Planning in Context – BC Communities, Health and the Built Environment

How can we build it better? For walkers, cyclists, and wheelers, kids and seniors, the fit and wanna be fit? BCAHL’s Planning in Context webinar, held Thursday June 20th, showcased some great examples of how good planning helps make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Qualicum Bike Path

Kelly Cameron, a Forest Technologist, who has worked for the District of Mission for the past 17 years, spoke about the work of District of Mission to make better use of their forest resources, and ensure that families are getting back to nature in their own neighbourhood. She described how an interpretive forest is being managed for the community, adding trails and campsites to entice people into the trees. A passport program for young and old is an added incentive to check out Mission’s kilometres of trails.

Then it was on to City of Burnaby’s priorities for increasing active transportation and sustainability. Margaret Manifold and Ian Wasson, Social and Urban Planners both of whom have been with the City for 10 years, described a number of initiatives that the Burnaby has implemented, including the Mobility Access Planning MAP projects, Central Valley Greenway and other projects. Both Margaret and Ian provided great images of planning in action.

Luke Sales, the Director of Planning from the Town of Qualicum Beach described their comprehensive Age Friendly Transportation Plan and wider Sustainability Plan. Their recipe for success in funding active transportation projects is breaking large projects into different sized ‘portions’ that are shovel-ready. Also of great interest to participants were the Town’s by-laws that help to promote healthy eating and smoke free living.

Of key interest to many participants were the inevitable barriers to active transportation of snow and rain, and a desire for more northern examples. BCAHL plans to address these issues in a future webinar – we always welcome feedback and suggestions for future speakers! In the interim, there are some valuable lessons learned from smaller and northern communities compiled from our BEAT program, which was led by BC Recreation and Parks Association.