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Environmental Infrastructure


Environmental infrastructure can be considered as "any capital asset that utilizes environmental resources to provide a community service." The design and location of environmental infrastructure can have a significant effect on a region's economic growth, community livability and environmental health.

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Seymour-Capilano Filtration
Project - GVRD
The cost of building and maintaining environmental infrastructure is considerable. In B.C., it accounts for an average of 18% of all municipal expenditures. Given this substantial investment, it is important to make efficient use of these utilities.

Compact communities can use infrastructure more efficiently than low density developments as less land, energy and delivery/collection systems are required to serve the same number of people.

The high infrastructure costs and environmental degradation associated with dispersed development are prompting many local governments to look at innovative and sustainable ways of managing development. Smart growth strategies, demand management programs and watershed based planning are just a few of the approaches being used to maximize infrastructure efficiency and improve community sustainability. In addition, tools such as the Infrastructure Costing Tool for Local Governments enable local governments to determine the long-term lifecycle costs of alternate development scenarios.

These new approaches have resulted in financial, social and environmental benefits to the following areas:

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Vernon - Reclaimed Effluent
Ultraviolet Radiation System
Environmental infrastructure plays a fundamental role in protecting environmental health and fostering long-term economic well-being of communities. Excessive water demand, wastewater effluent and contaminated stormwater runoff can all jeopardize ecological integrity and community prosperity. Local governments are increasingly moving towards a new approach referred to as "integrated resource recovery" and programs to protect the environment from the potential impacts of urbanization and improve community livability.

The Local Government Division supports a range of activities related to sustainable community development. From water conservation to land use regulation and planning, the Department participates in several local government and provincial initiatives that support a sustainable future for British Columbia.


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