Victoria, BC–The Environmental Law Clinic is pleased to announce the release of the Green Bylaws Toolkit, a comprehensive resource that will help local governments protect threatened ecosystems. The Toolkit explains how to use a myriad of tools—from planning to regulatory bylaws—to protect wetlands, grasslands and other important ecosystems.
“Protecting green infrastructure is one step municipalities can take towards creating vibrant and prosperous communities” says Deborah Curran, municipal law instructor and ELC Project Director.
The Green Bylaws Toolkit is the culmination of a major initiative by students at the Clinic in collaboration with Curran and ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn. Ducks Unlimited initiated the original Green Bylaws Toolkit by asking the Clinic to draft model bylaws for local governments to protect wetlands. The Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia then asked for similar bylaws to protect grasslands. Following extensive consultations and input from local and regional government planning staff, and with the support of the Wetlands Stewardship Partnership, Curran assisted with transforming the project into the current Green Bylaws Toolkit. (Available at www.greenbylaws.ca.)
The Toolkit includes an integrated set of bylaw provisions that can protect sensitive areas and maintain green infrastructure. There are model provisions for: Regional Growth Strategies, Official Community Plans, Development Permit Areas, Zoning, Tax Exemptions, Environmental Assessment, Stormwater Management and other regulatory tools.
By protecting wetlands and grasslands, currently the most threatened habitats in Canada, communities not only protect wildlife, they maintain a cost-effective green infrastructure that reduces the cost of flood control, water treatment, drought prevention, erosion control and adaptation to climate change.
Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed says, “A decade ago we were pioneering conservation planning with few examples to follow. The Green Bylaws Toolkit now provides local government with comprehensive approaches and examples for stewardship planning and bylaws in one document.”