The Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy (CVSS) is a regional plan that creates new knowledge and leading approaches to sustainability for communities in the Comox Valley. The strategy will guide the policies and plans of regional and local governments. It will also recommend specific actions to be undertaken by a variety of partners, including community organizations. The CVSS is the result of collaboration between four local governments, input by dedicated community members, and review by the public and various government agencies.
The CVRD has wrapped up the first phase of its sustainability strategy implementation plan in the electoral areas. Highlights of the first phase included:
- Home energy incentive program – two phases of this program resulted in energy efficiency upgrades in over 80 electoral area homes.
- Rural transit shelters - Five rural transit shelters have been installed to date (Royston, Union Bay, Buckley Bay, Black Creek, and Saratoga Beach). CVRD staff are currently in the planning stages for a shelter to be installed near the I-Hos Gallery on Comox Road.
- Cycling amenities - Signage has been installed on priority rural area cycling routes and artistic themed bike racks have been installed at a variety of rural area businesses and facilities. Three styles of bike racks were installed in a total of ten locations, see these links for photos:
- Renewable energy demonstration projects - Four solar photovoltaic systems were installed in early 2013 in the following locations: Oyster River and Fanny Bay fire halls, Royston south sewer project office, and the Little River water services building on Anderton Road. All four installations were grid-tied via BC Hydro’s net metering program. A full year of operational data from these facilities illustrates the viability of solar photovoltaic systems in the CVRD. Further information on these demonstration projects, including live feeds of power generation and a very informative video about solar power, can be found here: www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/solarpower.
CVRD is developing options for a second phase of electoral area sustainability strategy implementation, scheduled to commence in 2015.
At the February 23, 2010 Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) board meeting, the board of directors received the Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy (CVSS) to consider it as a guide to consider sustainability in all future actions.
The benefits in adopting a more sustainable outlook affect all communities, organizations and all citizens throughout the Comox Valley. The strategy was developed with every resident in mind including the current and future population. The information in the CVSS is not only applicable to local government, and other public and private institutions, but can be implemented on an individual level as well. The CVSS covers sustainability on many levels, including: housing and land use, building, infrastructure, transportation, ecosystems and parks, food systems, economic development and most importantly social and community well being. CVRD staff are now developing detailed implementation, monitoring and reporting programs.
Difference between RGS and Sustainability Strategy
- Both strategies look to the future and both strategies are about improving the quality of life and the environment in Comox Valley. As a result, the two study teams will work in close tandem to make sure information flows back and forth and that the two sets of strategies are complementary.
- The sustainability strategy will focus on establishing specific environmental principles and related regional and municipal actions (e.g. policies related to local food production, sustainability checklist for developers, policies regarding pesticide use, incentives for using alternative transportation).
- The RGS will focus on the overall pattern of land use in the Valley and the creation of a sustainable human settlement pattern. As such, it's focus will be on defining where future growth will occur and the appropriate type, intensity and form of that growth.
- Specifically, the RGS may create clear boundaries for non-developable areas, will generally guide standards and expectations for growth within existing built-up areas and will identify specific areas where future growth is appropriate over the next 30 years.
- In defining the above, the RGS will also identify specific regional services and priorities to support the envisioned growth strategy (e.g. required infrastructure, transportation system, open space and natural system, parks and recreation needs, appropriate housing types and forms, requirements for agricultural lands and natural resources).
- The RGS is a mandated regulatory document whereas the sustainability strategy is something that CVRD elected officials felt would be useful - the RGS will be a framework for informing and influencing decision making on land use and related uses - it will guide and in some cases may regulate future actions by the CVRD board and the municipalities of Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland.
- OCPs will be updated within two years of the adoption of the RGS to bring them into compliance
- Among other things, the final RGS will contain the following elements:
a vision statement for the future of Comox Valley population and employment projections policy statements addressing specific land-use planning issues strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions