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Environmental Planning


Environmental planning balances ecological considerations with community development and economic demands. This requires developing both short and long-term strategies that will minimize environmental impacts associated with urbanization.

Environmental planning works across a range of scales, from detailed site specific plans to regional and more comprehensive plans such as:

Identifying and effectively addressing environmental issues does not happen in isolation. It requires working with an interdisciplinary team that have expertise in biology, planning and engineering and consulting with various groups including developers, stakeholders, community associations, city councils, special interest groups and non-profit organizations.

Integrating environmental values and goals into all planning processes will help ensure that environmental risks are identified and that mitigation strategies are developed and implemented. Proactive environmental planning is essential if urban development is to proceed in a sustainable and environmentally sound way.

Local Government Division

The Local Government Dvision participates in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of environmental initiatives in conjunction with other ministries and organizations at the provincial and local level.


The Division helps local governments advance community sustainability by promoting comprehensive plans and developing legislation, regulations, tools and strategic polices that support effective environmental management practices, including recovering resources from waste and designating development permit areas for climate action.

The Division represents the Ministry regarding major projects reviewed by the BC Environmental Assessment Office under the Environmental Assessment Act and works with local governments to ensure that infrastructure projects funded under the Division's Capital Grant Programs meet environmental and resource conservation conditions.

Local governments undertaking long-term comprehensive plans or related feasibility studies are eligible to receive funding up to $10,000 from the Local Government Division's Infrastructure Planning Grant Program. Joint initiatives that encourage innovation and capacity building in local government planning and decision-making may be eligible to receive funding from the Smart Development Partnership Program. In addition, tools such as the Community Infrastructure Planning Decision Support Tool enables local governments to determine the long-term lifecycle costs of alternate development scenarios.

Environment Planning Policies and Bylaws

Local governments are increasingly developing polices and bylaws that promote ecologically responsible development and show a commitment to environmental, economic and social stewardship. Land use planning and decision making is strengthened by having policies and bylaws that recognize the value of a healthy environment. Local governments across B.C are establishing policies and bylaws that:
  • decrease automobile dependency
  • promote urban densification
  • encourage low impact rainwater (stormwater) management
  • minimize habitat loss
  • protect trees
  • support the establishment of new greenways and trails
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • improve energy efficiency
  • promote green buildings
  • reduce impervious surfaces
  • conserve water
  • protect water courses, riparian areas, species at risk and environmentally sensitive areas


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