EcoPlan’s work with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) has recently been recognized by UBCM’s Excellence in Governance awards. Receiving an honourable mention in the governance category, the Cowichan 2050 Regional Collaboration Framework is a leading-edge statutory policy tool and collaborative approach to regional planning and decision-making. Emphasizing regional collaboration, communication, and coordination, its purpose is to address the crosscutting nature of emergent challenges faced by local governments, such as those related to climate change and population growth.
EcoPlan supported the CVRD in the development of Cowichan 2050. The project included a forum for elected officials, senior local government staff, representatives from Cowichan-region First Nations, and representatives from region-serving non-profit organizations to strengthen relationships and improve interjurisdictional collaboration. A total of 65 participants took part in the work, which included three full-day regional working group workshops, several smaller project team and senior staff sessions, and an elected officials forum.
The work culminated in the production of three key deliverables, which together constitute the foundation of the Framework:
- Call to Action:A statement of commitment to regional collaboration that grounds the Framework that is in the process of being endorsed by local governments;
- Regional Working Group Scope of Work: A TOR-like document that provides some structure and direction around how regional collaboration will take place in future; and
- Regional Backgrounder:A “primer” that outlines opportunities for more proactive, collaborative action across different regional planning issues and areas.