New leadership at the ELC


ELC’s Executive Director Deborah Curran on a Water Law field trip to Cowichan (Photo: Holly Pattison)

This summer, the ELC welcomed UVic Law alumna Deborah Curran to her new role as Executive Director. While the role might be new, Deborah has worked with the ELC since as far back as 2005, when she supervised a project on developing best practices wetland laws (that project eventually led to the Green Bylaws Toolkit, now known as THE go-to document for city planners interested in developing enviro-friendly bylaws.)

“The ELC is a winning model,” says Deborah. “It pairs enthusiastic and skilled law students with passionate people from community organizations and First Nations to create a better environment. I am continually amazed at the breadth and effectiveness of our work, and honoured to be leading the ELC into its next 20 years as a key piece of the sustainable community infrastructure in BC.”

Deborah supervises Clinic projects and teaches the Intensive Clinic. She is cross-appointed, teaching courses at both the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies. As an expert in municipal, sustainability and water law issues, Deborah has been deeply involved in the development and implementation of BC’s new Water Sustainability Act and its regulations, providing advice and producing or supervising numerous reports and submissions. Recently, Deborah teamed up with UVic Law Professor Val Napoleon to launch a three-year community research project on colonial and indigenous water law in BC. It’s no wonder that the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia named Deborah as their 2016 Land Champion for her outstanding work in sustainable land use in BC.

Deborah also knows her way around the non-profit world. As co-founder of Smart Growth BC, she served as the president of the board for five years. She is on the board of Ecojustice and has served on a number of ad hoc committees advising on projects, including for the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Evergreen Canada, and the Victoria Foundation. She is a past member of the City of Victoria Advisory Planning Commission.

Deborah’s colleagues know her as caring, pragmatic and whip-smart, with a wicked sense of humour. She is sure to make sure the ELC is well-prepared to take on the next 20 years of guiding the future of public interest environmental law in BC.