Partnerships and Community Initiatives

A number of partnerships between federal, provincial, and regional government agencies and also between government agencies and community groups have been successful in initiating and promoting measures to reduce the release of chemical contaminants to the environment.

Such initiatives have been particularly successful in addressing non-point sources of contaminants to the environment. It is important to encourage increased involvement of community groups by improving communication on priority issues and by working with these groups to find ways to most effectively implement voluntary instruments such as BMPs and codes of practice to reduce contaminant releases.

Reductions in the release of metals and other toxic substances from a broad range of point and non-point sources have been achieved through both regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives implemented by federal, provincial and municipal government agencies, industry, industry associations, and community groups.

Several non-regulatory initiatives were undertaken through long-term partnerships formed as a result of the Fraser River Action Plan (FRAP), the Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative (GBEI), the Georgia Basin Action Plan (GBAP), Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP), the Burrard Inlet Environmental Assessment Plan (BIEAP), and the Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours Environmental Action Program (VEHEAP). The partners (which included Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, BC Ministry of Environment, other agencies from all levels of government, and various other partners) provided funding and support for studies to better identify and understand toxic issues in the south coastal region of BC and helped to increase awareness of these issues in both industry and the public. Projects addressed a wide range of contaminant sources including industrial discharges, municipal wastewaters, and non-point sources such as agricultural and urban stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), contaminated sites, and atmospheric deposition.

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) was formed to bring key players together to address multijurisdictional issues which threaten the overall sustainability of the Fraser Basin. The FBC has a number of programs, basin-wide and regional, which incorporate contaminants related concerns.

Smart Growth BC, a non-government organization (NGO), was created jointly by the University of Victoria Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy and West Coast Environmental Law Association for the purpose of promoting environmentally responsible planning for communities within the Georgia Basin and elsewhere in BC. By working with municipalities and planners, developers, community groups, and businesses, Smart Growth promoted environmentally responsible land use and development. In 2010, Smart Growth BC was acquired by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). Canada Green Building Council is a not-for-profit, national organization which was formed in 2002 to advance both green building and sustainable community development practices in Canada and holds the license for the LEED green building rating system in Canada. However, while Smart Growth BC promoted environmentally responsible land use and growth, protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve, and green space protection, the primary focus of the CaGBC is the promotion of green buildings.

Educational and outreach programs involving business sectors and associations, community groups, NGOs, and the general public are essential in effectively addressing contaminants-related issues, especially non-point source pollution. Examples of projects initiated to reduce NPS pollution in affected watersheds include: