP integrates the co-benefits of climate action amidst other sustainability goals such as land-use, transportation, infrastructure and food security. For example, the OCP includes plans for increasing transportation options in order to reduce fossil fuel dependence, conserve energy and produce low greenhouse gas emissions and other air contaminants.18 A target included in the OCP is to have 70% of Victoria residents using forms of transportation alternative to personal motorized vehicles by 2030, and this objective and methods of successfully achieving the objective integrate ideas of land-use, transportation and infrastructure planning decisions (pers. comm. [6]). This planning alignment encouraged cross-fertilization of ideas that likely would not have occurred otherwise (pers. comm. [2][3]).

In addition, this strong sustainability framework has spurred new ways of thinking about economic growth in the city. For instance, Victoria’s Economic Development Strategy19 explores goals and strategies for creating a sustainable economy. A leader from the Greater Victoria Development Agency, worked with the Economic Development Advisory Council (including City staff) to initiate discussions, strategies and partnerships with the aim of nurturing a green tech economy in the City. A Green Tech Cluster has been formed to advise on strategic approaches for doing this (pers. comm. [7]).

Community Engagement

Over the past five years, innovative and sustained forms of participatory engagement and climate action tools have been used to link experts and practitioners and staff and community. The 2008 VSF was the ‘front end visioning process’ to form long-term corporate and community-wide sustainability planning that fed into the Corporate Strategic Plan and the OCP. The VSF began to generate processes of public and corporate engagement to develop the framework and the buy-in to support it (pers. comm. [2][3]). The VSF then became a guiding document with corporate and community “buy-in”, developing a solid foundation for sustainability goals and building momentum for the revision of the OCP, Shape Your Future.

The OCP consultation process then began in 2009, and lead to the largest consultation process undertaken in the City, including over 6000 people representing various interest groups.20 Engagement with the community occurred throughout the three-year process through interactive websites, discussion forums, community-led Community Circles and a variety of public meetings and hearings and the development of a Citizen Advisory Council to help guide the process.

In addition, in 2009, an interactive, web-based, community energy and emissions assessment tool, the Climate Action Navigator (CAN), was created by the Sustainability Department and consulting firm C2MP21. CAN generated rigorous quantitative analysis of energy and emissions reductions options based on sixteen integrated scenarios for the city. This tool was used as the basis of strategic stakeholder engagement used to perform “bottom-up target-setting” for community-wide emissions reductions, which later became the basis of the 2010 Community Energy and Emissions Plan. Scenarios included variables such as integrated emissions reductions strategies from key sectors (such as transportation, building, land use, etc.), urban forests, and carbon offsets. Relevant stakeholders representing big emitters and energy users, different industry sectors, utilities and other significant community stakeholders22 were engaged in workshops (over seventy people in two days) to provide qualitative inputs and discussion of trade-offs in the CAN scenarios as well as to prioritize emission reductions target setting and priority activities.

The OCP consultation process and CAN scenario simulation work indicated that the community target of 33% emissions reductions from 2007 levels by 2020 were perceived to be on the high-end of what is considered achievable. For instance, questions about feasible retrofit uptake for residential ground oriented buildings and redevelopment rates for apartment buildings were discussed. Mechanical versus larger envelope upgrades was discussed. Mechanical system upgrades were considered to be more effective. Instead of overall sectoral targets, ‘bottom-up’ targets were made at the strategy level with discussions of whether they are on the low, medium or high end of achievable. The extent of control the City can play in these strategies was also assessed in three descriptive ways - control, influence and encourage. In many cases, it was concluded that emissions reductions at the community scale would require considerable partnerships, including provincial, regional (CRD), private, non-profit and utility partnerships, in order to achieve ambitious targets. This activity reinforced the concept that it’s not only the municipality that is responsible for achieving targets, but collaboration and partnership with the key stakeholders and actors in the broader community.

It remains to be seen how the broad-based engagement of the community in sustainability considerations and community energy and emission planning process has or has not initiated a process of ‘buy-in’ among key organizations and actors, building networks of trust to build those future climate action partnerships. Two interviewees noted that the considerable civic participation in the City is attributed to a particularly high local interest in sustainability (pers. comm. [5][6]), and this notion is supported by the fact that the CRD contains over 700 NGOs (and additional supporting projects such as Transition Victoria23). Albeit it is difficult to gauge whether engagement is creating buy-in. Building upon the prevalent sustainability mindedness and sustained engagement has been critical and will continue to be critical as Victoria moves toward implementing sustainability actions.

Issues that challenge the City in its efforts to implement sustainability have begun to emerge. For instance, the largest infrastructure expenditure in the $77 million replacement of the Johnson Street bridge has incited public protests and referendums in the City.24 Citizens and a number of City Councilors argue that the project encourages single-occupant vehicle use into the downtown core, and therefore is contrary to the long-term sustainability planning now outlined in the OCP. The option for light rail infrastructure was declined, bringing into question, the City’s commitments to the long-term transportation emissions implications of the project. While the decision involved considerable emissions planning, including a life cycle analysis of the project and reporting on emissions associated with the project (pers. comm. [8]), the public outrage demonstrates a strong commitment to the future sustainability vision in the City.

Another public debate has emerged, involving the costs associated with maintaining a Sustainability Department within the City (pers. comm. [2][3][5]). Economically constrained times have motivated the question about whether a Department devoted to sustainability enhances inter-Departmental projects and collaboration in the City or whether it relegates sustainability to a particular group within the Corporation, thereby inhibiting broad scale responsibility for sustainability projects and decision making. The Corporate Strategic Plan prioritizes sustainability within the Corporation as a whole.25 There has not been an analysis on whether and how the Sustainability Department is the most effective approach for embedding sustainability priorities into City operations and decision-making (pers. comm. [3]). The strong support and vision of sustainability in Victoria, now adopted in the OCP, is likely a critical factor in motivating this type of civic participation in these sustainability questions.

Inter-regional Collaboration

A strong and supportive relationship with the CRD, comprised of 13 municipalities and 3 electoral areas, has helped to facilitate synchronized climate change action and sustainability planning, programs and activities.26 Since 2009, the Climate Action Program (CAP) acts as “a regional hub and facilitator on climate change issues”.27 The CRD CAP works directly with staff and elected officials from local governments across the region to support the development and implementation of both community-wide and corporate climate action plans that engage, reduce and prepare. In particular, close working relationships with staff from Victoria’s Sustainability Department and CRD CAP staff are generating joint initiatives that complement efforts on matters of integrating climate change into broader environmental, economic, social and resiliency sustainability goals and plans (pers. comm. [2][5]).

Joint initiatives between the City and CRD include residents and businesses in this sustainability vision. Community stakeholders are engaged through relevant initiatives and programs such as the LiveSmart BC, BC Small Business Program, the Time of Sale Home Energy Labeling pilot project, the Climate Smart greenhouse gas management training for small businesses, the GreenStart Small Business Pilot Program and a Climate Action Student Innovation Expo. In addition, the Province’s Community Charging Infrastructure Fund is supporting a joint initiative that will install ten electric vehicle charging stations in the City; seven will be for public use, recharging vehicles within three to eight hours, and three will be used for the City of Victoria’s fleet.

The City and the CRD are part of a two-year national pilot program on adaptation in communities with International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Canada, which follows a five-milestone framework. This project identifies climate-related risks and reduces vulnerability particularly in buildings, infrastructure and public lands. That both are involved in the pilot is enabling opportunities for the regional and City governments to coordinate and cooperate in priority areas for adaptation, particularly regarding buildings, infrastructure and public lands (pers. comm. [2][4]). In 2013, the City will achieve Milestone 3 of ICLEI’s Five Milestone Process for adaptation,28 which results in the development of a local adaptation action plan. The City’s goal is to identify co-benefits, synergies and trade-offs, between the CEEP and use similar evaluation criteria so that mitigation options that have low cost and great impact can be examined for adaptive trade-offs or added benefits for resilience (pers. comm. [2]). For instance, a stormwater utility is being considered, whereby taxpayers pay for the use of impermeable surfaces (e.g. concrete driveways and patios) to help offset costs of large-scale infrastructure replacement and also to incentivize greater use of impermeable surfaces (e.g. gravel, grass, etc.). The CRD’s Climate Action Program is in initial stages to “facilitate the development of Municipal Corporate Adaptation Plans”, of which Victoria will be a regional leader.29 This CRD project will provide the research, information and tools regional municipal partners need “to build internal capacity and address climate adaptation issues on a corporate scale”.30

Integrated Sustainability Goals

A strong sustainability framework, ‘bottom-up target-setting’ tools, such as the Climate Action Navigator, extensive climate change and sustainability engagement via multiple and sustained processes and alignment with the regional government are integrating climate action into broader sustainability goals in the corporation and in the community. The recently released Sustainability Action Plan refers to key strategies and initial steps to move Victoria towards becoming a ‘regenerative society’, that, as noted by the Sustainability Director, works to build a sustainability 2.0 vision of “living better, healthier and wealthier lives in more beautiful surroundings”.31 These principles and strategies are also embedded in the OCP, which incorporates them into the guiding principles for the City for the next thirty years. The City did not anticipate such a coordinated alignment of sustainability objectives and direction (pers. comm. [2]); however, this alignment has allowed for inclusive and collaborative strides to be made internal to the corporation, among the community and in the broader regional area. While it has not been explicitly identified, it is likely that this integration of climate change into broader sustainability goals and alignment in planning processes will contribute to integrated decision-making about the synergies and trade-offs between overall climate change and sustainability goals as Victoria moves toward implementation.


Strategic Questions

  1. What are the advantages of sustainability versus climate change framework?
  2. Given limited resources within municipal contexts, is a Department a good use of resources? When and under what conditions.
  3. What types of tools and strategies can increase civic participation and engagement? Are there areas more appropriate for the public and which areas need to link directly to strategic stakeholders? To what extent does engagement contribute to political pressure to keep sustainability a priority?
  4. What role can regional governments play in encouraging climate and sustainability action?


Resources and References

Cavens, D. and N. Miller 2012. City of Victoria’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan. Final Report (May 2012). http://www.fcm.ca/Documents/reports/PCP/City_of_Victoria_Community_Energ... Regional District. Climate Action Program. http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/index.htm

City of Victoria 2011. Project Charter: Climate Action Program (April 8). http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/CAP_P...

City of Victoria 2012. A three year Sustainability Action Plan (2102-2015). http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/Adapt...

City of Victoria 2012. Official Community Plan: Shape Your Future. http://www.shapeyourfuturevictoria.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/OCP_Boo...

City of Victoria 2012.Victoria Sustainability Framework. http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/departments/sustainability/sustainability...

City of Victoria. Summary Report: City of Victoria Completes the First two Milestones in ICLEI Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/Adapt...

Fowler, K. 2011. Governance and Priorities Committee Report. (April 7) http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/Execu...

Transition Victoria. A regional initiative. http://transitionvictoria.ning.com/


1City of Victoria 2012. Sustainability Action Plan. Retrieved September 28th, 2012 from http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/susta..., return to text

2VSF 2008. http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/departments/sustainability/sustainability..., return to text

3Fowler, K. 2011. City of Victoria Governance and Priorities Committee Report. http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/Execu..., return to text

4GVDA. Victoria’s economic development strategy. Greater Victoria’s Development Agency. return to text http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Business/Documents/economic-development-st..., return to text

5City of Victoria. 2012 Sustainability Action Plan (2012-2015) http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/Susta..., return to text

6City. Shape your future process map. Retrieved July 15th, 2012 from http://www.shapeyourfuturevictoria.ca/process/official-community-plan-pr..., return to text

7C2MP emerged from UBC research scientists interested in monitoring and measuring energy and emissions at the building and neighbourhood scale. The team has developed a unique set of tools that include scenarios and diverse parameters to facilitate decision-making. return to text

8Other supportive partnerships and alliances are critical as well but mapping them extends beyond the bounds of this work. return to text

9CRD. Climate Action website. Retrieved July 28th at http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/overview.htm, return to text

10The first to milestones relate to initiating and researching potential risks and vulnerabilities to climate change. This includes building capacity through a strategic adaptation team and Council resolution and undertaking vulnerability analyses and risk assessments. return to text

11CRD. Climate Action website http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/prepare.htm, return to text

12Ibid. return to text

13Brooke, Roy. 2012. iPolitics (July 4). http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/07/04/roy-brooke-canada-should-tap-massive-..., return to text

14City of Victoria 2012. Sustainability Action Plan. Retrieved September 28th, 2012 from http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/susta..., return to text

15City of Victoria 2012. Sustainability Action Plan. Retrieved September 28th, 2012 from http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Departments/Sustainability/Documents/susta..., return to text

16 Brooke, Roy. 2012. iPolitics (July 4). http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/07/04/roy-brooke-canada-should-tap-massive-..., return to text

17VSF 2008. http://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/departments/sustainability/sustainability..., return to text

18City of Victoria. 2012. Shape your Future (p.51) http://www.shapeyourfuturevictoria.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/OCP_Par..., return to text

19GVDA. Victoria’s economic development strategy. Greater Victoria’s Development Agency. http://www.victoria.ca/assets/Business/Documents/economic-development-st..., return to text

20City. Shape your future process map. Retrieved July 15th, 2012 from http://www.shapeyourfuturevictoria.ca/process/official-community-plan-pr..., return to text

21C2MP emerged from UBC research scientists interested in monitoring and measuring energy and emissions at the building and neighbourhood scale. The team has developed a unique set of tools that include scenarios and diverse parameters to facilitate decision-making. return to text

22Climate change professionals, industry experts, builders, bankers, not for profits, Ministry of Transportation, Fortis, Hydro and large property owners (Thrifty’s Foods) and energy users (Island Farms) were included. return to text

23http://transitionvictoria.ning.com/, return to text

24Hopper, T. 2012. “Victoria’s contentious $77M bridge aims for landmark status” in National Post (Feb. 24, 2012). http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/24/johnson-street-bridge/, return to text

25City. Our Bright Future: Victoria’s Strategic Plan (2013-2015). http://www.victoria.ca/assets/City~Hall/Documents/StrategicPlan_Summary1..., return to text

26Other supportive partnerships and alliances are critical as well but mapping them extends beyond the bounds of this work. return to text

27CRD. Climate Action website. Retrieved July 28th at http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/overview.htm, return to text

28ICLEI. Changing Climates, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation. http://www.icleicanada.org/adaptationtool, return to text

29CRD. Climate Action website http://www.crd.bc.ca/climatechange/prepare.htm, return to text

30Ibid. return to text

31Brooke, Roy. 2012. iPolitics (July 4). http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/07/04/roy-brooke-canada-should-tap-massive-..., return to text