A regional integrated planning strategy

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is changing. With a 4.5% population increase from 2011 to 2016 growth has been steady, particularly in places like Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan where growth has been nearly double this rate. The economy has been shifting away from forestry towards service and retail sectors. Demographics are changing, housing costs are rising, and people are increasingly experiencing climate change impacts. These changes are putting rising demands on management of water resources, infrastructure investments, and land use decision-making, among other local government responsibilities. A regionally coordinated approach can offer a more effective and efficient way to respond to these challenges.

In this context, the CVRD in partnership with its member municipalities developed Cowichan 2050. This process provides a starting point for a more integrated, regional planning approach. Discussions resulted in three major documents:

  1.  A regional "Call to Action" which commits the municipal councils and regional board to continue to collaborate on matters of regional concern;
  2. A Regional Working Group scope of work, outlining the nature of the work to be undertaken on a going forward basis; and
  3.  "Backgrounder" summarizing policy directions from hundreds of plans within the region, and providing guidance for moving forward in a collaborative way.

The Cowichan 2050 planning framework, made up of these three documents, is currently undergoing a process to be endorsed by the five local governments within the region.

To see why it is important, please take a look at this video.