Building Resilient Communities: Climate Adaptation in Victoria

Invitation to Building Resilient Communities: Climate Adaptation in Victoria

The event is FREE!

Date: June 6th, 2024

Time: 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Location: Ambrosia Banquets & Events, 638 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC

Join the Community Social Planning Council, climate experts and community members for an evening of learning, conversation, and good food on June 6th. Speakers from the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, First Nations, and the City of Victoria will share climate projections for Victoria and how communities can be ready to adapt. We’ll share a meal, then have breakout conversations to hear your thoughts and concerns about climate change, and what would help community members build resilience.
This event is part of the Climate Equity by Design project led by the Community Social Planning Council, which will inform the City of Victoria’s forthcoming Climate Change Adaptation Plan to ensure that adaptation strategies are tailored to the unique needs of the community and based on the lived experience of those who are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. The CEbD project focuses on low-income, IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Color), 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and households, Indigenous communities and racialized minorities to ensure that adaptation planning in Victoria is reflective of their expressed needs, perceptions and capacity.
Please join us to share your thoughts and connect with others around resilience!
Here is the link to the Eventbrite for the June 6th event.

Family Day Factsheet: No Family Left Behind 2024

As part of the Happiness and Wellbeing Lab project, the United Way South Vancouver Island and Community Council release an annual family day fact sheet. The fact sheet brings awareness that even though we may all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. As we celebrate this BC Family Day, let's make sure that No Family Gets Left Behind.

Let’s Talk Urban Living With Uytae Lee

Let's Talk Urban Living With Uytae Lee

Join us for an exciting evening as we host our Annual General Meeting and then dive into the world of urban living and civic storytelling with Uytae Lee of popular urbanist YouTube channel About Here. He'll kick off with some Victoria area trivia before exploring topics ranging from housing to transit and beyond, promising an engaging dialogue on the facets that shape our urban experience.

Timing

5:00-5:30pm: AGM, all welcome — if you'd like to sign up as a member to the CSPC, click here.

5:30-6:00pm: Mingling, food and beverages available for purchase — we're pleased to have Maiiz Nixtamal on-site selling fresh tamales, street corn, and chips and salsa!

6:00-7:00pm: Uytae Lee

Venue: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St, Victoria, BC V8W 2B2

Grab your friends and come join us for a fun-filled evening of captivating stories, great food, and exciting discussions.

About Uytae Lee

Uytae Lee is a columnist and filmmaker whose work covers the complex issues surrounding our cities. He’s the creator of the CBC series ‘Stories About Here’, where he explores topics such as underground streams, zoning reform, public washrooms, street-food, and much much more. In addition to his CBC series, Uytae also produces urban planning documentaries for his own YouTube channel About Here.

Community Green Mapping Presentation & Workshop

Join us for the visit of Wendy Brawer, the distinguished Director of Greenmap.org based in New York. With an impressive track record spanning over 25 years, Wendy has passionately contributed to the creation of numerous regional maps, notably within the CRD/Greater Victoria region, and has extended her expertise globally, leaving her mark on thousands more.

This special event celebrates her visit to Victoria and UVIC, where she aims to connect and offer support to various neighbourhood initiatives, social inclusion efforts, and placemaking projects. Wendy is deeply committed to advancing climate justice, fostering equity, and galvanizing impactful action within our communities.

Wendy's visit is supported by the Community Social Planning Council, Community Living BC, UVIC (CIFAL, the Map Shop and Community Engaged Learning) and the Community Association of Oak Bay.

Learn more about Wendy here.

Wednesday, Sept. 27
9:45 am–12 pm
Kwench 2031 Store St
“Community Green Mapping Presentation and Workshop”
Sponsored by Community Social Planning Council, Community Living British Columbia, University of Victoria, and CIFAL Victoria.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Media: Colton Whittaker - colton@communitycouncil.ca
Events: Maeve Lydon - mlydon@uvic.ca

CEA Energy & Climate Action Award

We are thrilled and deeply honored to receive the Climate and Energy Action award from the Community Energy Association (CEA) for our groundbreaking E-Bike Incentive Pilot Program. This recognition would not have been possible without the unwavering support and collaboration of our outstanding partners and funders: the District of Saanich, The University of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Foundation.

A Collective Vision for a Greener and More Equitable Future 

At the core of our success lies a shared vision and a strong commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly transportation while ensuring equity and accessibility for all. We recognize that sustainable solutions must be inclusive and address the specific needs of all families, especially those in low-income. The support of our partners has been instrumental in driving this vision forward and turning it into a reality that benefits our community and beyond. We stand united in our dedication to reducing carbon emissions and promoting accessible, sustainable mobility solutions.

Paving the Way for a Provincial Program

One of the most gratifying outcomes of our pilot program is the influence it has had on policy at a provincial level, with a strong equity lens. This initiative, which focuses on providing rebates based on income qualifications, has acted as a model for a wider provincial program emphasizing equity, with the goal of empowering families and individuals.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Community Energy Association (CEA) for recognizing our dedication and honoring us and our partners with this award. The accolade is not just a testament to our efforts but also a celebration of the remarkable collaboration that has propelled our initiative to success. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a sustainable and equitable future and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners and funders in achieving greater milestones. Together, we will continue to make a positive impact and inspire change.

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Author(s):

CSPC Team

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The climate crisis effects everyone, but it does not impact everyone equally. That's where we come in. Click below to learn more about the E-bike program and our work in the Climate Equity space!

Moss Street Farmers Market – Common Ground Community Mapping Inclusion Project

Join us this Saturday, September 2, at the Moss Street Farmers Market as we showcase our Common Ground Community Mapping Inclusion Project in partnership with Community Living BC.

Share your experiences on a large map of the CRD with sticky notes. Spin the wheel for fun prizes, take surveys on community inclusion, and record video responses at our ring-light station. Let's build an inclusive CRD together! See you there!

This project is in partnership with

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Preserving Paradise: A Hopeful Transformation of Public Transit

Imagine a breathtaking island community where golden sunsets, towering trees, and thriving coastal waters allure residents and tourists alike. However, beneath this paradise, a pressing challenge looms over its transportation system, impeding progress on accessibility and environmental sustainability while jeopardizing the cherished natural vistas.  

During a recent trip to Cowichan Lake, I witnessed glaring transportation issues on a mid-July weekend. Lanes were congested with solo commuters seeking refuge from the bustling South Island. Campsites at recreational facilities overflowed with four, five, and even six vehicles for a similar number of campers. Despite over 70 available sites, not one was occupied by a walk-in, cyclist, or transit user. Surprisingly, despite being a mere 100km away from the island's largest population center, Victoria, there's no public transportation option to access the campground.  

The Need for Change - The Malahat(e)  

This is a critical problem, as both our population and the desire to access natural spaces continue to grow. We must seize the opportunity to explore world-class natural spots on the island without solely relying on private vehicles. Not too long ago, the island made headlines for its dismal public transit network. The time for change has come – a transportation and cultural shift that can positively impact the island's future. Major arteries like the Malahat suffer from significant bottlenecks primarily due to personal vehicle travel. While some may consider roadway expansion the only feasible solution, we can create a well-researched alternative by establishing frequent and affordable bus services presenting measurable positive impacts on transit across the Malahat.  

Embracing an Inclusive Transit System  

Regardless of our preferences in transportation, we should all strive to create a province where access to mobility isn't a barrier but a gateway to opportunity. Our collective consciousness seems to equate personal vehicles with ultimate freedom – a belief that has marginalized seniors, students, people with disabilities, and others without access to private vehicles, limiting their mobility within their home province. A thriving BC is one where mobility is a right, not a privilege. By embracing an improved bus transit system, we can bridge gaps in mobility and create more inclusive communities. Transit equity means ensuring no one is left behind, allowing everyone to easily reach their workplaces, schools, leisure spots, and essential services.  

Ecological Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation  

The reason so many call this place home and others yearn to do the same lies in its natural beauty. We share a collective responsibility to preserve it for future generations. From towering trees to expansive valleys and rugged coastlines, the island offers something for everyone. Transitioning to a reliable and sustainable transit network provides an opportunity not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to embrace clean energy technologies and protect our environment. By prioritizing private vehicle access over the larger public good, we have contributed to environmental damage. One of the goals of the Clean BC Roadmap to 2030 is to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads by 25 percent across the province. We can achieve this by creatively implementing alternative solutions to the current status quo.  

Improving Transit in Tourist Destinations  

Tofino, a jewel of the island, attracts tourists from far and wide, with some travelling from the other side of the planet to bask in its sunsets at the end of the road. However, due to a lack of access, roads in high season are often congested, parking lots packed, and the tranquil beauty of the Pacific Rim can feel more like an amusement park than a protected natural area. Offering a convenient, eco-friendly alternative can reduce congestion, preserve picturesque landscapes, and promote sustainable tourism. During July and August, Tofino hosts an average of 6,600 visitors each day - how many arrive by private vehicle with not much more than a suitcase and a backpack for a long weekend of fun? Let's explore publicly funded park bus services with sufficient storage capacity for surfboards, tents, and other items typically associated with personal vehicles.  

Addressing Transit Gaps in Rural Areas  

Tucked away in the rainforest near the mouth of the Juan de Fuca and Port San Juan lies Port Renfrew. Despite a lack of transit options, this community receives countless surfers, hikers, and photographers every year. Despite its relative proximity to Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley, residents must rely on private vehicles to access services located outside of town. Furthermore, those who wish to access the area have no alternatives to the growing congestion on the route beyond an expensive private trail bus. The presence of a private service where there should be a public good indicates a need for improved transportation through the corridor. Transit accessibility should not be driven by the path of least resistance or profit but by empowering anyone with mobility. Connecting rural areas is about public safety, equity, and accessibility, especially for vulnerable populations such as indigenous women and those within the 2SLGBTQ community.  

The Dedicated Right of Way to a Better Future  

We stand on the cusp of a transportation revolution that will define the island's future. Sacrificing irreplaceable ecological areas for the convenience of personal vehicle access should not even be a debate - especially when viable alternatives are both more effective and cost-efficient for both taxpayers and the health of our home. In fact- for every dollar invested in public transportation, communities generate four dollars in economic activity. Let's prioritize accessibility, sustainability, and inclusivity while building a future where everyone can thrive. If our vision for a successful transportation network is solely motivated by profit, we will never achieve transit equity. The ability to connect cities, regions, and communities regardless of distance will most likely never be profitable. Public transportation should not exist through a profit lens; instead, we should view our ROI as the enhancement of community connection, improved access to amenities and natural spaces, enhanced tourism, reduced emissions, and a paradigm shift in how we perceive transportation in our region and province. 

This is the fourth blog in a series on transportation equity in the region.

Published: July 26, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

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Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Navigating the Future: Creating a More Inclusive and Sustainable Ferry Network

Connecting Coastal Communities: The Need for Change 

Imagine an early summer morning on Malcolm Island, where the sun bathes the landscape in a warm glow, accompanied by a gentle breeze from the Queen Charlotte Strait. The awe-inspiring peaks of the Broughton Archipelago stretch across the horizon. While this picturesque community feels like a slice of heaven on Earth, its existence today relies heavily on the BC Ferries system. However, recent challenges and frustrations have reignited discussions about the potential benefits of bringing BC Ferries back under complete provincial control.   

Prioritizing Accessibility Over Profits 

BC Ferries plays a crucial role in connecting communities across coastal BC. Yet, the current profit-driven model often neglects the needs of the residents. By establishing a provincially owned and operated network, we can prioritize accessibility for all residents over profits, returning the ferry system to its roots as a true extension of the BC Highway system. Our provincial government, with considerations for the broader public interest, could ensure that ferry services are affordable, dependable, and accessible to the communities that rely on them as a lifeline. This means expanding and maintaining reliable service levels to the Gulf Islands and even more remote communities like Sointula and Alert Bay. Allowing us to promote transportation equity while supporting economic development and the livelihoods of those that live in regions with limited transportation options.   

Improving Service Reliability Through Strategic Investments 

To improve service reliability, we must prioritize investments in infrastructure, vessel maintenance, and staff recruitment. Many BC Ferries workers are employed on short-term contracts, many of which are characterized by infrequent hours and relatively low entry pay for the level of work and certification requested. Creating an environment where employees are able to access adequate resources, consistent schedules, and competitive salaries will be paramount. Ensuring a positive work environment will allow us to enhance service reliability and contribute to a more positive travel experience for passengers while strengthening our overall transportation network. Providing better job security and opportunities for career advancement will not only attract skilled workers but also motivate them to perform at their best, ultimately contributing to a more positive travel experience for passengers and strengthening the overall transportation network.  

Long-Term Stability and Adaptation Through Provincial Control 

A BC Ferries under provincial control could allow for long-term strategic planning and stability, enabling the province to adapt more readily to a shifting region. Government oversight could facilitate strategic decision-making that factors in the needs of communities, the environment, and long-term sustainability. With a coordinated approach, we could achieve efficient route management, optimized schedules, and improved integration with other modes of transportation at points of origin and destinations. A more holistic and interconnected transportation network begins with a coordinated ferry system that operates with increased oversight and accountability. By considering the broader public interest, a provincially controlled BC Ferries system can foster a more holistic and interconnected transportation network, benefiting both residents and visitors alike.  

Equity and Mobility: A Core Concern 

Equitable mobility should be the core concern for any transportation network, especially one that over 800,000 British Columbians rely on to access the mainland of their province. As the island and its neighbouring archipelagos continue to grow in population, it is crucial to strengthen a transportation network that is independent of market forces. BC Ferries, as a government-run entity, could make decisions based on the needs of the public and the communities served, reducing uncertainty for those who live in communities dependent on ferry schedules. It would also make many areas on and around the island more accessible to live, work, and play.   

Embracing Sustainability for a Greener Future 

As we recognize the urgency of addressing climate change, our ferry system presents an opportunity to prioritize sustainability throughout our fleet. By investing in greener technologies such as hybrid or electric vessels and implementing environmentally friendly practices like more coordinated scheduling and optimized routes, BC Ferries can contribute to a more sustainable future. Coordinated planning with other modes of transportation, such as buses, trains, and cycling infrastructure, can further encourage multimodal travel options and reduce reliance on personal vehicles- further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By adopting these sustainable practices and integrating them into the ferry system, BC Ferries can not only mitigate its environmental impact but also serve as a model for other transportation networks striving for a greener and more sustainable future.  

Looking Ahead: Thoughts From the Sundeck 

Our ferry system's challenges can be addressed by reimagining it under public control. A provincially owned and operated ferry system, prioritizing accessibility and sustainability, can better serve the needs of coastal communities, travellers, and this beautiful place we call home. We continuously invest in our transportation networks, like our motorways, because we recognize their essential role in mobility. Running ferries through a profit-focused lens will never yield the level of service, reliability, and equity that is required of an essential service.    

As we navigate the future of the transportation network, we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea of re-absorbing the ferry system under public control. It is a valuable endeavour that could lead to a more efficient, inclusive, and environmentally conscious ferry network where communities that depend on it have access to the essential service that BC Ferries should be. Reimagining BC Ferries under public control isn't just a visionary endeavour; it's a pivotal step toward forging an efficient, inclusive, and environmentally conscious ferry network that connects communities, empowers lives, and ensures that the breathtaking beauty of a Sointula sunset remains accessible to all. 

This is the third blog in a series on transportation equity in the region.

Published: July 6, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

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Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Bridging the Gap: Promoting Equity Through E-Mobility and Active Transportation

In recent years, a quiet revolution has been taking place on the streets of cities worldwide. E-Bikes have been rapidly gaining popularity as a clean, efficient, and practical mode of transportation. As the province of British Columbia seeks sustainable solutions to address its transportation, climate, and equity challenges, its investment in e-mobility is finally coming online.  With a relatively mild climate, there isn't a better place in Canada to start moving people out of their cars and onto bikes. 

The province is following the Community Council’s E-bike Equity Model that was developed and piloted with the District of Saanich. This model includes a higher subsidy for lower income households. The pilot was part of the Community Council’s Climate Equity Program. The pilot has been hugely successful with the low-income targeted subsidy oversubscribed even before the higher income brackets. There was also unanimous approval to renew funding by the City Council where other jurisdictions have cancelled e-bike programs that were seen as inequitable. Transportation is the second highest cost driver for low-income households after housing meaning that and E-bike can be a game changer, not just for the climate and health but for poverty and low income. 

Shifting how people move through cities by enabling micro-mobility has yielded positive environmental and health results. We can significantly reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, and noise pollution within our cities by adopting alternative modes of transportation like E-bikes and incorporating them into our transportation continuum.  

As we see ourselves staring at a worsening healthcare crisis, promoting active transportation will be vital for improving public health. Although traditional bikes are a fantastic way of commuting actively, eBikes offer a unique solution as they enable individuals of varying fitness levels and abilities to enjoy cycling effortlessly. Encouraging cycling helps to promote physical activity, reduce sedentary lifestyles, and combat the growing concerns of obesity and other health issues associated with inactive lifestyles. Allowing both the province and the public to witness the significant health benefits that come with the adoption of eBikes as a fun and convenient means of transportation while fostering a strong cycling culture amongst younger riders and new immigrants.  

E-bikes also open up more commute and trip options for longer distances or carrying loads. Preliminary studies have found that individuals use e-bikes for longer trips than conventional bicycles, with an average distance per trip of 6.1km. That distance is longer than the average bike trip distance and car trip length within the largest municipality in the CRD   

For those battling the Colwood crawl and bumper-to-bumper traffic along Douglas, it isn't surprising that British Columbia's urban centers face significant traffic congestion. This congestion has led to frustrating commutes and wasted hours on the road for all users. An investment into active transportation by the province sets the stage for encouraging more people to leave their cars behind, reducing the overall number of vehicles on the roads. This reduction in traffic congestion has the potential to improve traffic flow, and reduce both noise and physical pollution within our cities- both of which will be necessary if we are looking to equitably densify our arterials and bolster sustainable developments centred around transitways.  

The E-bike Equity Model the province is following can relieve many financial burdens associated with car ownership, serving as a cost-effective alternative to the current status quo. Car ownership is often accompanied by substantial expenses, including fuel costs, maintenance, insurance, and parking fees. eBikes offer a cost-effective alternative- significantly reducing transportation expenses for individuals and families who don't necessarily want or need a car. As we look to improve affordability while enhancing the quality of life for British Columbians, getting more people moving more sustainably is an achievable goal. It is possible to dovetail social and climate equity. With no need for gasoline and significantly lower maintenance costs compared to automobiles, eBikes can help save money and increase disposable income. Furthermore, public investment in eBike infrastructure, such as more secure bike parking, better wayfinding, and trail widening projects, also benefits traditional acoustic riders.  

The E-bike explosion not only benefits their acoustic cousins but also has the potential to take their other e-mobility devices along for the ride too. With the emergence of electrified scooters, skateboards, and even unicycles, we must provide adequate infrastructure for all forms of e-mobility. This includes an often-overlooked form- the mobility scooter. Mobility scooters and other forms of micro-mobility for people with disabilities should need accommodation by right of way on multi-use and AAA paths. We can rethink the car as a default mobility device for many people by bringing them in for the active transportation revolution.   

If the province wants to add a more detailed equity lens to their rebates focused on e-mobility, it would be essential to address the gap for those who cannot ride traditional e-bikes. Pairing vital incentive programs alongside expanding active transportation infrastructure can lead to healthier, happier, and better-connected communities. We must plan for a future with fewer vehicles, less traffic, and more public and active transportation users. Unfortunately, the provincial VKT targets have been forgotten by many municipalities. The province's interest in meeting climate goals through VKT reductions opens the door to imagining a cleaner, more sustainable future for our transportation networks- but attracting and maintaining the ridership will require a coordinated approach from multiple levels of government.

The province's investment in eBikes presents many potential benefits, such as reducing environmental impacts through transportation, improving public health, alleviating traffic congestion, and boosting economic opportunities. E-bikes offer a compelling solution supporting us towards a cleaner, healthier, and more vibrant future. Let's help preserve the beauty of this place by embracing the electric revolution. We can pave the way for a greener British Columbia- albeit using less asphalt than we've used in the past.

This is the second blog in a series on transportation equity in the region.

Published May 31, 2023

Author(s):

Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator

Untitled design (18)

Whether it be climate equity, community innovation, housing affordability, or economic justice, be a part of the conversation when you sign up for our monthly newsletter!