Growth Strategies Office Backgrounder


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Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Growth Strategies Office

NOVEMBER 2000




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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Nature of Our Work

Work Plan/Accomplishments

Objective 1:

Objective 2

Objective 3

Objective 4

Future Priorities



Introduction

This paper provides background on the mandate of the Growth Strategies Office (GSO), summarizes its main activities during its five years of existence, and outlines its proposed priorities for the coming years. It is intended to give some context to those clients who may wish to provide input into future GSO priorities.

In 1995 the provincial government responded to the challenges of rapid, uncoordinated growth in BC's major urban areas by adopting the Growth Strategies Act (GSA) which now forms Part 25 of the Local Government Act. To oversee implementation of this legislation it also created the GSO, as a branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The GSO has nine staff, including an executive director, three regional co-ordinators, a land use planning advisor, a director of special projects, a research officer and two support staff.

The GSO's mandate is to promote effective growth management in British Columbia and to work with others to tackle problems associated with rapid growth - including air pollution, traffic congestion, loss of green spaces and agricultural land and lack of affordable housing. Priority has been given to the three high growth regions in British Columbia - the Lower Mainland, Southern Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley.

To help regional districts to develop growth strategies the Ministry also created the Regional Growth Strategy Planning Grant Program. Since 1995, the Ministry has awarded grants totalling $2.5 million to 11 regional districts that have undertaken 35 growth strategies-related projects.



The Nature of Our Work

The majority of GSO staff time has been focussed directly on regional growth management - helping regional districts get started on growth strategies, co-ordinating provincial involvement and helping to develop implementation agreements. However, a significant and increasing amount of staff time has been spent in other growth management-related areas, such as:

Much of GSO's work could be characterized as "behind the scenes", promoting, co-ordinating and facilitating, as most of the actual "tangibles" are delivered through provincial government agencies or are adopted by regional and local governments. Examples of more visible products for which GSO staff have had primary responsibility include the legislation creating the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink) and the Development Cost Charges Best Practices Guide.



Work Plan/Accomplishments

The GSO operates under a work plan that outlines the branch's objectives for the short, medium, and long-term. These objectives are:

1. To promote growth management at a regional scale and to co-ordinate the provincial government presence in development of regional growth strategies;

2. To help implement growth strategies;

3. To ensure that the province's land use planning and regulation system supports the growth management goals contained in the growth strategies legislation; and,

4. Ensure that local government interests are represented in provincial land and coastal programs, policies and processes.



The following is a partial list of GSO accomplishments to date for each of these objectives.

Objective 1: Promote growth management at a regional scale and to co-ordinate the provincial government presence in development of regional growth strategies.


Objective 2: Help implement growth strategies.


Objective 3: Ensure that our land use planning and regulation system supports the growth management goals contained in the growth strategies legislation.


Objective 4: Ensure that local government interests are represented in provincial land and coastal programs, policies and processes.




Future Priorities

The priorities listed below are where GSO intends to focus most of its time, effort and resources over the coming months and years. This information is drawn primarily from the 2000/2001 branch operational plan. Priorities are adjusted periodically, to reflect government and Ministry priorities and stakeholder input.



Objective Future Priorities
1. Promote growth management at a regional scale and co-ordinate the provincial government presence in development of regional growth strategies
  • Assist the FVRD and CRD in the final phases of developing and adopting their growth strategies.
  • Assist RD's that do not yet have an RGS but which have growth related issues to undertake "regional issue assessments".
  • Co-ordinate and implement a ministry strategy that addresses provincial growth management issues in fast growth regions that do not yet have an RGS, i.e. Cowichan Valley RD and Squamish-Lillooet RD.
  • Assist GVRD and RDN to undertake the required five year review of their growth strategies.
    2. Help implement growth strategies
    • Assist in negotiation of implementation agreements.
    • Assist municipalities in developing regional context statements.
    • Assist RD's to develop monitoring programs.
    • Promote provincial/local cooperation on growth management issues.
    • Develop indicators to measure progress being made towards the 14 goals of the growth strategies legislation.
    • Help to develop a Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park management plan that will implement the Perry Commission recommendations regarding the long-term security of the Greater Victoria Water Supply.
    • Work with other governments, educational institutions and other organizations to promote urban sustainability, through publications, events, pilot projects, etc.
      3. Ensure that the province's land use planning and regulation system supports the growth management goals contained in the growth strategy legislation.
      • Continue to provide leadership and support to the Development Finance Review Committee.
      • Provide leadership in the development of provincial policy guidelines (including: OCP content, OCP consultation and fringe area planning).
      • Co-ordinate Ministry participation in government response to Auditor General's Report on Drinking Water.
      • Co-ordinate Ministry perspectives on retooling government's approach to the management of aggregate resources.
      • Assist MELP to finalize/implement the Fish Protection Act - Section 12 Riparian Policy Directive.
      • Continue to work with other ministries to achieve legislative and program changes that are supportive of growth strategies goals.
        4. Ensure that local government interests are represented in provincial land and coastal programs, policies and processes
        • Advocate for the integration of local government interests, in the implementation of the BC Coastal Zone position Paper, and in Federal coastal initiatives.
        • Through participation in the provincial "Inter-Agency Management Committee", ensure appropriate local government involvement in LRMP's and linking with growth strategies.
          Support for achieving other ministry objectives.
          • Part of ministry team implementing the new RD service review and withdrawal legislation.
          • Help facilitate agreements between RD's and municipalities on RD service reviews.


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