OUR WORK

Positive Impact | Inspiring Design

Better decisions for a better tomorrow.

Projects by Service Area

At-A-Glance

Community Planning

Client: Doig River First Nation

Date: 2012

Comprehensive Community Planning – when done well – can be a major “game-changer” for First Nations communities. This has been recognized by Doig River First Nation. To this end, the Doig River organized a one-day workshop with Community Trust members, staff and Chief and Council. The workshop was facilitated by EcoPlan and took a fresh look at Comprehensive Community Planning. Participants were walked through EcoPlan’s approach to CCPs, which is built around three key themes:

  • Strategic planning: making the best use of available resources, capacity and time;
  • Participatory planning: community-based, ground up planning with a strong capacity building focus where consultants typically act as technical resources and process  facilitators; and
  • Structured, values based decision making: incorporating both facts (i.e. technical and strategic considerations) and values (i.e., community values) in project decision-making, including the prioritization of project actions.

Client: Metro Vancouver

Date: 2015

With new infrastructure facilities in development and others in the planning stages, Metro
Vancouver was looking to explore the opportunities and values of a more formalized approach to
incorporating public art and achieving higher architectural and urban design standards in its
infrastructure projects. EcoPlan provided Metro Vancouver with information regarding precedent-setting examples where arts have been integrated into public infrastructure facilities, highlighting the kinds of supporting policies that have facilitated this integration

Client: Village of Port Alice

Date: 2015-2016

Following the curtailment of the town’s major employer, Port Alice began working with EcoPlan on a community-driven economic development strategy. The strategy, called ‘Port of Potential‘ by the community,  focuses on opportunities for diversifying the local economy in ways that align with local values, skills and realistic opportunities.  The final plan includes a short list of small projects to be completed in the first 100 days, and implementation plans for larger or longer-term projects to take place over the next 5 years. The development of the plan included participation from about 1/4 of the town’s residents (through 1 on 1 interviews, community meetings and surveys), almost all the businesses in town, community groups and numerous partner organizations.

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2015

EcoPlan, supported by the Arlington Group, was engaged to conduct a preliminary review of the South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), which applies to the southern portion of the Okanagan Valley and includes the municipalities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Summerland, and RDOS Electoral Areas “A”, “C”, “D”, “E”, and “F.” The project involved an assessment of the RGS indicator data tracked by RDOS and updated the population projections developed for the RGS based on more recent census data, and a line-by-line review of the strategy’s policy sections for clarity, consistency with related RGS goal areas, and redundancy. 
Based on the review, it was determined that there were significant opportunities to reorganize and improve the organization and structure of the RGS and to revise and edit RGS policies to improve clarity and reduce redundancy.

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2014-2016

EcoPlan led a larger project team that includes the Arlington Group on an update of the Official Community Plan for Electoral Area “D-1” in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS). With a small and highly dispersed rural population, the project employed a range of engagement techniques to ensure the process remains community-driven. In addition to open houses (including one of the largest and most successful open houses held in the regional district), surveys, and online tools, engagement also included the establishment of a 12-member volunteer Citizens’ Committee.

Client: Village of Alert Bay and ‘Namgis First Nation

Date: 2015

In 2014-2015, EcoPlan supported the communities on Cormorant Island (‘Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay) to develop a consensus economic development strategy.

However, moving plans moving from ideas to action is always a challenge. In an innovative effort (suggested by ‘Namgis and the Village), EcoPlan relocated a staff member to Alert Bay to initiate implementation. Over the course of five weeks, EcoPlan led the resourcing of key actions through grant research and writing, as well as spearheaded the implementation of several short-term actions, including historical signage for the town boardwalk, the development of a summer farmers market, several litter reduction actions.

EcoPlan also supported the longer-term implementation of the Plan by working with the two governments to develop a framework and workplan for joint implementation. This work included an evaluation of implementation models (e.g., non-profit society, economic development corporation, Steering Committee), Terms of References, job descriptions, and organization charts.

Client:  Metro Vancouver, PlanH

Date: 2014-2015

EcoPlan worked with Metro Vancouver, PlanH, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and several other partners to develop a guidebook and corresponding toolkit for Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and Land Use Planning Activities. The guidebook provides an introduction to HIA and outlines a five-step process that can be used to conduct HIA in various land use and transportation planning processes. Organized around a well-tested methodology, the guidebook includes step-by step instructions for different levels of HIA, identifies common issues and challenges that can be expected in the HIA process, highlights lessons from the field to successfully address them, and includes a companion Toolkit with 18 tools to support the planning steps. Plans to field test the guidebook with partner local governments are currently underway.

A copy of the guidebook can be downloaded here.

Client: ’Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay

Date: 2014 to 2015

EcoPlan worked with the ‘Namgis First Nation, and the Village of Alert Bay to develop a joint economic development strategy for Cormorant Island (one of the first such joint projects in Canada).  The two governments had worked together on a number of projects over the years, and uncovered a number of potential economic opportunities, but a comprehensive plan was needed to examine what actions could be jointly undertaken, and which ones would have the most positive impact on the community.

A unique aspect of this project was designing communications and engagement methods that reached both populations on the island, as well as external stakeholders.  At the project outset, EcoPlan co-developed an engagement strategy with input from both Councils and staff members. Engagement activities included:

  • Steering Committee made up of representatives from both sides of the island (this group met regularly to oversee the project)
  • Bi-weekly social media updates through ‘Namgis channels (Twitter, Facebook), a preferred method of communication with members
  • Paper newsletters and posters around the island
  • Business visits and one-on-one conversations with owners and operators
  • Large open houses
  • Small focus group discussions
  • Youth ambassadors
  • A survey that nearly ¼ of the island’s population participated in

Upon completing the planning process, an EcoPlan staff member moved to Alert Bay for one month to begin implementing some of the quick start actions and laying the ground work for more long term actions (e.g., hiring an economic development coordinator).

Client: Regional District of Mount Waddington

Dates: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the Regional District of Mount Waddington on an analysis of the strategic sectors that will be the basis for economic development in the next 5-10 years in the Regional District. Following an initial analysis of the relative size and growth potential of each sector, the study focused in on five sectors. Analysis of each sector included markets, labour, environmental factors, regulatory issues and other factors, both as a ‘snapshot’ of current conditions and as a forward looking trend analysis. The project included both focused stakeholder engagement (focus groups, 1-on-1 interviews, steering committee) and a broader public engagement component (community forum, survey, newsletters). This work feeds into the economic development planning processes of local governments in the Regional District, and will hopefully lead to a new level of collaboration on the North Island.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the District of Squamish on the development of an Employment Lands Strategy for the district municipality. The project builds off the District’s current planning work (e.g., OCP and Zoning update, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan, Oceanfront Development) to help ensure that employment lands are available and used to their full potential for the community’s benefit and economic development. To incorporate a structured, strategic planning process, the project included the development of employment scenarios to help the District determine the best approach for the likeliest future scenario, and be prepared to accommodate significant development opportunities (e.g., Wood Fibre LNG plant) that will significantly impact employment land in the region.

Client: TransLink

Date: 2013

Working with other experts in the field of structured decision-making (Mike Harstone of Compass Resource Management, Dr. Robin Gregory of Value Scope Research, and Basil Stumborg, BC Hydro’s Decision Analysis Expert for Energy Planning and Economic Development), EcoPlan developed and delivered a three day structured decision-making (SDM) course for Translink planners and decision-makers.  The course involved presentations, interactive activities and small group project work to give participants a working understanding of the basic foundations of structuring complex decisions, including:

  • Scoping, framing and structuring – separating facts from values;
  • Developing good objectives and performance measures;
  • Crafting strong, creative alternatives;
  • Effectively addressing trade‐offs, linked decisions, risks and uncertainty;
  • Common decision pitfalls, challenges and their responses; and
  • Implementing SDM at TransLink.

Ultimately, the course was designed to help participants make decisions that are defensible, transparent, and efficient; decisions that build trust and use information better; and decisions that achieve durable results in the long term because they meet their identified objectives.

Client: Tourism Powell River, City of Powell River

Dates: 2011 to 2013

EcoPlan staff worked with the City of Powell River, Tourism Powell River and other stakeholders throughout the region to identify assets and opportunities for economic development opportunities in the arts/ culture sectors. Local arts and culture individuals, businesses and organizations were inventoried using a Cultural Resources Mapping Framework to create a baseline for strategic planning, policy development and decision-making. This work also involved a sector SWOT analysis, market analyses, a needs and gaps assessment and the identification of high level opportunities in the sector, including short- medium- and long-term opportunities to be pursued by the City as well as local organizations and the private sector in diversifying Powell River’s local economy. The final outputs were the development of a sport and recreation tourism strategy and a cultural tourism strategy for the region.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2013 to 2014

EcoPlan worked as part of a larger consulting team to update the Squamish Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. The original draft plan incorporated extensive community input on everything from social policy to urban design guidelines, and focused on the creation of a vibrant and enduring downtown community.  The update included a review and revision of policy in the areas of social, cultural, environmental, economic, and transportation, as well as a refinement and simplification of area design guidelines. As part of a larger Downtown Squamish Transformation Initiative, the final plan will help the District develop a vibrant downtown. Components of the plan include green networks, character districts, active transportation networks, streetscape design, building form and character guidelines, and policies around energy conservation and environmental protection.

Client: Metro Vancouver

Date: 2013

EcoPlan supported project lead Diamond Head Consulting in the development of Connecting the Dots: A Regional Green Infrastructure Network for Metro Vancouver.  This guide is intended to help Metro Vancouver planners, leaders, and community members to understand the principles, technologies and applications of green infrastructure projects, such as permeable pavements, daylighted streams, pollinator gardens, bioswales, and street trees. Based on feedback from Metro planners, a key feature of the guide was the highlighting of green infrastructure projects that can be applied at any level of development, from dense urban cores to agricultural and park lands.

2015 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning

Client: The Regional District of Mount Waddington

Date: 2013 – 2014

Building on the work done over the past two years by the community, EcoPlan worked with the residents of Sointula and Malcolm Island to develop a community economic development strategy.  The island’s reliance on shrinking and volatile resource industries (fishing and forestry) have led to significant changes in employment, population and average age over the past twenty years. A key piece of the project was an economic situation assessment so residents could understand the current economic situation and trends.  Through community open houses, small group meetings, conversations at community hubs (bakery, ferry terminal, etc.), and other engagement methods, a strategy was created that examined opportunities for economic development, and the governance and implementation structures to undertake them (a unique challenge since Malcolm Island has limited local government).

Client: The City of Powell River

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with a planning team led by the Arlington Group on updating the City of Powell River’s 2005 Official Community Plan. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement component and coordinating planning collaboration with Tla’amin Nation, BC’s latest Treaty First Nation. EcoPlan was also responsible for all project mapping and the development of Downtown design guidelines and a corresponding Development Permit Area. EcoPlan also supported the development of design guidelines for the city’s Townsite neighbourhood which was designated a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, and one of only seven in Canada and the only one in western Canada.

Client: The City of Fernie

Date: 2012 – 2014

Having recently completed its first Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), the City of Fernie need to update its ten-year-old Official Community Plan (OCP) to align with the ICSP and to better incorporate emerging sustainability issues and strategies. EcoPlan worked in partnership with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability on the project, which involved a participatory, strategic planning approach. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement process and lead the core planning components, including the revision of design guidelines for OCP development permit areas.

Client: Diamond Head Consulting, City of Surrey

Date: 2012

EcoPlan, in partnership with Diamond Head Consulting, developed the City of Surrey’s leading edge Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS). The work was built on past planning initiatives, including the Ecosystem Management Study and Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The results of this project informed large scale community planning, as well as secondary plans and regulatory tools. The outcomes of the BCS include: a green infrastructure network for the City as well as management and policy options to help Surrey optimize biodiversity in its rapidly growing urban landscape. Ultimately, the results informed the development of tools and decision-making frameworks which in turn helped City staff make clear, consistent and rigorous decisions around biodiversity conservation and enhancement and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders.

EcoPlan led the public consultation component of this project. This included a series of meetings with a stakeholder working group, a public open house and outreach through various public communication channels including social media, the web and traditional media outlets.

Client: Resort Municipality of Whistler

Date: 2012

Working with the Whistler Waldorf School, a private educational institution ranging from pre-school to high school levels, EcoPlan developed a conceptual site plan and policy analysis for a new school permanent school to be sited at the location of the existing temporary school.  The project included working with the Resort Municipality of Whistler as well as the staff and Board of Directors of the Whistler Waldorf School.

Client: District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Date: 2012 

Based on our proprietary and award winning participatory strategic planning process, EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum for the District of Summerland. The forum attracted over 50 members of the local business community, the District of Summerland Mayor, Council and staff, residents, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. In a focused session, the participants identified a set of targeted actions to address key challenges and move Summerland forward toward more organized economic development planning.

Client: BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Date: 2012

In 2012, EcoPlan helped support two new Treaty First Nations of the Maa-nulth Treaty (BC’s second modern treaty) — Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government  — join the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) on Vancouver Island’s west coast. A undertaking with no precedents, EcoPlan worked with the parties through a structured decision process to identify and prioritize potential services areas the Treaty First Nations may participate in, and helped develop an innovative service cost apportionment model to support the uptake of two mandatory service areas – general government and regional hospital district – required by the Treaty.

As part of the work, EcoPlan produced a series of information products to support the process, including a regional planning toolkit and resource guide to help Treaty First Nations, regional districts, and local governments improve regional planning, collaboration and service delivery as treaties are implemented across BC. Treaty First Nations represent a new order of government in the province. Collaboration and coordinated planning between Treaty First Nations and other local governments present opportunities to expand and improve regional level planning and service delivery, and advance regional sustainability planning efforts.

Client: Regional District of North Okanagan

Date: 2012

One of the most significant gaps of Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) planning is the lack of on-going implementation support, specifically in the form of monitoring and evaluation (M&E).  Working with the Regional District of North Okanagan on their M&E Strategy, EcoPlan created a best practice example for all Regional Districts of a successful RGS-specific M&E program – one that is participatory, has learning as a core objective, and that actively engages community members at various levels to be a part of the process.

Employing EcoPlan’s specific expertise and rigour in M&E based on the application of decision science-based, participatory monitoring and evaluation methods, the program includes: 1) a participatory M&E data collection framework, process and indicators that take advantage of technology and social networks established during the development of the RGS that is replicable for other Regional Districts; and 2) a reporting system that both takes advantage of technology (e.g., by utilizing the Internet) and recognizes its limitations (i.e., 30% of North Okanagan residents do not have Internet access).

The quality of the work was recognized by project sponsor the Real Estate Foundation with a spotlight article on their website.

Client: UN-Habitat, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), International Urban Training Centre (IUTC)

Date: November 2011, November 2012

EcoPlan supported the development of tools and the delivery of a seven day training on eco-efficient and socially inclusive infrastructure. Participants included municipal planners, architects, engineers and administrators from local governments throughout Asia and the Pacific. The training included lectures from leading academics and practitioners in the field, field trips to visit eco-efficient infrastructure and intensive group work focused on real case studies used walk through the strategic planning process.

This training was conducted in conjunction with a four-year research, testing and development project to produce a set of guidelines and accompanying publication on eco-efficient and social inclusive infrastructure, carried out by UNESCAP. EcoPlan’s strategic planning framework was incorporated into this publication and training, to provide a structure for decision-making to help prioritize choices and focus resource use efficiently.

Small group work for case studies – Day 3

Break-out session discussions – Day 6

Field trip to regional waste facility in Chuncheon, South Korea

EcoPlan helped the North Okanagan Regional District to evaluate objectives, policies and trade‐offs for the development of a Regional Growth Strategy for the area. Rigorous and transparent and participatory structured decision‐making tools were used to help elected officials, staff, and the broader community to reach informed, consensus decisions about policy options for sustainable development in the region. The project used leading edge, participatory decision tools, including the use of audience response systems that provided statistically valid, defensible data for the prioritization of community sustainability objectives and values. EcoPlan also developed and hosted a series of policy workshops and an elected officials forum, where community members, elected officials, staff and other stakeholders explored different regional development and sustainability scenarios and the trade-offs each would require.

EcoPlan was engaged by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to support the preliminary consultation process for its Regional Growth Strategy review process. This work included the development and implementation of an education and awareness campaign around the Regional Growth Strategy project and the broader regional sustainability issues it will explore.

This project involved outreach and engagement approaches that built public awareness and substantively facilitated public participation in the planning process. The process began with the development of a stand-alone project workbook that communicated the regional vision, key issues/priorities, and ideas for action. This workbook was disseminated by community groups and stakeholders to the public, who responded to key issues by weighting priority strategy options. The workbook was also the focus of a series of special learning events targeting the wider community. The workbook was available online as well as in print, accessible via a website that EcoPlan developed.

Input from the workbook was used to support an Elected Officials Forum where a final regional vision was adopted. The Elected Officials Forum featured the use of Audience Response Systems (ARS) to quickly gather and communicate the views of forum participants. Instant surveys were conducted on key issues, and results were displayed in real time. This helped facilitate decision-making by sharing ideas and linking actions to issues.

Client: Powell River Regional District

Date: 2010

EcoPlan facilitated a regional planning workshop that brought together representatives of the Powell River Regional District, the City of Powell River, and the Tla’amin First Nation to discuss a Regional Growth and Development Analysis Report prepared by Van Struth Consulting Group. The workshop commenced with a discussion of general opportunities and risks to the region in six larger issue areas — infrastructure, economy, housing, services, natural environment, and quality of life. Participants then discussed steps that the regional partners could undertake to address risks and realize opportunities. Participants converged around the need to address emerging sustainability issues, the possible shape of a long-term regional planning framework, and potential avenues of regional collaboration between levels of government.

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Policy Planning

Working with a larger consultant team, EcoPlan helped lead the development of a Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) for the Comox Valley Regional District. The RGS is unique in its use of clear, objective-based measures for its policy sections. These indicators are clearly linked to and coordinated with both the RGS’s monitoring and evaluation component, and are integrated to other regional strategies, including the region’s voluntary Sustainability Strategy which the RGS will help implement. EcoPlan co-managed the project, including the project’s broad-based community engagement component, which included an innovative participatory video component and other engaging outreach. EcoPlan led the project’s economic development, mapping, housing and population and demographics components. The RGS included a substantial number of integrated active transportation policies in its housing, transportation, climate change, economic development and health policy chapter.

Client: Cowichan Valley Regional District (Duncan, BC)

Dates: 2007 – 2009

Working with a larger consultant team led by SmartGrowth BC, EcoPlan helped coordinate the first phase of a multi-phase process to prepare a new, integrated Official Community Plan for Electoral Areas B (Shawnigan Lake) and C (Cobble Hill) in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. EcoPlan managed and coordinated the public involvement and engagement process for the project. With a strong sustainability focus, the project included a variety of creative public engagement processes, including video story telling, community mapping, interactive open houses and web-based feedback methods. Engagement specifically targeted local First Nations to ensure that the new OCP is coordinated with their planning developments.

Client: Cities of Colwood and Langford

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with a larger consultant team led by HB Lanarc (now Golder) to review and update the Official Community Plans (OCP) of Colwood and Langford, two of B.C.’s fastest growing communities. EcoPlan was responsible for the OCP’s economic development chapter and worked closely with the community and project stakeholder to develop it. The final OCP won a 2008 Award of Planning Excellence from the Planning Institute of BC.

Client: City of Vancouver

Dates: 2005 – 2007

EcoPlan worked with the City of Vancouver on various components of a revitalization strategy for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Work included the development and coordination of a public process for a Sustainability Ideas Forum for an innovative greenway; a lease subsidy and tenant improvements program to attract and support new businesses and social enterprises in the community, and; a $6 million initiative to redevelop a strategic heritage building as a multi-tenant business incubator facility. Engagement included direct outreach and other non-traditional tools to reach and involve community members not often involved in city planning initiatives.

Client: Wuhan Comprehensive Transportation Planning and Design Institute

Date: 2007

EcoPlan conducted a study tour for two Chinese municipal planners with the purpose of showcasing the innovative transportation initiatives that were developed in association with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The study tour focused specifically on examining contributions to transportation planning made by all levels of decision-makers, and demonstrating the activities related to land-use planning, traffic flow management, and alternative fuels and behavior/consumption modification.

Client: PHS Community Services Society

Dates: 2004 – 2007

Working with private sector partners and the PHS Community Services Society, a major service provider in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, EcoPlan was involved in the management of a $6 million proposal to redevelop a strategic heritage building as a multi-tenant facility featuring both non-profit and private sector tenants.  EcoPlan was responsible for a project-managing schematic design, negotiating preliminary planning approvals and project fundraising. Other work included community involvement and visioning.

Clients: Langley Environmental Partners Society, Township of Langley

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan developed and conducted a site selection, performed a feasibility assessment and prepared a comprehensive project proposal for a sustainability education centre in Langley. The proposed Centre for Sustainable Living will include demonstration gardens, a model sustainable farm, interpretative trails, an outdoor classroom and a multi-purpose facility for community and environmental education programs. A social enterprise component to be housed at the Centre for Sustainable Living was also assessed and a business plan for the venture was developed.

Client: Smart Growth BC

Date: 2005

EcoPlan helped Smart Growth BC to research, write and produce a guidebook for the Regional District of Nanaimo on nodal development and its role within the District’s Regional Growth Strategy. The document included design guidelines and a section on best practices. The guidebook was the first of a planned seven volume series intended to support each of the Regional Growth Strategy’s development objectives.

Client: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)

Date: 2003

EcoPlan staff worked with the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s (now Metro Vancouver) Livable Region Strategic Plan, a program that encouraged the development of a compact, livable metropolitan region, with a core and eight regional town centres. In 2003, the GVRD partnered with the provincial Ministry of Community Services to explore ways of encouraging business and office development in regional town centres. EcoPlan staff provided research and coordinated a series of planning meetings with municipal and regional planners to discuss research findings.  A final project report identified recent successful office developments in the region, the conditions that made the investment favourable and highlighted the strategies that encourage office investment in more sustainable regional town centres.

Client: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)

Dates: 2002 – 2003

EcoPlan staff researched and developed over 30 case studies of projects in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) that are helping to advance sustainability in the region. Case studies included green energy, housing, park planning, transportation, eco-industrial networking, waste reduction and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives carried out by municipal, private sector and non-profit organizations. Research included structured interviews and field reviews.

Client: Marpole Oakridge Community Association

Date: 2000

This project involved determining a new use for a redundant building located on the grounds of the Marpole Oakridge Community Centre, one of the main community recreation facilities in south Vancouver. After completing a building integrity study, determining that the building (a former pool house) could be renovated, EcoPlan conducted a series of workshops and focus groups with community staff, community members and the board of the Marpole Oakridge Community Association to establish a new use for the building.  The finished project included preliminary schematics for the renovated space, renderings and a suggested development timeline and first order costing.

Client: Canadian Institute of Planners

Dates: 1999 – 2000

EcoPlan researched, supported and provided graphic design services during the development of an activity guide and manual to assist with teaching about urban planning and community development. Aimed at planning professionals and educators, the manual is designed to provide ideas, exercises and materials for use with children and youth in a variety of settings, including schools. The document is available through the Canadian Institute of Planners, who published the guide.

This study was developed for legal proceedings and expert testimony. It established an evaluation framework and analyzed the marketing efforts for this high-end resort project.

This assignment was land residual value analysis based on market and financial study of a proposed residential, golf and resort project. The output yielded the market value for this four season residential and golf resort project.

Indigenous Planning

Client: Doig River First Nation

Date: 2012

Comprehensive Community Planning – when done well – can be a major “game-changer” for First Nations communities. This has been recognized by Doig River First Nation. To this end, the Doig River organized a one-day workshop with Community Trust members, staff and Chief and Council. The workshop was facilitated by EcoPlan and took a fresh look at Comprehensive Community Planning. Participants were walked through EcoPlan’s approach to CCPs, which is built around three key themes:

  • Strategic planning: making the best use of available resources, capacity and time;
  • Participatory planning: community-based, ground up planning with a strong capacity building focus where consultants typically act as technical resources and process  facilitators; and
  • Structured, values based decision making: incorporating both facts (i.e. technical and strategic considerations) and values (i.e., community values) in project decision-making, including the prioritization of project actions.

Client: Kwik’wastutinuxw Haxwamis First Nation (KHFN)

Date: 2013

In 2009, EcoPlan helped KHFN complete an economic development strategy that identified and then focused on ecotourism opportunities. At that time, significant research was conducted into the types of opportunities, the associated costs, timelines for implementation and potential partnerships. In 2013, EcoPlan was again hired by KHFN to develop an ecotourism business plan. This plan builds on the economic development strategy, and provides more in-depth and up-to-date information. It takes a phased approach to slowly build capacities and refine KHFN tourism offerings.

Client: Okanagan Indian Band

Date: 2013

In October of 2013, the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) Chief and Council, along with the Executive Director, participated in a two-day strategic planning and governance session, supported by facilitator William Trousdale of EcoPlan. The primary purpose of these meetings was to develop the 2013 Council Strategic Plan for OKIB Council. Using a strategic planning process, EcoPlan supported the council’s creation of 10 priority actions for the coming year.

Client: Ditidaht First Nation

Date: 2014-2015

This study helped Ditidaht First Nation better understand what kind of opportunities they could pursue, and what kind of tourism projects members would like to see, as the Vancouver Island First Nation works to better manage newly acquired Interim Treaty Agreement lands and explore new economic development opportunities. The project reviewed the tourism market in the larger area (Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island’s West Coast), Ditidaht’s existing tourism operations, and Ditidaht’s internal capacity to both develop new tourism projects and manage current operations. The study identified a series of “Quick Start”, Short-term, and Medium-term Opportunities to take advantage of Ditidaht’s great assets and tourism potential, while addressing some of the equally significant challenges that must be overcome to realize them. EcoPlan is currently supporting Ditidaht to implement several shorter-term tourism actions identified by the study.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014-2015

Land tenure on First Nation reserves can be complicated. Without clarity of tenure, it can create community conflict and stall community development.

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) and Xwísten members to tackle this challenging issue. Together, through research and interviews, EcoPlan and Xwísten developed a greater understanding of family connections to the land and the land-related rights of members. This project found clarity around Xwísten’s reserve lands so that the band can move forward with economic development activities (such as agriculture). The project answered the following questions:
• On what land parcels were Xwísten families historically located?
• What parcels of land are ‘lawful possessions’ where the families have legal rights to the lands? Which family members are named on the documentation?
• Which families have more informal, traditional connections to the land, and what rights do they have?
• Going forward, what do people want to do with the land? What support do they need?

The project included capacity building and mentorship of a local coordinator who conducted dozens of interviews and did extensive historical research. The final output is a community lands report, a GIS database of information about land parcels on reserve, an user-friendly atlas of information about each parcel of land, and a repository of historical information that Xwísten researchers can use for generations to come.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2015

EcoPlan is working with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) on an economic development strategy for on- and off-reserve opportunities for the band and band members. The strategy is intended to be a guiding document and workplan for a soon-to-be-hired economic development officer, and will include a skills inventory, assessment of opportunities in the region, analysis of the opportunities available to Xwísten, and phased implementation plan. EcoPlan will also work with Xwísten to evaluate options for the structure of the band businesses, looking at the relative merits and draw backs of band-owned businesses, economic development corporations, and other business structures.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2015

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to write their human resources policy, ensuring that it was compliant with federal and provincial laws, met best practices for First Nations human resources management, and met the needs of members, staff and Council.

The project sought to formalize and standardize the existing human resources practices in the organization (which were largely left up to department heads and varied widely). The final document includes a new performance management process (i.e., employee review), a new and more transparent hiring process, and twelve ‘templates’ that can be used by department heads to standardize their HR practices. These templates include a ‘Letter of Offer’, interview questions, reference check questions, and yearly employee review meetings.

As part of the National Energy Board (NEB) review process of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), Matsqui First Nation commissioned EcoPlan to conduct a socio-cultural impact assessment of the proposed pipeline that would pass through their traditional territory. If successful, the TMEP would twin the existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, nearly tripling capacity.

Our approach to this impact assessment and the techniques employed had to address several challenges posed by the project.

Identifying a broader range of socio-cultural impacts:

Conventional impact assessments often fail to incorporate less tangible values that many people feel are important.  This is especially the case with aboriginal communities, where the importance of traditional use activities and other cultural practices are not addressed at all.

Our report addressed critical gaps regarding the biophysical, social, cultural and economic impacts of the Trans Mountain Facilities Application to the NEB by using a value-based and participatory approach, one that works with the community to help understand and evaluate both adverse impacts and benefits. It also brought together analysis of well-established scholarship and regulatory precedent to extend the purview of impact assessment beyond the typical market-based approach (i.e. the market value of real estate or economic activity impacted).

The final impacts identified and measured were to values as diverse as physical and emotional health, traditional cultural practices, and Sohl te mexw (Matsqui’s sense of identity and stewardship with the land and water in their traditional territory).

Identifying impacts from a future event:

Typically, impacts are assessed from events that have already happened, giving affected parties direct knowledge and experience of the consequences. With the pipeline not yet built, more conventional techniques of value-elicitation had to be supplemented with the development of various future scenarios, from routine operations to a series of major spills.  The scenarios translated the technical language of assessment reports into meaningful narratives of events that may unfold and are directly related to the development and operation of the TMEP. Photography, maps, graphics, embedded video and recorded narration were used as part of a multi-media presentation to give participants a richer understanding of the events and consequences of what a major spill might look like. The scenarios supported a process whereby Matsqui was better equipped to apply their expert knowledge (of their community, its members, Matsqui traditional use activities, and cultural practices and traditions) into an assessment of potential impacts.

Translating the impacts into a language regulators could understand

Using well-established techniques, our impact assessment translated the losses Matsqui felt they would suffer as a result of the project into a language that can be more easily understood in the context of a cost-benefit analysis (i.e. dollar-equivalents and specific, tangible mitigation measures). For regulators with a limited understanding of aboriginal culture, this approach can provide a clear, quantitative expression of how the project would affect Matsqui’s way of life and ability to thrive as a rights-bearing people. It can also provide regulators with a more accurate picture of the potential costs of a project before deciding if it really is in the interest of the public.

As Matsqui explains in their letter to the NEB, the report supports their claim that a decision to recommend approval of the project by the Government of Canada without Matsqui consent would be considered an “assault on [their] independence and [their] sovereignty as a self-governing Nation.” The impacts assessed as part of our report were to community values that Matsqui saw as an expression of their “aboriginal rights and title: to use and occupy, manage, govern and rely upon their lands, waters, and resources.” The values were also an “expression of their human rights: to be physical and emotionally healthy, to have positive relationships within their community and with the communities around them, and to maintain their culture and traditions while pursuing growth and economic self-sufficiency.”

In today’s shifting legal and political context (most recently exemplified in the Tsihlqot’indecision and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations), the courtroom is increasingly demanding ways to uphold the constitutional right of Canadian Aboriginals with confidence.  While oral histories have been considered a valid legal testimony of these rights since the Delgamuukwdecision (1997), the unfortunate truth is existing frameworks for calculating the costs, impacts, or adequate insurance for major projects cannot make sense of these histories.  Our approach, as a ‘translation’, provides the necessary tools to do so.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop a master plan and promotional brochure for the Xwisten Experiences cultural tourism program.  This included site plans and phased improvements for a visitor’s centre, viewing areas, and trails.

Client: ’Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay

Date: 2014 to 2015

EcoPlan worked with the ‘Namgis First Nation, and the Village of Alert Bay to develop a joint economic development strategy for Cormorant Island (one of the first such joint projects in Canada).  The two governments had worked together on a number of projects over the years, and uncovered a number of potential economic opportunities, but a comprehensive plan was needed to examine what actions could be jointly undertaken, and which ones would have the most positive impact on the community.

A unique aspect of this project was designing communications and engagement methods that reached both populations on the island, as well as external stakeholders.  At the project outset, EcoPlan co-developed an engagement strategy with input from both Councils and staff members. Engagement activities included:

  • Steering Committee made up of representatives from both sides of the island (this group met regularly to oversee the project)
  • Bi-weekly social media updates through ‘Namgis channels (Twitter, Facebook), a preferred method of communication with members
  • Paper newsletters and posters around the island
  • Business visits and one-on-one conversations with owners and operators
  • Large open houses
  • Small focus group discussions
  • Youth ambassadors
  • A survey that nearly ¼ of the island’s population participated in

Upon completing the planning process, an EcoPlan staff member moved to Alert Bay for one month to begin implementing some of the quick start actions and laying the ground work for more long term actions (e.g., hiring an economic development coordinator).

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to completely redesign (in form and function) their website in order to better meet communications needs with members, funders, and other stakeholders. The need for improved communications, especially with members (on and off-reserve), was identified in their 2014 Comprehensive Community Plan, and this plan is guiding the development of the website. New features included an easier-to-use back end, new calendar functionality,  updated content for all departments, a new job-postings area, and an updated ‘look and feel’.

Client: Parks Canada

Dates: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Parks Canada to develop a resource and planning guide to help support and strengthen Aboriginal engagement in protected areas management. Designed for a range of users, it is intended to complement Parks Canada’s existing resources and to help improve and expand Aboriginal engagement activities and relationship building, support ongoing capacity building for both Parks Canada team members and Aboriginal partners, and to provide users with practical engagement tools and examples of initiating, growing and stewarding relationships with Aboriginal partners across a range of park contexts. Development of the guide involved interviews with Parks Canada staff across Canada and review with Parks Canada Aboriginal partners and other important protected area stakeholders.

Client: Yale First Nation

Dates: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Colliers International and Yale First Nation, BC’s newest Treaty First Nation, to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan and supporting Land Use Plan for the Nation’s Treaty Settlement Lands and former reserve areas. Due to funding and Treaty implementation obligations, the project was completed on a tight, seven-month schedule. Despite the timeline, community engagement was central to the project and involved members living on former reserves and in other communities. Facilitation support was provided by Sparrow Grant Consulting, a First-Nation owned and operated facilitation and communications company.

Client: Cowichan Tribes

Date: 2012-2014

Cowichan Tribes, the largest First Nation in BC, worked with EcoPlan to create a pair of guiding planning documents for the community – a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) and Land Use Framework. Initial meetings identified that Cowichan Tribes lacked a trained and experienced community planner. Throughout the project we worked closely with their Referral Coordinator and the project planning team (one youth, one planning assistant) to provide mentoring and training in planning through project activities. Extensive community engagement and outreach included three open houses, numerous community BBQs, door to door surveys, and meetings with staff and Council. Leading the land use component, EcoPlan’s work included a development capability analysis of both Band-owned and individually owned (Certificate of Possession) properties and the creation of several potential land uses designations for future planning work.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked as part of a larger team to assist Musqueam Indian Band in rezoning a parcel of land known as ‘Block F’ located in the University Endowment Lands near UBC.  This land, part of Musqueam’s unceded traditional territory, was returned to Musqueam Indian Band as part of the Musqueam Reconciliation, Settlement and Benefits Agreement negotiated with the Province in 2008.  EcoPlan’s role in the rezoning process was to help facilitate engagement events, develop engagement and communications materials, and advise on planning issues.

Client:  Northern Shuswap Tribal Council

Date: 2012 to 2013

EcoPlan worked with the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (NSTC) to develop an orientation kit and training program (including interactive web elements) and deliver several workshops to the Tribal Council and community for governance capacity building.  Developed with input from elected officials and Band Administrators from the NSTC, the kit was designed to assist returning councillors and newly elected representatives understand their roles, and govern well and soundly.  In the long run, it is meant to support the transition of their communities toward self-governance.

Client: Tsawataineuk First Nation; Indian & Northern Affairs Canada (Kingcome Inlet, BC)

Date: 2008 to 2010

 The Dzawada’enuxw CCP was developed in phases over three years, exploring the traditional governance, social practices, and community issues and their historical roots. The plan describes a vision for future generations incorporating traditional laws, values and practices. Innovations include a uniquely Dzawada’enuxw approach to community development based on the concept of holistic healing, which means that to be truly healthy, one must have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health at four distinct levels of healing – the individual, the family, the community, and the Nation. A unique output from this process was the creation of comic book-style pamphlets using rich graphics, and traditional characters and symbols to make complex ideas such as wealth generation and traditional governance accessible to a large audience.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop their first Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP). With extensive participation, this project was an opportunity to bring the community together through multiple Community Gatherings, youth workshops, dinners, and other activities.  Two surveys were also used to make sure on- and off-reserve members had a chance to provide input at different stages of the project. The project provided opportunities for skills development and capacity building with the hiring of a local project coordinator, who took on increasing responsibility over the project life span.  The result is a community supported plan with 50 (from very small to very large) actions to be implemented in the short, medium and long term. Each action has a mini-workplan that the manager responsible for the project can use to guide implementation. The project also includes a monitoring and evaluation component.

Client: Coldwater Indian Band

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with Coldwater First Nation on a Comprehensive Community Plan and Land Use Plan to guide decision-making and lands management in the community’s future development.  While completed in little over six months (comparable projects typically lasting 12 to 18 months), the project still included significant community-based and paced, including three community open houses, two youth forums, a community survey, a session with Chief and Council, and multiple meetings with the CCP Planning Team made of Coldwater staff departmental managers.  The CCP includes a prioritized list of actions including quick-starts, foundational actions, and medium and long-term actions.  The final plans were approved by an overwhelming majority of members at the Annual General Meeting in the fall, and accepted by Band Council Resolution the following week.

Client: Gitga’at Nation

Date: 2012 – 2014

Hartley Bay, Gitga’at Nation’s main community, is a remote, coastal community that is potentially very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For example, climate related weather changes are anticipated to effect many cultural sites as well as traditional activities such as fishing, hunting and gathering which accounts for over 50% of their food. EcoPlan and ‘A Closer Look Consulting’ worked with Gitga’at to develop an understanding of the potential impacts from climate change in their region, and how the effects will overlap with their current way of life and what is important to them (for both on- and off-reserve members).  From there, community engagement and structured decision making led to the creation of adaptation action ideas, and the prioritization of these ideas into a concrete strategy for adaptation.

Client: St’át’imc Trust, St’át’imc Nation

Dates: 2012

An association of ten communities located in southwestern BC close in and around Lillooet, BC, the St’át’imc Nation recently negotiated a settlement for the impacts of hydroelectric development on their traditional territories. EcoPlan was hired by the St’át’imc Trust Board through their trustee, Deloitte, to review the state of comprehensive community planning in each of the ten communities, identify planning gaps and opportunities, and explore the potential of developing a unique, comprehensive regional CCP that would link and coordinate the planning efforts of the Nation’s ten communities. Working with a local St’át’imc community planner, EcoPlan supported the project and facilitated project CCP training meetings and a final workshop with all ten communities.

Client: Lower Similkameen Indian Band

Date: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Beringia Planning to support the development of a community economic development strategy for the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. This strategy provided vital information that continues to guide decision making and action at a time when the Nation continues to transition towards greater accountability and transparency in its economic development governance. Strategy work included the development of a community profile, research on the regional economy and opportunities, and a range of community engagement activities (surveys, open houses, etc.).

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2011

EcoPlan provided a review and analysis of the “Marpole Archeological Site (DHRS 0001) Management Plan – A Proposal”, a document that provides the history of a valuable archeological midden located in Vancouver, BC.  Determining that the document was mistitled and was not a management plan, EcoPlan recommended a management plan for the site be developed, as well as providing a suggested process framework, list of preliminary stakeholders and the key issues such a plan would include.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2011-2013

Having assisted Musqueam First Nation in developing a concept plan for St. Mungo interpretive centre – an important archaeological site located on the banks of the Fraser River in Delta, B.C. – EcoPlan was retained to help the Musqueam people and the Province of British Columbia describe how the site’s development as a recognition area and its future operation and management will be undertaken.

EcoPlan also helped develop more detailed construction standards, operations management guidelines, archeological information, and protocols for the Site Management Plan in the following three supporting technical documents:

  • Site Management Plan Construction Guidelines Report
  • Site Management and Operations Plan
  • Historical and Archeological Context Report

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2012

Building off of an earlier culture park concept design project, EcoPlan supported Driftpile First Nation to develop detailed cost estimates for its construction.  This included researching regionally specific materials and construction costs for the park’s various elements, and phasing the costs according to the construction schedule.  Driftpile is using the estimates to support project capital fundraising.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Dates: 2012

EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum with the Council and key staff from Driftpile First Nation. The focus of the forum was on enterprise governance – specifically on developing an economic development corporation that clearly separates business from politics with a focus on wealth creation and being “investor ready”. A clear long-term vision was agreed upon and specific next steps were articulated in an action plan approved by Council to move the effort forward.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan completed a comprehensive community plan for the Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA). A formally landless community who negotiated their community’s land based in 2008, the plan focuses on this new area located at Partridge Lake, about three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Called Giiwedaa (which means “coming home” in Ojibwe) the development of the plan included a major community engagement component that involved AZA members living throughout five core communities in north-western Ontario. The final document includes eight short-term projects organized under the community-identified and prioritized development objectives that were honed over the course of the year it took to complete the plan. One of the eight priority projects – a Land Use Plan for Partridge Lake – was completed concurrently with the comprehensive community plan.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) on a comprehensive community plan for a new reserve, received by the formerly landless First Nation in 2008. Located three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Partridge Lake community will ultimately be home to administrative offices, community facilities, housing and new businesses. With a widely scattered population, the project included a major engagement focus using both web 2.0 methods and more conventional, direct outreach.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2011

One of the priority tourism opportunities identified in an earlier assessment carried out by EcoPlan was a culture park and learning centre. EcoPlan was retained by Driftpile First Nation to develop a concept plan, preliminary design and site program for this facility on band-owned land adjoining their reserve.  The concept included new pow-wow grounds and was meant to support project fundraising. The concept plan has since been used to raise corporate donations and Driftpile is scheduled to commence on the first phases of work.

Client: Lil’wat First Nation

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was engaged by the Lil’wat First Nation to create a five-year economic development strategy. Initial work included a community assessment and base-case analysis of current economic opportunities in the region, and the development of tools to engage community members in participatory planning processes. A community open house and a youth workshop allowed community members and council to value objectives and prioritize economic development actions. The prioritized actions were then organized into a comprehensive economic development strategy, with attainable targets and clear work plans that will help facilitate self-sufficiency and sustainable revenue generation for the Lil’wat people.

Client: Gitga’at First Nation

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan helped the Gitga’at First Nation on BC’s north coast formulate a five-year strategy for sustainable economic development. Work included the development of a comprehensive community profile and base-case analysis of current economic opportunities, trends and issues in and along BC’s north coast. The community-based and driven project utilized structured decision-making tools to allow Chief and Council, staff and community members living both on- and off-reserve to develop a shared community economic development vision and to prioritize supporting objectives. The objectives were used to evaluate, filter and ultimately prioritize a series of economic investment and attraction activities that would also help build community capacity. The final strategy ultimately highlighted green energy production (micro-hydro), eco-tourism and micro value-added seafood processing as the top opportunities to pursue.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was retained by Musqueam to assist with public engagement efforts around their self-governance initiatives. Musqueam is entering into bilateral negotiations with the federal government in order to formulate a self-governance framework that will determine a new relationship between the Nation and Canada. Key issues include Musqueam jurisdiction over its constitution, membership, lands and resource management, environment, health, culture and heritage, education, gaming, public services, justice, taxation, and municipal space. EcoPlan helped engage and inform the Musqueam nation and the wider community about to the details of the negotiation process, proceedings, and future policy options.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan assisted Musqueam with the development of a conceptual plan for the St. Mungo interpretive site, located on the banks of the Fraser River in Delta, BC. Positioned as the waterfront terminus of an extensive trail system that extends north from Burns bog, the site will have a positive recreational benefit for surrounding neighbourhoods while helping inform and engage visitors in Musqueam history and culture. Investing the skills and creativity of the Musqueam will help rebuild a rich cultural identity on the site and re-establish a strong sense of place.

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) is the largest aboriginal-owned and operated tourism attraction in Canada. EcoPlan was retained by Canadian Badlands Limited to identify and assess economic development and tourism opportunities in and around BCHP and the Canadian Badlands Region. Project work incorporated an extensive body of past planning work carried out by Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) and utilized a participatory planning approach that involved the larger Siksika community and senior BCHP staff. The BCHP Area Development Plan project included two distinct components:

  • Community Tourism Profile: EcoPlan completed a community tourism profile in July 2010. The document included an overview of current BCHP operations, facilities and visitation, an inventory of regional tourism attractions and infrastructure, a review of local and provincial tourism markets and trends, and a gap analysis of the BCHP area. This profile was used to inform and guide the next project component and assist in the evaluation and selection of site development opportunities.
  • Tourism Opportunity Study and Area Development Plan Concept: The project’s second component was a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment, and prioritization of potential tourism development opportunities for BCHP. The project committee went through a structured decision-making process to identify and prioritize key tourism development opportunities that could be implemented to benefit both BCHP and the Siksika Nation economically, culturally, socially and environmentally. The plan presents a series of short-term “quick start” recommendations and three long-term tourism product development opportunities.

Client: Musqueam First Nation

Date: 2010 – 2011

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Planning Practice

2010 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (Honorable Mention)

Musqueam’s comprehensive, sustainable community development plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind tells the story of the community’s past, its present, and its future path. The culmination of years of collaboration, innovation and learning, this Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) sets a new standard for effective, responsive and integrated community-based strategic planning. As the community’s guiding plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind will lead Musqueam to becoming a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation and a complete and healthy community.

This project involved a full suite of strategic approaches to research, objectives, prioritization, community engagement, organizational development, action planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring. A community-driven effort, We Are of One Heart and Mind was built upon Musqueam values and their unique culture. EcoPlan worked to ensure that the planning process was community driven, engaging Musqueam members every step of the way in all aspects of plan development. Integrating twenty economic, social, physical and organizational planning developments, We Are of One Heart and Mind will provide current and future leadership, administration, and members with direction and guidance on how the Musqueam community is to develop over time.

A key principle of this project was that internal capacity building and planning tool development was integrated into the collaboration process. Through this process Musqueam developed its strategic planning capacity to promote consensus, increase transparency and ensure the incorporation of community feedback in decisions. This increased capacity facilitated the developed new land use evaluation and scenario modeling tools, and the incorporation of internet-based resources (Google Earth, Sketch Up, social media) to improve community engagement and planning processes.

We Are of One Heart and Mind includes:

  • A powerful community vision;
  • Community objectives, ranked and prioritized by Musqueam members;
  • Supporting actions, prioritized and sequenced (short, medium and long-term) to help realize community objectives;
  • Guidelines for implementation; and,
  • monitoring and evaluation framework for both compliance and impact monitoring to increase staff capacity and allow for future improvements to the plan.

As a summary document, the CCP also includes highlights of related sub-plans, procedures and tools, including:

  • Community Profile summarizing the community and trends affecting it;
  • An integrated Land Use Plan for Musqueam’s reserves and settlement lands;
  • Departmental strategic planswork plans and budgets that link and coordinate with community objectives and plan actions;
  • A new administration organization chart and operating procedure to improve efficiency and support plan implementation;
  • A high-level Economic Development Strategy and principles, including a new economic development corporation to lead enterprise development; and,
  • A set of new planning tools to support ongoing plan implementation and the creation of new policies, programs and plans in the future.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2010

As a result of the previous Tourism Opportunity Assessment, EcoPlan developed a business plan and design for a 511-site RV park to be developed on the shores of Lesser Slave Lake, on the land of the Driftpile First Nation. Progressive environmental design features and a significant cultural component, a performance area, interpretive displays and a cultural program will distinguish this facility as a visibly Cree venture. EcoPlan developed a comprehensive business plan for the development of the facility over ten years in six phases. The flexible approach will help ensure that internal Driftpile capacity to operate and manage the facility is developed in tandem with its growth as a business.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Musqueam Indian Band to develop a land use plan for Musqueam’s three reserves, recently acquired settlement lands in the City of Vancouver, and fee-simple lands owned by the band and located throughout the Lower Mainland. The community-driven project was integrated with Musqueam’s larger comprehensive community planning program and involved considerable member input. The land use plan included cultural and environmental design guidelines and the development of both a building by-law and zoning by-law. Special attention was paid to future climate impact risks, mitigation and adaptation measures. The project used cutting edge scenario development and structured decision-making approach using both third party software (CommunityViz) and EcoPlan-developed Excel and GIS-based decision support tools.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan assisted Musqueam in writing a proposal for the Host First Nations Pavilion from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The proposal included production of video and graphic support material. Musqueam’s bid was successful and the pavilion has since been rebuilt as Musqueam’s Cultural Learning Centre.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan conducted a rigorous analytical and community engagement process to determine how to utilize $17 million in 2010 Legacy Dollars. This project involved custom decision analysis and community involvement tools (including personal interview surveys, web-based surveys, focus groups and workshops) to align policy with community needs and values. An indicator of the success of the engagement process was a 2-to-1 vote on the Legacy project at a General Band Meeting, with not one member criticizing or questioning the results in the question period prior to the vote.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan supported a sports facility planning process to capitalize on special legacy funding opportunities, available through Musqueam’s role as one of four Host First Nations of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. A team of staff and community members reviewed possible locations, requirements, and activities for the potential facility. Using technical data, professional assessments, input from community members and community leaders and a set of objective-based evaluation criteria, seven potential options were considered. The planning process involved substantial community engagement, including two open houses, working groups and family meetings. The final location received broad support from the community. The project received a 2010 Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (honourable mention) from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan conducted a retreat for the Musqueam Council to address governance issues. During the retreat, EcoPlan facilitated effective discussion between Council members and helped develop a strategic plan for Council and for the Economic Development branch of the Musqueam government.

Client: Treaty 7 Management Corporation (Standoff, AB, Canada)

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan identified sustainable and pro-poor economic opportunities within the region’s tourism sector. Beginning with a site analysis of the Nation’s Timber Limit Reserve, opportunities for forest-based nature tourism were identified and assessed according to their potential impacts on the livelihoods of local community stakeholders. With the primary objective of employment generation, this project helped orient some of the region’s tourism benefits and revenues to its poorest segments of the population.

Client: Canim Lake Indian Band (Canim Lake, BC, Canada)

Date: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan was engaged to identify and assess community tourism opportunities for the Canim Lake Indian Band around their vast network of trails and trap lines. The assessment began with the development of a comprehensive situation assessment/tourism capital analysis for the Band’s traditional territory with supporting maps and geo-visualizations. A stakeholder-driven decision process to articulate a community tourism vision, formulate objectives, and identify recreation and tourism development opportunities followed. A feasibility study of the selected alternative was also completed.

Client: Blood Tribe Economic Development Corporation

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan helped create a business plan to establish an Aboriginal arts & crafts enterprise that links one of Canada’s largest aboriginal communities to the region’s growing tourism sector, specifically within Waterton Lakes National Park. This project began by building a unique brand for the community and its artisans and included a marketing strategy to expand its reach beyond the local tourism base. A cooperative was explored to assist the artists in developing products and reaching markets previously inaccessible to them.

Client: Kwicksutaineuk Ah‐kwaw‐ah‐mish First Nations (Gwayasdums)

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan conducted a feasibility study that assessed the purchase of a boat by a small, isolated, and Aboriginal community on the coast of British Columbia. This boat purchase was identified as a tourism opportunity to provide wilderness ecotours to visitors while also providing the local population with access to the mainland for community needs. Using a social enterprise model, this boat will utilize tourism revenues raised in the summer months to support and maintain the 12-month usage of the boat for other community and social priorities.

Client: Lil’wat First Nation

Date: 2009

EcoPlan worked with a multi-stakeholder community group representing Elders, senior staff and community workers to develop an Active Transportation Strategy for the community of Mt. Currie in southwestern BC. The project included a structured decision-making process in which the stakeholder group identified and ranked community health and mobility objectives in order to prioritize a final group of three active transportation projects, to be implemented over a period of four years.

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan helped develop an economic development strategy for the Kwicksutaineuk Ah-kwaw-ah-mish First Nations. After conducting an economic base analysis, a series of community workshops identified potential economic development options that were then evaluated using objectives developed by the community. Economic development options were prioritized and further refined based on required phasing, and local capacity constraints. This was followed by the creation of action plans, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and pre-feasibility analyses of select alternatives.

Client: Lower Nicola Indian Band

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan completed the first phase of a three-phase project to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan for the Lower Nicola Indian Band, which is located just outside of Merritt, BC. The first phase of work included the development of a detailed Community Profile, a community survey and the identification and ranking of community development objectives through an innovative, consensus-based process that involved the whole community, including leadership and Band staff.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2009

EcoPlan facilitated a retreat for the Musqueam Chief and Council, which focused on developing an effective Musqueam economic development governance structure. This governance structure has helped improve transparency, economic efficiency and boost revenue generation.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2009

EcoPlan conducted a design review of a major Community and Recreation Centre expansion adjacent to the Musqueam Band Administration building. The project involved a comprehensive design review using Design Guidelines that were developed by EcoPlan as part of the Musqueam Land Use Plan. The building is now nearing completion and is broadly supported by Musqueam members as a new community recreation hub.

2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning

Planning Institute of British Columbia 2007 Award for Excellence in Planning

EcoPlan coordinated a community-based project to establish a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) for the Kwicksutaineuk Ah‐kwaw‐ah‐mish First Nations. The CCP was the culmination of three phases of work. Starting in 2006, EcoPlan implemented a planning effort to develop a new site plan for Gwa-yas-dums Village and a long term, comprehensive strategy for the Nations. The village plan includes land use, cultural design components, housing, energy, and solid waste management. Following this initial plan, the second phase focused on culture & history, health & wellness, lands & resources and governance. A third project phase resulted in a community economic development strategy.

The Comprehensive Community Plan process was community driven, with community members participating at every level of decision-making and direction setting. The final plan is instrumental to KHFN’s vision of becoming a healthy, sustainable community that is culturally vibrant and economically stable. This project was awarded the 2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning, marking the first time an Aboriginal community has been awarded a national planning award.

Client: Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Powell River Regional District

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation and the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) to identify opportunities for coordinating land use planning between the two governments, for potential Treaty Settlement Lands Tla’amin had identified as part of their treaty negotiations. The project resulted in 21 recommendations that were adopted by PRRD and Tla’amin to include in their current land use plans as well as in any future land use plans for the region.  Work included significant outreach and engagement with PRRD residents and Tla’amin First Nation members, and was recognized by both parties as an important trust and relationship building process. The project also resolved one of the most contentious land issues– the recognition of a fee simple property owned by the Nation as a Treaty Settlement Land parcel — and helped move Tla’amin closer to a treaty-in-principle.

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Date: 2008

EcoPlan developed a Land Use Mapping Interview and Training Guide for KHFN that demonstrated effective ways of mapping and recording traditional land use and related oral histories to assist with KHFN’s future land use planning. The guide was used by KHFN to identify and designate three regional land use areas: conservation areas, cultural emphasis areas, and stewardship areas. The guide was also used to determine the current legal statuses of those areas, their existing land uses, and the impacts in their traditional territories.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2008

EcoPlan supported a Staff Retreat that focused on Strategic Planning and Organizational Planning in the Musqueam community. This retreat built on a previous staff planning retreat which focused on developing the 2008 departmental work plans and visions. The workshop, which emphasized Musqueam organizational development, was designed as an interactive group exercise where participants learned from each other, the facilitators, and the training materials to produce tangible results.

Client: Ta’an Kwäch’än (Whitehorse, Yukon)

Dates: 2006 – 2007

EcoPlan collaborated with Beringia Planning to develop a twenty-five year strategic plan and local economic development training program for the Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon. The project included an extensive labour market/human resources SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and an integrated community capacity and skills upgrading component.

Client: Blood Tribe Economic Development

Date: 2007

EcoPlan identified economic opportunities and established a long-term sustainable tourism strategy for the Kainai Nation, the largest (geographically) reserve in Canada. Through a structured decision analysis process with key stakeholders and a comprehensive situation assessment process, a 15-year tourism development plan was developed. Prioritized tourism development activities included an arts & crafts cooperative, wilderness trekking, and a small grants program for new tourism entrepreneurs.

Clients: Province of BC’s Integrated Land Management Bureau, St’at’imc First Nation

Date: 2006

EcoPlan led a strategic planning process to help the St’át’imc First Nation identify sustainable, 2010 Olympic-related economic opportunities that would carry on beyond the horizon of the Games. The planning process utilized a structured decision-making procedure involving an Advisory Committee that represented all St’át’imc communities, agencies and Tribal Councils. The ground-up, community-led process integrated technical information and informed value judgments. The project also identified potential 2010-related impacts in the areas of security and public safety, transportation, real estate and housing, and tourism.

Clients: Hesquiaht First Nation, Ecotrust Canada

Date: 2006

EcoPlan developed a multi-phase trail concept for the Hesquiaht First Nation on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Project work included a market and development feasibility plan, preliminary routing, design guidelines and costing. When completed, the 88-kilometre trail will travel through and over some of BC’s most spectacular and diverse coastlines, making it a premier wilderness hiking destination. Shorter looped boardwalk trails with interpretive elements will also be developed.

Clients: Ecotrust Canada, ‘Namgis First Nation

Date: 2005

EcoPlan assessed the feasibility of a multi-phase eco-tourism and cultural education project for Yukusam (Hanson Island) near Alert Bay off the northeast end of Vancouver Island. The study tested the financial viability and sustainability of a cultural interpretative facility and trail network to be developed by the N’amgis First Nation. Regional, local and international tourism trends were assessed, potential competitors and collaborators analyzed and a revised tour program was developed, costed and phased. As part of the project, a site map and concept plan was developed for the trail system, associated facilities, and a traditional ‘Big House’ to be located on the island.

Client: Alberta Métis Settlements General Council

Date: 2004

EcoPlan conducted a community-based participatory analysis of economic development potentials and impacts on traditional and cultural integrity for eight indigenous communities in Northern Alberta. The project included an analysis of tourism development opportunities, forestry, oil, and gas development.

Training, Skills & Resources

Client: TransLink

Date: 2013

Working with other experts in the field of structured decision-making (Mike Harstone of Compass Resource Management, Dr. Robin Gregory of Value Scope Research, and Basil Stumborg, BC Hydro’s Decision Analysis Expert for Energy Planning and Economic Development), EcoPlan developed and delivered a three day structured decision-making (SDM) course for Translink planners and decision-makers.  The course involved presentations, interactive activities and small group project work to give participants a working understanding of the basic foundations of structuring complex decisions, including:

  • Scoping, framing and structuring – separating facts from values;
  • Developing good objectives and performance measures;
  • Crafting strong, creative alternatives;
  • Effectively addressing trade‐offs, linked decisions, risks and uncertainty;
  • Common decision pitfalls, challenges and their responses; and
  • Implementing SDM at TransLink.

Ultimately, the course was designed to help participants make decisions that are defensible, transparent, and efficient; decisions that build trust and use information better; and decisions that achieve durable results in the long term because they meet their identified objectives.

Client: District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Date: 2012 

Based on our proprietary and award winning participatory strategic planning process, EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum for the District of Summerland. The forum attracted over 50 members of the local business community, the District of Summerland Mayor, Council and staff, residents, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. In a focused session, the participants identified a set of targeted actions to address key challenges and move Summerland forward toward more organized economic development planning.

Client: UN-Habitat, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), International Urban Training Centre (IUTC)

Date: November 2011, November 2012

EcoPlan supported the development of tools and the delivery of a seven day training on eco-efficient and socially inclusive infrastructure. Participants included municipal planners, architects, engineers and administrators from local governments throughout Asia and the Pacific. The training included lectures from leading academics and practitioners in the field, field trips to visit eco-efficient infrastructure and intensive group work focused on real case studies used walk through the strategic planning process.

This training was conducted in conjunction with a four-year research, testing and development project to produce a set of guidelines and accompanying publication on eco-efficient and social inclusive infrastructure, carried out by UNESCAP. EcoPlan’s strategic planning framework was incorporated into this publication and training, to provide a structure for decision-making to help prioritize choices and focus resource use efficiently.

Small group work for case studies – Day 3

Break-out session discussions – Day 6

Field trip to regional waste facility in Chuncheon, South Korea

Client: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to develop a workshop guide to support HSF’s Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Toolkit, a resource guide for individuals and organizations interested in making their communities healthier places to live. As a companion document, the workshop guide helps HSF’s volunteer facilitators provide a workshop experience that is responsive to their audience and the local community context. The guide provides detailed, annotated agendas for delivering a two-hour, ½ day or full-day Shaping Active, Healthy Communities workshop and includes unique, innovative workshop activities, an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and comprehensive resource materials.

Client: BC Recreation and Parks Association

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan designed and facilitated a workshop that pulled together health practitioners and economic development stakeholders to identify the links between a healthy built environment and local economic development. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss how communities could facilitate economic development and diversification opportunities by addressing complimentary health and sustainability goals. The five-site video conferencing workshop involved participants from 10 regional districts, over 25 municipalities and several First Nation governments. This innovative approach allowed for a mix of ideas and perspectives from representatives across a large geographic area that could not have been facilitated in a traditional workshop. The Fraser Basin Council, the Interior Health Authority, and the Ministry of Community and Rural Development supported the project.

Client: BC Recreation and Parks Association

Date: 2009

EcoPlan developed a Built Environment and Active Transportation (B.E.A.T.) Neighbourhood Assessment tool to help local governments, community organizations and individuals understand how built environments impact active transportation in their neighbourhoods – both urban and rural. The tool facilitates the assessment of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, roads and parking, trails, transit, safety aesthetics, services, and other factors. A final evaluation score allows guide users to see how their neighbourhood compares to others, and how to proceed with active transportation planning. The assessment tool was disseminated to local governments across BC and community groups with an interest in healthy built environments and active transportation.

Client: Canadian International Development Agency

Date: 2009

EcoPlan conducted two workshops in the Philippines that focused on building a deeper understanding of local economic development practices and approaches for national government stakeholders and members of selected local government organizations. The workshops introduced participants to a value-based, strategic planning approach that incorporates structured decision-making and project prioritization tools. Workshop activities identified a series of practical “catalytic actions” for stakeholders to consider implementing following the training session.

Client: Provincial Health Services Authority

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan worked with the Province of British Columbia’s Health Services Authority to develop and deliver Land Use Planning 101, a capacity building workshop series for health professionals to encourage them to become more involved in local planning processes. The initiative included the development and production of a workshop manual and trainers guide to introduce health professionals to local and regional planning processes in BC and explore the multiple links between physical planning and population health.

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Date: 2008

EcoPlan developed a Land Use Mapping Interview and Training Guide for KHFN that demonstrated effective ways of mapping and recording traditional land use and related oral histories to assist with KHFN’s future land use planning. The guide was used by KHFN to identify and designate three regional land use areas: conservation areas, cultural emphasis areas, and stewardship areas. The guide was also used to determine the current legal statuses of those areas, their existing land uses, and the impacts in their traditional territories.

Client: International Labour Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)

Date: 2008

EcoPlan contributed to the development of a Local Economic Recovery Learn and Practice Package, a manual series for practitioners containing guidance, operational tools, and self‐assessment instruments for Local Economic Recovery (LER) field practice. To be globally disseminated by the International Labour Organization, the package is comprised of seven guides, four of which EcoPlan authored. Each guide contains a set of relevant tools (e.g., survey instruments, decision-making instruments, sensitization and awareness raising instruments, etc.) that can be used during each step of the LER process. An innovative online peer review platform was also created for the guide’s development.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2008

EcoPlan supported a Staff Retreat that focused on Strategic Planning and Organizational Planning in the Musqueam community. This retreat built on a previous staff planning retreat which focused on developing the 2008 departmental work plans and visions. The workshop, which emphasized Musqueam organizational development, was designed as an interactive group exercise where participants learned from each other, the facilitators, and the training materials to produce tangible results.

Client: UN-HABITAT (Nairobi, Kenya)

Date: 2007

EcoPlan authored a manual that assisted in the design and delivery of training workshops for the training series publication Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning, which was produced for UN‐HABITAT by EcoPlan. It provided field‐tested advice on the efficient management of the training process from workshop organization to post‐training monitoring and evaluation. The tools provided were based on experiences delivering training around the world, incorporating the experiences of trainers in many different contexts.  While intended as a companion to the local economic development training series, the manual contains transferrable tools that can be used in any kind of training situation.

Client: Ta’an Kwäch’än (Whitehorse, Yukon)

Dates: 2006 – 2007

EcoPlan collaborated with Beringia Planning to develop a twenty-five year strategic plan and local economic development training program for the Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon. The project included an extensive labour market/human resources SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and an integrated community capacity and skills upgrading component.

2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in International Development

EcoPlan developed a local economic development (LED) training series in partnership with UN-HABITAT, through a process of research, peer review and field‐testing. The training series acts as a resource guide for local governments, businesses and civil society organizations to initiate and implement economic development interventions through locally driven strategic planning processes. There are four documents in the series:

  • Quick Guide. This summary document provides a brief overview of strategic planning for local economic development, and the concepts presented in the other LED volumes.
  • Manual. The core element in the training series, the manual present concepts and processes integral to a strategic planning approach to LED. The manual employs a 10-step framework that is flexible and adaptable to wide range of planning contexts.
  • Tool Kit. This document provides support tools to facilitate each step in the planning framework outlined in the manual.
  • Action Guide. This document supplies practical action ideas and case studies from a variety of field-testing sites around the world
  • Trainers Guide. This separate document was developed to assist in the design and delivery of training workshops. The trainer’s guide provides field‐tested advice on the efficient management of the training process from workshop organization to post‐training monitoring and evaluation.

The guide’s strategic planning approach is substantiated with lessons and anecdotes from the field-testing process, which implemented the guide in sites in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Key outputs are targeted in areas of capacity building, strategy development and implementation to facilitate economic growth that is both sustainable and equitable. The training series has been extremely successful in a wide range of applications all over the world and is available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Clients: UN-HABITAT, Industry Canada, Canadian Urban Institute, CIDA, local agencies

Dates: 2002 – 2006

EcoPlan worked with UN-HABITAT, local partners and Canadian federal partners (Industry Canada, CIDA) to develop and lead several Train-the-Trainer workshops and conferences in Romania, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Chile and Mexico. Focusing on strategic planning for LED, each training session was tailored to the local context, and many involved the creation of strategic planning frameworks which have since been advanced, expanded and implemented by relevant local authorities. For example, the training program in Iloilo, Philippines resulted in the establishment of a regional economic development planning agency and the implementation of the three top priority economic development actions that were identified during the five-day training session.

Clients/Sponsors: UN-HABITAT, Western Economic Diversification and Simon Fraser University

Date: 2006

EcoPlan designed and facilitated a professional development seminar on strategic planning for local economic development (LED) as a special “pre-event” for the World Urban Forum. The interactive seminar examined how various groups – including donors, local government, private sector, and civil society organizations – are addressing LED. The seminar identified common LED challenges and opportunities, and promoted networking, synergies, and collaboration with participants. Both “demand side” (i.e., the municipalities and local governments, the private sector, and civil society/NGO organizations working in LED), and “supply side” (i.e., provincial, state, national, and international agencies and donor organizations that fund and support LED activities) stakeholders attended the seminar.

Client: Evergreen

Date: 2003

EcoPlan developed and delivered a professional development workshop for land use professionals and practitioners on urban green space restoration, enhancement and protection. Certified by both the Planning Institute of BC and the BC Society of Landscape Architects for professional development learning credits, the three-hour workshop included a comprehensive package of training materials and supporting fact sheets (e.g., Green Space and Public Health, Development Benefits of Green Space, etc.), an interactive presentation and a “mini-charette” where participants were challenged to identify green space opportunities and develop supporting programs, policy and strategies around them. The series was delivered to over 20 municipalities in southern BC.

Client: Evergreen Canada

Date: 2002

EcoPlan researched and wrote a nationally disseminated policy and program guidebook for Evergreen Canada to assist municipalities incorporate naturalization in their official plans, policies, environmental programs and operating procedures. Intended primarily for land-use planners, park managers, landscape architects, ecologists and other professionals, the guide can also be used by private landowners as a tool for sustainable landscape management and by citizens to influence positive change in the way municipalities value the role of nature in the city. The development process of the guidebook included a survey of over 40 Canadian municipalities and the formulation of six detailed case studies that explore some of the lessons learned in urban naturalization initiatives in Canada and the United States.

Client: Canadian Institute of Planners

Dates: 1999 – 2000

EcoPlan researched, supported and provided graphic design services during the development of an activity guide and manual to assist with teaching about urban planning and community development. Aimed at planning professionals and educators, the manual is designed to provide ideas, exercises and materials for use with children and youth in a variety of settings, including schools. The document is available through the Canadian Institute of Planners, who published the guide.

Clients: Various

Dates: 2000 – present

EcoPlan has helped a large number of different organizations, First Nations, and foundations with writing proposals and grants. Where appropriate, we focus on capacity building so that internal staff can gain the skills required to write proposals themselves over time. The groups with which we’ve worked have had high success rates with the grants and proposals they submit. Donor agencies have included the provincial and federal governments, Western Economic Diversification, First Nation Infrastructure Fund, INAC Community Economic Opportunity Program, INACE BC Capacity Initiative, Community Planning Grant Report Program, Coast Sustainability Fund, Green Municipal Enabling Funds, BC Real Estate Foundation, VANOC, Vancity Savings Credit Union, the World Bank,, and the United Nations.

Economic Development

Client: Kwik’wastutinuxw Haxwamis First Nation (KHFN)

Date: 2013

In 2009, EcoPlan helped KHFN complete an economic development strategy that identified and then focused on ecotourism opportunities. At that time, significant research was conducted into the types of opportunities, the associated costs, timelines for implementation and potential partnerships. In 2013, EcoPlan was again hired by KHFN to develop an ecotourism business plan. This plan builds on the economic development strategy, and provides more in-depth and up-to-date information. It takes a phased approach to slowly build capacities and refine KHFN tourism offerings.

Client: Bomi County, Grand Bassa County, Grand Gedeh County

Date: 2009

In December of 2009, EcoPlan International delivered a 3-day workshop to representatives of Grand Bassa, Bomi, and Grand Gedeh Counties on Local Economic Development. Working with the United Nations County Support Team (UNCST), UN-HABITAT, the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, EPI staff provided participants with a local economic development (LED) training program with four distinct objectives:

  • To raise awareness among county teams about their role in mobilizing local resources and building partnerships for realizing its Country Development Agendas
  • To introduce county teams to ideas, processes and tools to implement an LED initiative
  • To facilitate exchange of ideas among county officials, practical steps and entry points for improving LED activities with key stakeholders
  • To develop action plan for follow-up activities

The results of this workshop included the building blocks of a high order LED strategy, including agreed upon objectives, prioritized strategy directions, and short-term action plans for mobilization of resources and county staff capacity development.

Client: UN Habitat

Year: 2013

The precursor to this joint UN-Habitat / EcoPlan International toolkit,
Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning,
focused primarily on process – how to develop an economic development
strategy through participatory methods. This toolkit looks at local economic
development in practice. It dives deeper into some of the more common
and important local economic development issues facing local governments
everywhere. Ideas and interventions that have worked elsewhere are
explored. The hope is that the following set of tools will allow development
professionals to enrich strategy processes or better tackle specific economic
development issues.

Tool 1: Conducting a Basic Situation Assessment
Tool 2: Youth in LED
Tool 3: Focusing on sectors
Tool 4: Good Ideas – What’s already working
Tool 5: Economic multipliers

Client: Village of Port Alice

Date: 2015-2016

Following the curtailment of the town’s major employer, Port Alice began working with EcoPlan on a community-driven economic development strategy. The strategy, called ‘Port of Potential‘ by the community,  focuses on opportunities for diversifying the local economy in ways that align with local values, skills and realistic opportunities.  The final plan includes a short list of small projects to be completed in the first 100 days, and implementation plans for larger or longer-term projects to take place over the next 5 years. The development of the plan included participation from about 1/4 of the town’s residents (through 1 on 1 interviews, community meetings and surveys), almost all the businesses in town, community groups and numerous partner organizations.

Client: Ditidaht First Nation

Date: 2014-2015

This study helped Ditidaht First Nation better understand what kind of opportunities they could pursue, and what kind of tourism projects members would like to see, as the Vancouver Island First Nation works to better manage newly acquired Interim Treaty Agreement lands and explore new economic development opportunities. The project reviewed the tourism market in the larger area (Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island’s West Coast), Ditidaht’s existing tourism operations, and Ditidaht’s internal capacity to both develop new tourism projects and manage current operations. The study identified a series of “Quick Start”, Short-term, and Medium-term Opportunities to take advantage of Ditidaht’s great assets and tourism potential, while addressing some of the equally significant challenges that must be overcome to realize them. EcoPlan is currently supporting Ditidaht to implement several shorter-term tourism actions identified by the study.

Client: Village of Alert Bay and ‘Namgis First Nation

Date: 2015

In 2014-2015, EcoPlan supported the communities on Cormorant Island (‘Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay) to develop a consensus economic development strategy.

However, moving plans moving from ideas to action is always a challenge. In an innovative effort (suggested by ‘Namgis and the Village), EcoPlan relocated a staff member to Alert Bay to initiate implementation. Over the course of five weeks, EcoPlan led the resourcing of key actions through grant research and writing, as well as spearheaded the implementation of several short-term actions, including historical signage for the town boardwalk, the development of a summer farmers market, several litter reduction actions.

EcoPlan also supported the longer-term implementation of the Plan by working with the two governments to develop a framework and workplan for joint implementation. This work included an evaluation of implementation models (e.g., non-profit society, economic development corporation, Steering Committee), Terms of References, job descriptions, and organization charts.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2015

EcoPlan is working with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) on an economic development strategy for on- and off-reserve opportunities for the band and band members. The strategy is intended to be a guiding document and workplan for a soon-to-be-hired economic development officer, and will include a skills inventory, assessment of opportunities in the region, analysis of the opportunities available to Xwísten, and phased implementation plan. EcoPlan will also work with Xwísten to evaluate options for the structure of the band businesses, looking at the relative merits and draw backs of band-owned businesses, economic development corporations, and other business structures.

Client: ’Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay

Date: 2014 to 2015

EcoPlan worked with the ‘Namgis First Nation, and the Village of Alert Bay to develop a joint economic development strategy for Cormorant Island (one of the first such joint projects in Canada).  The two governments had worked together on a number of projects over the years, and uncovered a number of potential economic opportunities, but a comprehensive plan was needed to examine what actions could be jointly undertaken, and which ones would have the most positive impact on the community.

A unique aspect of this project was designing communications and engagement methods that reached both populations on the island, as well as external stakeholders.  At the project outset, EcoPlan co-developed an engagement strategy with input from both Councils and staff members. Engagement activities included:

  • Steering Committee made up of representatives from both sides of the island (this group met regularly to oversee the project)
  • Bi-weekly social media updates through ‘Namgis channels (Twitter, Facebook), a preferred method of communication with members
  • Paper newsletters and posters around the island
  • Business visits and one-on-one conversations with owners and operators
  • Large open houses
  • Small focus group discussions
  • Youth ambassadors
  • A survey that nearly ¼ of the island’s population participated in

Upon completing the planning process, an EcoPlan staff member moved to Alert Bay for one month to begin implementing some of the quick start actions and laying the ground work for more long term actions (e.g., hiring an economic development coordinator).

Client: Regional District of Mount Waddington

Dates: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the Regional District of Mount Waddington on an analysis of the strategic sectors that will be the basis for economic development in the next 5-10 years in the Regional District. Following an initial analysis of the relative size and growth potential of each sector, the study focused in on five sectors. Analysis of each sector included markets, labour, environmental factors, regulatory issues and other factors, both as a ‘snapshot’ of current conditions and as a forward looking trend analysis. The project included both focused stakeholder engagement (focus groups, 1-on-1 interviews, steering committee) and a broader public engagement component (community forum, survey, newsletters). This work feeds into the economic development planning processes of local governments in the Regional District, and will hopefully lead to a new level of collaboration on the North Island.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the District of Squamish on the development of an Employment Lands Strategy for the district municipality. The project builds off the District’s current planning work (e.g., OCP and Zoning update, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan, Oceanfront Development) to help ensure that employment lands are available and used to their full potential for the community’s benefit and economic development. To incorporate a structured, strategic planning process, the project included the development of employment scenarios to help the District determine the best approach for the likeliest future scenario, and be prepared to accommodate significant development opportunities (e.g., Wood Fibre LNG plant) that will significantly impact employment land in the region.

2015 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning

Client: The Regional District of Mount Waddington

Date: 2013 – 2014

Building on the work done over the past two years by the community, EcoPlan worked with the residents of Sointula and Malcolm Island to develop a community economic development strategy.  The island’s reliance on shrinking and volatile resource industries (fishing and forestry) have led to significant changes in employment, population and average age over the past twenty years. A key piece of the project was an economic situation assessment so residents could understand the current economic situation and trends.  Through community open houses, small group meetings, conversations at community hubs (bakery, ferry terminal, etc.), and other engagement methods, a strategy was created that examined opportunities for economic development, and the governance and implementation structures to undertake them (a unique challenge since Malcolm Island has limited local government).

Client: Lower Similkameen Indian Band

Date: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Beringia Planning to support the development of a community economic development strategy for the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. This strategy provided vital information that continues to guide decision making and action at a time when the Nation continues to transition towards greater accountability and transparency in its economic development governance. Strategy work included the development of a community profile, research on the regional economy and opportunities, and a range of community engagement activities (surveys, open houses, etc.).

Client: UN Habitat

Dates: 2012

As part of an ongoing partnership with UN Habitat in providing expert support and advice for local economic development (LED) around the globe, EcoPlan developed the following six tools for LED:

Tool #1: Services and Support – i3 Ideas, Impact, Implementation

  • This tool helps explain what UN-HABITAT has to offer, and how it can help small and medium sized cities develop economically in a sustainable way.

Tool #2: Situation Assessment: Assets, Economic Base and Trend Analysis

  • A practical guide to enable planners in small and medium sized cities to harness best available information and conduct basic analysis so they can establish a fact-based context and framework to consider realistic development scenarios and strategies.

Tool #3: Analysis of agglomeration economies and diseconomies

  • This tool looks at some of the driving factors under the control of small and medium sized cities (e.g., land use and infrastructure policies, urban design, enforcement, informal sector polices, tax regimes) that affect the success of their agglomeration.

Tool #4: Benchmarking and best practices for strategy directions

  • This tool delineates simple benchmarks and outlines strategic planning principles to help small and medium sized cities develop key sectors that take advantage of their asset base.

Tool #5: Good Ideas – what’s working: why, when, where and how

  • This tool will provide insight and direction based on some of the best economic development ideas currently being implemented in cities around the world such as municipal development corporations, form-based planning, and transit oriented development.

Tool # 6: Multiplier effects

  • Big investments are not necessarily big job creators. This tool examines how city governments can harness economic linkages and supply chains to plug leakages and maximize benefits through multipliers in jobs, spending and earning.

Client: District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Date: 2012 

Based on our proprietary and award winning participatory strategic planning process, EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum for the District of Summerland. The forum attracted over 50 members of the local business community, the District of Summerland Mayor, Council and staff, residents, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. In a focused session, the participants identified a set of targeted actions to address key challenges and move Summerland forward toward more organized economic development planning.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2012

Building off of an earlier culture park concept design project, EcoPlan supported Driftpile First Nation to develop detailed cost estimates for its construction.  This included researching regionally specific materials and construction costs for the park’s various elements, and phasing the costs according to the construction schedule.  Driftpile is using the estimates to support project capital fundraising.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Dates: 2012

EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum with the Council and key staff from Driftpile First Nation. The focus of the forum was on enterprise governance – specifically on developing an economic development corporation that clearly separates business from politics with a focus on wealth creation and being “investor ready”. A clear long-term vision was agreed upon and specific next steps were articulated in an action plan approved by Council to move the effort forward.

Client: Rain Forest Adventures / DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (German Investment and Development Company)

Dates: 2012

EcoPlan conducted an environmental and social gap-analysis for the purpose of financing the expansion of sustainable tourism operations of Rain Forest Adventures. A range of methods was employed including desk analysis, field investigations of operations in Jamaica and Costa Rica and research to determine overall corporate responsibility and areas for further work. EcoPlan developed a sustainable tourism specific framework for the project, using the IFC and World Bank performance standards as a basis.

Client: Lil’wat First Nation

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was engaged by the Lil’wat First Nation to create a five-year economic development strategy. Initial work included a community assessment and base-case analysis of current economic opportunities in the region, and the development of tools to engage community members in participatory planning processes. A community open house and a youth workshop allowed community members and council to value objectives and prioritize economic development actions. The prioritized actions were then organized into a comprehensive economic development strategy, with attainable targets and clear work plans that will help facilitate self-sufficiency and sustainable revenue generation for the Lil’wat people.

Client: Gitga’at First Nation

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan helped the Gitga’at First Nation on BC’s north coast formulate a five-year strategy for sustainable economic development. Work included the development of a comprehensive community profile and base-case analysis of current economic opportunities, trends and issues in and along BC’s north coast. The community-based and driven project utilized structured decision-making tools to allow Chief and Council, staff and community members living both on- and off-reserve to develop a shared community economic development vision and to prioritize supporting objectives. The objectives were used to evaluate, filter and ultimately prioritize a series of economic investment and attraction activities that would also help build community capacity. The final strategy ultimately highlighted green energy production (micro-hydro), eco-tourism and micro value-added seafood processing as the top opportunities to pursue

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan helped develop an economic development strategy for the Kwicksutaineuk Ah-kwaw-ah-mish First Nations. After conducting an economic base analysis, a series of community workshops identified potential economic development options that were then evaluated using objectives developed by the community. Economic development options were prioritized and further refined based on required phasing, and local capacity constraints. This was followed by the creation of action plans, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and pre-feasibility analyses of select alternatives.

Client: Canadian International Development Agency

Date: 2009

EcoPlan conducted two workshops in the Philippines that focused on building a deeper understanding of local economic development practices and approaches for national government stakeholders and members of selected local government organizations. The workshops introduced participants to a value-based, strategic planning approach that incorporates structured decision-making and project prioritization tools. Workshop activities identified a series of practical “catalytic actions” for stakeholders to consider implementing following the training session.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2009

EcoPlan facilitated a retreat for the Musqueam Chief and Council, which focused on developing an effective Musqueam economic development governance structure. This governance structure has helped improve transparency, economic efficiency and boost revenue generation.

Client: International Labour Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)

Date: 2008

EcoPlan contributed to the development of a Local Economic Recovery Learn and Practice Package, a manual series for practitioners containing guidance, operational tools, and self‐assessment instruments for Local Economic Recovery (LER) field practice. To be globally disseminated by the International Labour Organization, the package is comprised of seven guides, four of which EcoPlan authored. Each guide contains a set of relevant tools (e.g., survey instruments, decision-making instruments, sensitization and awareness raising instruments, etc.) that can be used during each step of the LER process. An innovative online peer review platform was also created for the guide’s development.

Client: Cities of Colwood and Langford

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with a larger consultant team led by HB Lanarc (now Golder) to review and update the Official Community Plans (OCP) of Colwood and Langford, two of B.C.’s fastest growing communities. EcoPlan was responsible for the OCP’s economic development chapter and worked closely with the community and project stakeholder to develop it. The final OCP won a 2008 Award of Planning Excellence from the Planning Institute of BC.

EcoPlan conducted an Economic Opportunity Assessment project for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) to foster economic development and to facilitate collaboration among local governments. The project was coordinated by the SLRD as part of its Regional Growth Strategy initiative, and included many municipal, regional and First Nations governments.

The project had two main components. An Economic Base Analysis provided a ‘snap shot’ of local labour market trends, including demographics, employment, wages and capacity measures, along with a summary analysis of four key local business sectors – tourism, forestry, agriculture and energy. This analysis informed the project’s second component, an Economic Opportunity Assessment, which involved a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment and prioritization of potential economic development opportunities. The final strategy identified three top priority opportunities: a Joint Economic Development Strategy, a Joint Economic Development Working Group, and a St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre. The SLRD has adopted the Joint Economic Development Strategy, and the Working Group is proceeding forward. The St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre is currently in development.

Client: UN-HABITAT (Nairobi, Kenya)

Date: 2007

EcoPlan authored a manual that assisted in the design and delivery of training workshops for the training series publication Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning, which was produced for UN‐HABITAT by EcoPlan. It provided field‐tested advice on the efficient management of the training process from workshop organization to post‐training monitoring and evaluation. The tools provided were based on experiences delivering training around the world, incorporating the experiences of trainers in many different contexts.  While intended as a companion to the local economic development training series, the manual contains transferrable tools that can be used in any kind of training situation.

Client: Ta’an Kwäch’än (Whitehorse, Yukon)

Dates: 2006 – 2007

EcoPlan collaborated with Beringia Planning to develop a twenty-five year strategic plan and local economic development training program for the Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon. The project included an extensive labour market/human resources SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and an integrated community capacity and skills upgrading component.

2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in International Development

EcoPlan developed a local economic development (LED) training series in partnership with UN-HABITAT, through a process of research, peer review and field‐testing. The training series acts as a resource guide for local governments, businesses and civil society organizations to initiate and implement economic development interventions through locally driven strategic planning processes. There are four documents in the series:

  • Quick Guide. This summary document provides a brief overview of strategic planning for local economic development, and the concepts presented in the other LED volumes.
  • Manual. The core element in the training series, the manual present concepts and processes integral to a strategic planning approach to LED. The manual employs a 10-step framework that is flexible and adaptable to wide range of planning contexts.
  • Tool Kit. This document provides support tools to facilitate each step in the planning framework outlined in the manual.
  • Action Guide. This document supplies practical action ideas and case studies from a variety of field-testing sites around the world
  • Trainers Guide. This separate document was developed to assist in the design and delivery of training workshops. The trainer’s guide provides field‐tested advice on the efficient management of the training process from workshop organization to post‐training monitoring and evaluation.

The guide’s strategic planning approach is substantiated with lessons and anecdotes from the field-testing process, which implemented the guide in sites in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Key outputs are targeted in areas of capacity building, strategy development and implementation to facilitate economic growth that is both sustainable and equitable. The training series has been extremely successful in a wide range of applications all over the world and is available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Clients: UN-HABITAT, Industry Canada, Canadian Urban Institute, CIDA, local agencies

Dates: 2002 – 2006

EcoPlan worked with UN-HABITAT, local partners and Canadian federal partners (Industry Canada, CIDA) to develop and lead several Train-the-Trainer workshops and conferences in Romania, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Chile and Mexico. Focusing on strategic planning for LED, each training session was tailored to the local context, and many involved the creation of strategic planning frameworks which have since been advanced, expanded and implemented by relevant local authorities. For example, the training program in Iloilo, Philippines resulted in the establishment of a regional economic development planning agency and the implementation of the three top priority economic development actions that were identified during the five-day training session.

Clients: UN-HABITAT and FPDL

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan coordinated the development of a strategic economic development plan in Horezu, a town of 10,000 in central Romania. The plan’s development involved the community, local businesses, schools and numerous stakeholder groups. The resulting plan was the first broad-based strategic plan for local economic development in Romania — a significant achievement given the country’s transition from a top-down model of governance to one where local governments now take the initiative. The planning process and resulting action plans have been so well received that several other municipalities in Romania have undertaken the process of developing their own local economic development strategies.

Clients: UN-HABITAT and ILO (Egypt)

Date: 2006

EcoPlan helped facilitate a workshop organized around the four-volume Strategic Planning for Local Economic Development, a joint UN-HABITAT-EcoPlan publication. The event focused on interactive group training, where participants learned from each other, the trainer, and the training materials. It included Country Dialogues where local and regional participants were able to exchange information and knowledge, and was attended by representatives from many Middle Eastern nations. Questionnaires were sent out before the event, with responses informing the key questions that helped to focus these workshop sessions.

Clients/Sponsors: UN-HABITAT, Western Economic Diversification and Simon Fraser University

Date: 2006

EcoPlan designed and facilitated a professional development seminar on strategic planning for local economic development (LED) as a special “pre-event” for the World Urban Forum. The interactive seminar examined how various groups – including donors, local government, private sector, and civil society organizations – are addressing LED. The seminar identified common LED challenges and opportunities, and promoted networking, synergies, and collaboration with participants. Both “demand side” (i.e., the municipalities and local governments, the private sector, and civil society/NGO organizations working in LED), and “supply side” (i.e., provincial, state, national, and international agencies and donor organizations that fund and support LED activities) stakeholders attended the seminar.

Clients: Province of BC’s Integrated Land Management Bureau, St’at’imc First Nation

Date: 2006

EcoPlan led a strategic planning process to help the St’át’imc First Nation identify sustainable, 2010 Olympic-related economic opportunities that would carry on beyond the horizon of the Games. The planning process utilized a structured decision-making procedure involving an Advisory Committee that represented all St’át’imc communities, agencies and Tribal Councils. The ground-up, community-led process integrated technical information and informed value judgments. The project also identified potential 2010-related impacts in the areas of security and public safety, transportation, real estate and housing, and tourism.

Client: Vancouver Board of Trade

Date: 2005

EcoPlan assisted with a project for the Vancouver Board of Trade to carry out a comparative analysis of municipal revenue bases in North American Cities. With an eye to potential municipal finance reform in Canadian municipalities, the study analyzed the municipal revenue base in Canada, reviewed key legislation and policy, and identified property tax innovations and alternative taxation mechanisms. It also included a case study of Winnipeg’s proposed New Deal, an innovative municipal tax reform program which could have significantly reduced property taxes in exchange for “right priced” user fees and alternative taxes.

Client: UN Capital Development Fund; UNDP (Lusaka, Zambia)

Date: 2005

Working with UNDP, EcoPlan undertook three main actions over the course of this project: an evaluation of UNDP support of decentralization, with recommendations for a way forward; an exploratory assessment of opportunities to support LED in relation to the process of decentralization; and an evaluation of the decentralization process in Zambia and accompanying paper outlining donor intervention opportunities.  Six LED recommendations were presented to donors in the intervention areas of legal frameworks, sub-structures, council-donor activities, physical planning, business registration, and business regulation.

Client: Yukon River Salmon Cooperative

Dates: 2000 – 2005

Dawson City, Yukon is home to Canada’s northernmost commercial salmon fishery. Beginning in 2000, EcoPlan worked with the Yukon River Commercial Fishing Association to develop a co-operative salmon processing plant that could provide a viable market for the fish and create a high-end export product for both the tourist market and distribution to southern Canada. Project work included a preliminary market assessment, a development feasibility analysis, business plan development and implementation, schematic plant design and the establishment of the business as a co-operative. As part of the project, EcoPlan developed a unique, proprietary financial analysis tool to be used by the Yukon River Salmon Co-operative as the foundation of their business planning and accounting systems.

Client: Alberta Métis Settlements General Council

Date: 2004

EcoPlan conducted a community-based participatory analysis of economic development potentials and impacts on traditional and cultural integrity for eight indigenous communities in Northern Alberta. The project included an analysis of tourism development opportunities, forestry, oil, and gas development.

Client: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)

Date: 2003

EcoPlan staff worked with the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s (now Metro Vancouver) Livable Region Strategic Plan, a program that encouraged the development of a compact, livable metropolitan region, with a core and eight regional town centres. In 2003, the GVRD partnered with the provincial Ministry of Community Services to explore ways of encouraging business and office development in regional town centres. EcoPlan staff provided research and coordinated a series of planning meetings with municipal and regional planners to discuss research findings.  A final project report identified recent successful office developments in the region, the conditions that made the investment favourable and highlighted the strategies that encourage office investment in more sustainable regional town centres.

Client: Canadian International Development Agency, Canadian Urban Institute

Date: 2000

Working with the Canadian Urban Institute, EcoPlan coordinated the development of three strategic economic development plans in the Paraguayan municipalities of Luque, (pop. 180,000) Aregua (pop. 130,000), Guarambare (pop. 9,000). These three municipalities are all in the Central Government District, adjacent to the capital of Asuncion. Tourism, small/medium-size business, and agriculture were some of the sectors that emerged in the process. EcoPlan’s strategic planning process helped generate unprecedented co-ordination and co-operation between the local government and groups of independently-minded stakeholders. The final plan focused on local organizational development, especially the tourism and crafts sectors.

Client: Business Development Bank of Canada

Date: 2000

EcoPlan provided the Business Development Bank of Canada with a market and financial feasibility analysis and management review for a world-class ecotourism lodge to be developed by the Balaklava Development Corporation (BDC) on Balaklava Island, northwest of Port Hardy, BC. The detailed analysis included a comprehensive market demand and supply analysis, financial analysis and management/operational review and requirements.

Program Evaluation & Business Case

EcoPlan conducted a detailed regional tourism market assessment, opportunity analysis and community-based structured decision-making process to help identify and prioritize tourism development opportunities for an Aboriginal community located in northern Alberta.

The project included an evaluation of three opportunities that had already been identified by the community and involved the creation of an advisory committee made up of senior Driftpile First Nation Leadership, Elders, staff and youth. The project resulted in the identification and prioritization of four tourism opportunities whose development and operation will help the Driftpile First Nation meet multiple community development objectives, including revenue generation, community capacity building, job creation, and the promotion and revitalization of Driftpile culture.

Land Use Planning

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014-2015

Land tenure on First Nation reserves can be complicated. Without clarity of tenure, it can create community conflict and stall community development.

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) and Xwísten members to tackle this challenging issue. Together, through research and interviews, EcoPlan and Xwísten developed a greater understanding of family connections to the land and the land-related rights of members. This project found clarity around Xwísten’s reserve lands so that the band can move forward with economic development activities (such as agriculture). The project answered the following questions:
• On what land parcels were Xwísten families historically located?
• What parcels of land are ‘lawful possessions’ where the families have legal rights to the lands? Which family members are named on the documentation?
• Which families have more informal, traditional connections to the land, and what rights do they have?
• Going forward, what do people want to do with the land? What support do they need?

The project included capacity building and mentorship of a local coordinator who conducted dozens of interviews and did extensive historical research. The final output is a community lands report, a GIS database of information about land parcels on reserve, an user-friendly atlas of information about each parcel of land, and a repository of historical information that Xwísten researchers can use for generations to come.

Client:  Metro Vancouver, PlanH

Date: 2014-2015

EcoPlan worked with Metro Vancouver, PlanH, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and several other partners to develop a guidebook and corresponding toolkit for Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and Land Use Planning Activities. The guidebook provides an introduction to HIA and outlines a five-step process that can be used to conduct HIA in various land use and transportation planning processes. Organized around a well-tested methodology, the guidebook includes step-by step instructions for different levels of HIA, identifies common issues and challenges that can be expected in the HIA process, highlights lessons from the field to successfully address them, and includes a companion Toolkit with 18 tools to support the planning steps. Plans to field test the guidebook with partner local governments are currently underway.

A copy of the guidebook can be downloaded here.

Client: Yale First Nation

Dates: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Colliers International and Yale First Nation, BC’s newest Treaty First Nation, to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan and supporting Land Use Plan for the Nation’s Treaty Settlement Lands and former reserve areas. Due to funding and Treaty implementation obligations, the project was completed on a tight, seven-month schedule. Despite the timeline, community engagement was central to the project and involved members living on former reserves and in other communities. Facilitation support was provided by Sparrow Grant Consulting, a First-Nation owned and operated facilitation and communications company.

Client: Yale First Nation

Dates: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Colliers International and Yale First Nation, BC’s newest Treaty First Nation, to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan and supporting Land Use Plan for the Nation’s Treaty Settlement Lands and former reserve areas. Due to funding and Treaty implementation obligations, the project was completed on a tight, seven-month schedule. Despite the timeline, community engagement was central to the project and involved members living on former reserves and in other communities. Facilitation support was provided by Sparrow Grant Consulting, a First-Nation owned and operated facilitation and communications company.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the District of Squamish on the development of an Employment Lands Strategy for the district municipality. The project builds off the District’s current planning work (e.g., OCP and Zoning update, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan, Oceanfront Development) to help ensure that employment lands are available and used to their full potential for the community’s benefit and economic development. To incorporate a structured, strategic planning process, the project included the development of employment scenarios to help the District determine the best approach for the likeliest future scenario, and be prepared to accommodate significant development opportunities (e.g., Wood Fibre LNG plant) that will significantly impact employment land in the region.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked as part of a larger team to assist Musqueam Indian Band in rezoning a parcel of land known as ‘Block F’ located in the University Endowment Lands near UBC.  This land, part of Musqueam’s unceded traditional territory, was returned to Musqueam Indian Band as part of the Musqueam Reconciliation, Settlement and Benefits Agreement negotiated with the Province in 2008.  EcoPlan’s role in the rezoning process was to help facilitate engagement events, develop engagement and communications materials, and advise on planning issues.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2013 to 2014

EcoPlan worked as part of a larger consulting team to update the Squamish Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. The original draft plan incorporated extensive community input on everything from social policy to urban design guidelines, and focused on the creation of a vibrant and enduring downtown community.  The update included a review and revision of policy in the areas of social, cultural, environmental, economic, and transportation, as well as a refinement and simplification of area design guidelines. As part of a larger Downtown Squamish Transformation Initiative, the final plan will help the District develop a vibrant downtown. Components of the plan include green networks, character districts, active transportation networks, streetscape design, building form and character guidelines, and policies around energy conservation and environmental protection.

Client: Metro Vancouver

Date: 2013

EcoPlan supported project lead Diamond Head Consulting in the development of Connecting the Dots: A Regional Green Infrastructure Network for Metro Vancouver.  This guide is intended to help Metro Vancouver planners, leaders, and community members to understand the principles, technologies and applications of green infrastructure projects, such as permeable pavements, daylighted streams, pollinator gardens, bioswales, and street trees. Based on feedback from Metro planners, a key feature of the guide was the highlighting of green infrastructure projects that can be applied at any level of development, from dense urban cores to agricultural and park lands.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop their first Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP). With extensive participation, this project was an opportunity to bring the community together through multiple Community Gatherings, youth workshops, dinners, and other activities.  Two surveys were also used to make sure on- and off-reserve members had a chance to provide input at different stages of the project. The project provided opportunities for skills development and capacity building with the hiring of a local project coordinator, who took on increasing responsibility over the project life span.  The result is a community supported plan with 50 (from very small to very large) actions to be implemented in the short, medium and long term. Each action has a mini-workplan that the manager responsible for the project can use to guide implementation. The project also includes a monitoring and evaluation component.

Client: Coldwater Indian Band

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with Coldwater First Nation on a Comprehensive Community Plan and Land Use Plan to guide decision-making and lands management in the community’s future development.  While completed in little over six months (comparable projects typically lasting 12 to 18 months), the project still included significant community-based and paced, including three community open houses, two youth forums, a community survey, a session with Chief and Council, and multiple meetings with the CCP Planning Team made of Coldwater staff departmental managers.  The CCP includes a prioritized list of actions including quick-starts, foundational actions, and medium and long-term actions.  The final plans were approved by an overwhelming majority of members at the Annual General Meeting in the fall, and accepted by Band Council Resolution the following week.

Client: The City of Powell River

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with a planning team led by the Arlington Group on updating the City of Powell River’s 2005 Official Community Plan. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement component and coordinating planning collaboration with Tla’amin Nation, BC’s latest Treaty First Nation. EcoPlan was also responsible for all project mapping and the development of Downtown design guidelines and a corresponding Development Permit Area. EcoPlan also supported the development of design guidelines for the city’s Townsite neighbourhood which was designated a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, and one of only seven in Canada and the only one in western Canada.

Client: The City of Fernie

Date: 2012 – 2014

Having recently completed its first Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), the City of Fernie need to update its ten-year-old Official Community Plan (OCP) to align with the ICSP and to better incorporate emerging sustainability issues and strategies. EcoPlan worked in partnership with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability on the project, which involved a participatory, strategic planning approach. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement process and lead the core planning components, including the revision of design guidelines for OCP development permit areas.

Client: Resort Municipality of Whistler

Date: 2012

Working with the Whistler Waldorf School, a private educational institution ranging from pre-school to high school levels, EcoPlan developed a conceptual site plan and policy analysis for a new school permanent school to be sited at the location of the existing temporary school.  The project included working with the Resort Municipality of Whistler as well as the staff and Board of Directors of the Whistler Waldorf School.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan completed a comprehensive community plan for the Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA). A formally landless community who negotiated their community’s land based in 2008, the plan focuses on this new area located at Partridge Lake, about three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Called Giiwedaa (which means “coming home” in Ojibwe) the development of the plan included a major community engagement component that involved AZA members living throughout five core communities in north-western Ontario. The final document includes eight short-term projects organized under the community-identified and prioritized development objectives that were honed over the course of the year it took to complete the plan. One of the eight priority projects – a Land Use Plan for Partridge Lake – was completed concurrently with the comprehensive community plan.

EcoPlan helped the North Okanagan Regional District to evaluate objectives, policies and trade‐offs for the development of a Regional Growth Strategy for the area. Rigorous and transparent and participatory structured decision‐making tools were used to help elected officials, staff, and the broader community to reach informed, consensus decisions about policy options for sustainable development in the region. The project used leading edge, participatory decision tools, including the use of audience response systems that provided statistically valid, defensible data for the prioritization of community sustainability objectives and values. EcoPlan also developed and hosted a series of policy workshops and an elected officials forum, where community members, elected officials, staff and other stakeholders explored different regional development and sustainability scenarios and the trade-offs each would require.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) on a comprehensive community plan for a new reserve, received by the formerly landless First Nation in 2008. Located three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Partridge Lake community will ultimately be home to administrative offices, community facilities, housing and new businesses. With a widely scattered population, the project included a major engagement focus using both web 2.0 methods and more conventional, direct outreach.

EcoPlan was engaged by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to support the preliminary consultation process for its Regional Growth Strategy review process. This work included the development and implementation of an education and awareness campaign around the Regional Growth Strategy project and the broader regional sustainability issues it will explore.

This project involved outreach and engagement approaches that built public awareness and substantively facilitated public participation in the planning process. The process began with the development of a stand-alone project workbook that communicated the regional vision, key issues/priorities, and ideas for action. This workbook was disseminated by community groups and stakeholders to the public, who responded to key issues by weighting priority strategy options. The workbook was also the focus of a series of special learning events targeting the wider community. The workbook was available online as well as in print, accessible via a website that EcoPlan developed.

Input from the workbook was used to support an Elected Officials Forum where a final regional vision was adopted. The Elected Officials Forum featured the use of Audience Response Systems (ARS) to quickly gather and communicate the views of forum participants. Instant surveys were conducted on key issues, and results were displayed in real time. This helped facilitate decision-making by sharing ideas and linking actions to issues.

2010 Planning Institute of British Columbia Award for Excellence in Planning

Located north of Powell River, BC, the Tla’amin First Nation (formerly Sliammon) is a dynamic community poised to become the next First Nation to sign a final Treaty with the provincial and federal governments. EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation to develop a comprehensive land use plan and supporting development law and zoning bylaw for two reserve areas. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan establishes a clear planning and development review process that incorporates Tla’amin cultural values, respects community capacity and considers the realities and constraints of Tla’amin’s rural location. The plan establishes a land use policy direction, and describes how, where and when people will be allowed use or develop specific areas by including:

  • Development and building procedures;
  • General land use designations;
  • Teeshohsum Village Zoning;
  • Sensitive and Hazard Area Guidelines; and
  • Sub-Plans.

The planning process began with a review of past planning work and an assessment of current and future needs for housing and community facilities. Land use designations were then generated and reviewed by the community and leadership to determine critical choices and preferences. Community input was welcomed through a series of formal events such as open houses, but was also encouraged through informal avenues. Project work also included ongoing training and capacity building with the Tla’amin’s GIS department. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan will help Tla’amin move forward with important capital projects and upgrades such as new water and sewer services, roads, and community facilities.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Musqueam Indian Band to develop a land use plan for Musqueam’s three reserves, recently acquired settlement lands in the City of Vancouver, and fee-simple lands owned by the band and located throughout the Lower Mainland. The community-driven project was integrated with Musqueam’s larger comprehensive community planning program and involved considerable member input. The land use plan included cultural and environmental design guidelines and the development of both a building by-law and zoning by-law. Special attention was paid to future climate impact risks, mitigation and adaptation measures. The project used cutting edge scenario development and structured decision-making approach using both third party software (CommunityViz) and EcoPlan-developed Excel and GIS-based decision support tools.

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Policy Planning

Working with a larger consultant team, EcoPlan helped lead the development of a Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) for the Comox Valley Regional District. The RGS is unique in its use of clear, objective-based measures for its policy sections. These indicators are clearly linked to and coordinated with both the RGS’s monitoring and evaluation component, and are integrated to other regional strategies, including the region’s voluntary Sustainability Strategy which the RGS will help implement. EcoPlan co-managed the project, including the project’s broad-based community engagement component, which included an innovative participatory video component and other engaging outreach. EcoPlan led the project’s economic development, mapping, housing and population and demographics components. The RGS included a substantial number of integrated active transportation policies in its housing, transportation, climate change, economic development and health policy chapter.

Client: Cowichan Valley Regional District (Duncan, BC)

Dates: 2007 – 2009

Working with a larger consultant team led by SmartGrowth BC, EcoPlan helped coordinate the first phase of a multi-phase process to prepare a new, integrated Official Community Plan for Electoral Areas B (Shawnigan Lake) and C (Cobble Hill) in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. EcoPlan managed and coordinated the public involvement and engagement process for the project. With a strong sustainability focus, the project included a variety of creative public engagement processes, including video story telling, community mapping, interactive open houses and web-based feedback methods. Engagement specifically targeted local First Nations to ensure that the new OCP is coordinated with their planning developments.

Client: Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Powell River Regional District

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation and the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) to identify opportunities for coordinating land use planning between the two governments, for potential Treaty Settlement Lands Tla’amin had identified as part of their treaty negotiations. The project resulted in 21 recommendations that were adopted by PRRD and Tla’amin to include in their current land use plans as well as in any future land use plans for the region.  Work included significant outreach and engagement with PRRD residents and Tla’amin First Nation members, and was recognized by both parties as an important trust and relationship building process. The project also resolved one of the most contentious land issues– the recognition of a fee simple property owned by the Nation as a Treaty Settlement Land parcel — and helped move Tla’amin closer to a treaty-in-principle.

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Date: 2008

EcoPlan developed a Land Use Mapping Interview and Training Guide for KHFN that demonstrated effective ways of mapping and recording traditional land use and related oral histories to assist with KHFN’s future land use planning. The guide was used by KHFN to identify and designate three regional land use areas: conservation areas, cultural emphasis areas, and stewardship areas. The guide was also used to determine the current legal statuses of those areas, their existing land uses, and the impacts in their traditional territories.

Client: Cities of Colwood and Langford

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with a larger consultant team led by HB Lanarc (now Golder) to review and update the Official Community Plans (OCP) of Colwood and Langford, two of B.C.’s fastest growing communities. EcoPlan was responsible for the OCP’s economic development chapter and worked closely with the community and project stakeholder to develop it. The final OCP won a 2008 Award of Planning Excellence from the Planning Institute of BC.

Structured Decision Making

Client: Metro Vancouver, Liquid Waste Services and Water Services departments

Date: 2014 – present

In mid-2014 EcoPlan was selected for a standing offer with Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Services and Water Services departments to provide on-going, and as-needed engagement and planning support services. To date, this work has included First Nations engagement, document review and development, and most recently a larger project to engage stakeholders in a review of options to better manage private sewer connections in the region. This project will involve in-depth work with a small stakeholder group, using structured decision making methods to evaluate and select a methodology for private sewer management.

Client: TransLink

Date: 2013

Working with other experts in the field of structured decision-making (Mike Harstone of Compass Resource Management, Dr. Robin Gregory of Value Scope Research, and Basil Stumborg, BC Hydro’s Decision Analysis Expert for Energy Planning and Economic Development), EcoPlan developed and delivered a three day structured decision-making (SDM) course for Translink planners and decision-makers.  The course involved presentations, interactive activities and small group project work to give participants a working understanding of the basic foundations of structuring complex decisions, including:

  • Scoping, framing and structuring – separating facts from values;
  • Developing good objectives and performance measures;
  • Crafting strong, creative alternatives;
  • Effectively addressing trade‐offs, linked decisions, risks and uncertainty;
  • Common decision pitfalls, challenges and their responses; and
  • Implementing SDM at TransLink.

Ultimately, the course was designed to help participants make decisions that are defensible, transparent, and efficient; decisions that build trust and use information better; and decisions that achieve durable results in the long term because they meet their identified objectives.

Client: Diamond Head Consulting, City of Surrey

Date: 2012

EcoPlan, in partnership with Diamond Head Consulting, developed the City of Surrey’s leading edge Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS). The work was built on past planning initiatives, including the Ecosystem Management Study and Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The results of this project informed large scale community planning, as well as secondary plans and regulatory tools. The outcomes of the BCS include: a green infrastructure network for the City as well as management and policy options to help Surrey optimize biodiversity in its rapidly growing urban landscape. Ultimately, the results informed the development of tools and decision-making frameworks which in turn helped City staff make clear, consistent and rigorous decisions around biodiversity conservation and enhancement and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders.

EcoPlan led the public consultation component of this project. This included a series of meetings with a stakeholder working group, a public open house and outreach through various public communication channels including social media, the web and traditional media outlets.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2009

Working with Compass Resource Management, EcoPlan provided support for several of the technical advisory committees assembled to guide analysis and decision making related to BC Hydro’s Peace River ‘Site C’ project. This work was carried out as part of the second stage of work for the project, focused on consultation and technical review.

Client: District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Date: 2012 

Based on our proprietary and award winning participatory strategic planning process, EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum for the District of Summerland. The forum attracted over 50 members of the local business community, the District of Summerland Mayor, Council and staff, residents, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. In a focused session, the participants identified a set of targeted actions to address key challenges and move Summerland forward toward more organized economic development planning.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Dates: 2012

EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum with the Council and key staff from Driftpile First Nation. The focus of the forum was on enterprise governance – specifically on developing an economic development corporation that clearly separates business from politics with a focus on wealth creation and being “investor ready”. A clear long-term vision was agreed upon and specific next steps were articulated in an action plan approved by Council to move the effort forward.

Client: Islands Trust

Date: 2012

EcoPlan worked with the Islands Trust First Nations Task Force to identify priorities that could be used as the basis for a First Nations Consultation Strategy.  Over the course of two meetings the Task Force worked through a deliberative and structured process based on EcoPlan’s four-phase, ten-step strategic planning approach to discuss issues and stakeholders, formulate a vision and objectives, and develop priority strategies and actions for implementation. Multiple methods and advanced technology were used throughout the decision support process. For example, value focused thinking was used to solicit and structure the problem, expert solicitation of impacts to evaluate and paired comparison/direct ranking to prioritize

Client: Regional District of North Okanagan

Date: 2012

One of the most significant gaps of Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) planning is the lack of on-going implementation support, specifically in the form of monitoring and evaluation (M&E).  Working with the Regional District of North Okanagan on their M&E Strategy, EcoPlan created a best practice example for all Regional Districts of a successful RGS-specific M&E program – one that is participatory, has learning as a core objective, and that actively engages community members at various levels to be a part of the process.

Employing EcoPlan’s specific expertise and rigour in M&E based on the application of decision science-based, participatory monitoring and evaluation methods, the program includes: 1) a participatory M&E data collection framework, process and indicators that take advantage of technology and social networks established during the development of the RGS that is replicable for other Regional Districts; and 2) a reporting system that both takes advantage of technology (e.g., by utilizing the Internet) and recognizes its limitations (i.e., 30% of North Okanagan residents do not have Internet access).

The quality of the work was recognized by project sponsor the Real Estate Foundation with a spotlight article on their website.

EcoPlan was engaged by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to support the preliminary consultation process for its Regional Growth Strategy review process. This work included the development and implementation of an education and awareness campaign around the Regional Growth Strategy project and the broader regional sustainability issues it will explore.

This project involved outreach and engagement approaches that built public awareness and substantively facilitated public participation in the planning process. The process began with the development of a stand-alone project workbook that communicated the regional vision, key issues/priorities, and ideas for action. This workbook was disseminated by community groups and stakeholders to the public, who responded to key issues by weighting priority strategy options. The workbook was also the focus of a series of special learning events targeting the wider community. The workbook was available online as well as in print, accessible via a website that EcoPlan developed.

Input from the workbook was used to support an Elected Officials Forum where a final regional vision was adopted. The Elected Officials Forum featured the use of Audience Response Systems (ARS) to quickly gather and communicate the views of forum participants. Instant surveys were conducted on key issues, and results were displayed in real time. This helped facilitate decision-making by sharing ideas and linking actions to issues.

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) is the largest aboriginal-owned and operated tourism attraction in Canada. EcoPlan was retained by Canadian Badlands Limited to identify and assess economic development and tourism opportunities in and around BCHP and the Canadian Badlands Region. Project work incorporated an extensive body of past planning work carried out by Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) and utilized a participatory planning approach that involved the larger Siksika community and senior BCHP staff. The BCHP Area Development Plan project included two distinct components:

  • Community Tourism Profile: EcoPlan completed a community tourism profile in July 2010. The document included an overview of current BCHP operations, facilities and visitation, an inventory of regional tourism attractions and infrastructure, a review of local and provincial tourism markets and trends, and a gap analysis of the BCHP area. This profile was used to inform and guide the next project component and assist in the evaluation and selection of site development opportunities.
  • Tourism Opportunity Study and Area Development Plan Concept: The project’s second component was a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment, and prioritization of potential tourism development opportunities for BCHP. The project committee went through a structured decision-making process to identify and prioritize key tourism development opportunities that could be implemented to benefit both BCHP and the Siksika Nation economically, culturally, socially and environmentally. The plan presents a series of short-term “quick start” recommendations and three long-term tourism product development opportunities.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan conducted a rigorous analytical and community engagement process to determine how to utilize $17 million in 2010 Legacy Dollars. This project involved custom decision analysis and community involvement tools (including personal interview surveys, web-based surveys, focus groups and workshops) to align policy with community needs and values. An indicator of the success of the engagement process was a 2-to-1 vote on the Legacy project at a General Band Meeting, with not one member criticizing or questioning the results in the question period prior to the vote.

Client: Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Tourism Product Development Branch of Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation to conduct a gap analysis related to tourism products, services, and infrastructure in the southwest region of Alberta. This involved extensive research and analysis surrounding tourism market trends, visitation trends, and sectoral demands associated with tourism. This project identified opportunities for establishing Alberta’s Crown of the Continent as a world class “geotourism” destination, using a strategic planning and decision‐making process that engaged stakeholders from governments, communities, private sector interests, and First Nations in the area.

Client: Ministry of Environment

Date: 2009

EcoPlan provided technical support and facilitation services in a decision-support project to address flood hazard mitigation issues on the Coquitlam River. This project was initiated following an appeal to the existing Coquitlam Water Use Plan (WUP). A planning process was designed in order to gain an improved understanding of how creative alternatives could better satisfy a complete set of management objectives – ultimately resulting in more broadly accepted and accountable outcomes. The approach was designed to facilitate thoughtful deliberation, build trust, encourage a spirit of collaboration among stakeholders and establish a basis for on-going learning. Working with stakeholders from federal, provincial, regional, local and First Nations governments alongside expert consultants, the process succeeded in bringing a new water use planning alternative to light and provided an effective framework for moving forward.

Client: Lil’wat First Nation

Date: 2009

EcoPlan worked with a multi-stakeholder community group representing Elders, senior staff and community workers to develop an Active Transportation Strategy for the community of Mt. Currie in southwestern BC. The project included a structured decision-making process in which the stakeholder group identified and ranked community health and mobility objectives in order to prioritize a final group of three active transportation projects, to be implemented over a period of four years.

Client: Northern Health Authority

Dates: 2007 – 2008

EcoPlan worked with BC’s Northern Health Authority in the development of a decision tool for rural maternity care. The project identified a full range of stakeholders, criteria, objectives and alternatives to deliver effective and appropriate maternity care throughout the predominantly rural Northern Health Authority service area. Value weights were developed for the decision model to assist the Northern Health Authority develop, prioritize and implement improved rural maternity care services in the region.

EcoPlan conducted an Economic Opportunity Assessment project for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) to foster economic development and to facilitate collaboration among local governments. The project was coordinated by the SLRD as part of its Regional Growth Strategy initiative, and included many municipal, regional and First Nations governments.

The project had two main components. An Economic Base Analysis provided a ‘snap shot’ of local labour market trends, including demographics, employment, wages and capacity measures, along with a summary analysis of four key local business sectors – tourism, forestry, agriculture and energy. This analysis informed the project’s second component, an Economic Opportunity Assessment, which involved a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment and prioritization of potential economic development opportunities. The final strategy identified three top priority opportunities: a Joint Economic Development Strategy, a Joint Economic Development Working Group, and a St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre. The SLRD has adopted the Joint Economic Development Strategy, and the Working Group is proceeding forward. The St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre is currently in development.

Client: National Science Foundation

Date: 2007

EcoPlan worked with a multi-disciplinary group of professionals to conduct practical research on and examine case studies of the incorporation of different types of knowledge in decision-making. First Nations and local community knowledge were examined next to scientific and expert knowledge.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2004

EcoPlan conducted a review of decision analysis computer software programs in order to make recommendations for adopting one or more of these programs for use in public planning initiatives and group decision-making processes. The review looked at opportunities, challenges, shortcomings, options and results of decision software.

Client: Forest Renewal BC

Date: 2004

EcoPlan worked with the Nature Trust of BC, Forest Renewal BC and a special project Advisory Board to develop a decision framework for identifying high priority, biodiverse land parcels for acquisition. EcoPlan led the development of a defensible and effective decision support framework for making property acquisition decisions. Using decision analysis techniques, the approach brought together scientists, policy analysts and interest groups to establish a scientifically rigorous and cost-effective decision support tool. This project was noted for its creative approach to group decision making, improving the way public funds are being spent.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2003

EcoPlan provided facilitation and decision analysis support to the Clowhom Water Use Plan Consultative Committee, which came to a consensus agreement on a package of recommendations. The Clowhom Reservoir lies in a steep-sided valley at the head of Salmon Inlet and at the edge of the Tantalus Range, 32 km north of Sechelt, BC. The consultative process provided a forum for sharing information, promoting understanding of affected interests and perspectives, exploring alternative facility operation models, evaluating impacts and making clear choices about trade-offs using both technical information and participant values. The committee process delivered expected net benefits (or was neutral) for all interests.

EcoPlan worked with BC Hydro to develop an innovative approach to stakeholder engagement for water use planning in the Coquitlam-Buntzen watersheds, located in Coquitlam, BC. EcoPlan facilitated an extensive engagement process, using decision analysis techniques to examine stakeholder values (and tradeoffs between them) in order to identify an optimal solution for operating the reservoir and associated hydroelectric facility.

A Consultative Committee of over 35 members was formed to review reservoir operations. The process involved many stakeholder groups, representing interests from five First Nations, hydropower, fish, recreation, flood, drinking water, heritage, and environment. The Committee’s goal was to make informed choices for the best use of the available inflows and reservoir storage. Optimal outcomes were defined as best meeting the balance of stakeholder objectives. Although the topics involved were at times contentious, EcoPlan succeeded in achieving a consensus agreement on an operating strategy that will enable more informed decisions to be made on a preferred operating flow regime within fifteen years.

Clients: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Canadian Urban Institute (CUI); Philippines National Government

Date: 1996 – 1998

Working with CIDA, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Philippines National Government, EcoPlan developed a multi-stakeholder approach to solid waste management. Our team examined all aspects of an integrated solid waste management strategy using an approach that has since been widely adopted and implemented around the world.

Client: Centre for Human Settlements

Date: 1995

EcoPlan conducted an evaluation of the proposed Seaport Centre Development in Vancouver for the Centre for Human Settlements.  Using a multiple objective approach, EcoPlan provided a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the controversial Seaport Centre project.  The study required extensive interviews, participatory observation, secondary data collection, socio-economic modeling and synthesis.  The report concentrated on the effects of the large casino component.  The project was nominated for an American Institute of Planners award.

Sustainable Tourism

Client: Kwik’wastutinuxw Haxwamis First Nation (KHFN)

Date: 2013

In 2009, EcoPlan helped KHFN complete an economic development strategy that identified and then focused on ecotourism opportunities. At that time, significant research was conducted into the types of opportunities, the associated costs, timelines for implementation and potential partnerships. In 2013, EcoPlan was again hired by KHFN to develop an ecotourism business plan. This plan builds on the economic development strategy, and provides more in-depth and up-to-date information. It takes a phased approach to slowly build capacities and refine KHFN tourism offerings.

Client: Gitga’at

Date: 2016

The Hartley Bay signage project created a series of interpretive signs for the Hartley Bay Salmon Hatchery and surrounding walking trails. EcoPlan worked closely with the project team at Gitga’at to produce graphically rich and engaging signs, as well as create and source the additional photographs, illustrations, and maps required for the project.

Client: Ditidaht First Nation

Date: 2014-2015

This study helped Ditidaht First Nation better understand what kind of opportunities they could pursue, and what kind of tourism projects members would like to see, as the Vancouver Island First Nation works to better manage newly acquired Interim Treaty Agreement lands and explore new economic development opportunities. The project reviewed the tourism market in the larger area (Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island’s West Coast), Ditidaht’s existing tourism operations, and Ditidaht’s internal capacity to both develop new tourism projects and manage current operations. The study identified a series of “Quick Start”, Short-term, and Medium-term Opportunities to take advantage of Ditidaht’s great assets and tourism potential, while addressing some of the equally significant challenges that must be overcome to realize them. EcoPlan is currently supporting Ditidaht to implement several shorter-term tourism actions identified by the study.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop a master plan and promotional brochure for the Xwisten Experiences cultural tourism program.  This included site plans and phased improvements for a visitor’s centre, viewing areas, and trails.

Client: Tourism Powell River, City of Powell River

Dates: 2011 to 2013

EcoPlan staff worked with the City of Powell River, Tourism Powell River and other stakeholders throughout the region to identify assets and opportunities for economic development opportunities in the arts/ culture sectors. Local arts and culture individuals, businesses and organizations were inventoried using a Cultural Resources Mapping Framework to create a baseline for strategic planning, policy development and decision-making. This work also involved a sector SWOT analysis, market analyses, a needs and gaps assessment and the identification of high level opportunities in the sector, including short- medium- and long-term opportunities to be pursued by the City as well as local organizations and the private sector in diversifying Powell River’s local economy. The final outputs were the development of a sport and recreation tourism strategy and a cultural tourism strategy for the region.

Client: Rain Forest Adventures / DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (German Investment and Development Company)

Dates: 2012

EcoPlan conducted an environmental and social gap-analysis for the purpose of financing the expansion of sustainable tourism operations of Rain Forest Adventures. A range of methods was employed including desk analysis, field investigations of operations in Jamaica and Costa Rica and research to determine overall corporate responsibility and areas for further work. EcoPlan developed a sustainable tourism specific framework for the project, using the IFC and World Bank performance standards as a basis.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2011

One of the priority tourism opportunities identified in an earlier assessment carried out by EcoPlan was a culture park and learning centre. EcoPlan was retained by Driftpile First Nation to develop a concept plan, preliminary design and site program for this facility on band-owned land adjoining their reserve.  The concept included new pow-wow grounds and was meant to support project fundraising. The concept plan has since been used to raise corporate donations and Driftpile is scheduled to commence on the first phases of work.

Client: Alberta TrailNet Society

Date: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was engaged by the Alberta TrailNet Society to conduct a tourism business opportunity assessment for the Goat Creek to Elk Pass section of the Trans-Canada Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. The project identified key tourism development stakeholders in and around the Kananaskis trail and included a detailed site analysis and a base-case analysis of current tourism infrastructure and opportunities. The project resulted in a prioritized set of recommendations for tourism business and infrastructure development and a series of maps detailing the trail route.

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) is the largest aboriginal-owned and operated tourism attraction in Canada. EcoPlan was retained by Canadian Badlands Limited to identify and assess economic development and tourism opportunities in and around BCHP and the Canadian Badlands Region. Project work incorporated an extensive body of past planning work carried out by Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) and utilized a participatory planning approach that involved the larger Siksika community and senior BCHP staff. The BCHP Area Development Plan project included two distinct components:

  • Community Tourism Profile: EcoPlan completed a community tourism profile in July 2010. The document included an overview of current BCHP operations, facilities and visitation, an inventory of regional tourism attractions and infrastructure, a review of local and provincial tourism markets and trends, and a gap analysis of the BCHP area. This profile was used to inform and guide the next project component and assist in the evaluation and selection of site development opportunities.
  • Tourism Opportunity Study and Area Development Plan Concept: The project’s second component was a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment, and prioritization of potential tourism development opportunities for BCHP. The project committee went through a structured decision-making process to identify and prioritize key tourism development opportunities that could be implemented to benefit both BCHP and the Siksika Nation economically, culturally, socially and environmentally. The plan presents a series of short-term “quick start” re

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2010

As a result of the previous Tourism Opportunity Assessment, EcoPlan developed a business plan and design for a 511-site RV park to be developed on the shores of Lesser Slave Lake, on the land of the Driftpile First Nation. Progressive environmental design features and a significant cultural component, a performance area, interpretive displays and a cultural program will distinguish this facility as a visibly Cree venture. EcoPlan developed a comprehensive business plan for the development of the facility over ten years in six phases. The flexible approach will help ensure that internal Driftpile capacity to operate and manage the facility is developed in tandem with its growth as a business

Client: Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation

Dates:  2009 – 2010

EcoPlan was engaged to identify and assess tourism opportunities in the rural Kalyna Country region of Alberta. The project began with an inventory of existing tourism resources, current market trends, and existing strengths and weaknesses. A multi‐stakeholder decision process was used to determine priorities and objectives for tourism development. These strategic priorities provided a ‘blueprint’ for moving forward with tourism development in the region. Following this, EcoPlan conducted an assessment of tourism development opportunities, a regional market analysis, and an organizational structure analysis to determine the appropriate strategy for tourism development in Kalyna Country.

Client: Treaty 7 Management Corporation (Standoff, AB, Canada)

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan identified sustainable and pro-poor economic opportunities within the region’s tourism sector. Beginning with a site analysis of the Nation’s Timber Limit Reserve, opportunities for forest-based nature tourism were identified and assessed according to their potential impacts on the livelihoods of local community stakeholders. With the primary objective of employment generation, this project helped orient some of the region’s tourism benefits and revenues to its poorest segments of the population.

Client: Canim Lake Indian Band (Canim Lake, BC, Canada)

Date: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan was engaged to identify and assess community tourism opportunities for the Canim Lake Indian Band around their vast network of trails and trap lines. The assessment began with the development of a comprehensive situation assessment/tourism capital analysis for the Band’s traditional territory with supporting maps and geo-visualizations. A stakeholder-driven decision process to articulate a community tourism vision, formulate objectives, and identify recreation and tourism development opportunities followed. A feasibility study of the selected alternative was also completed.

Client: Blood Tribe Economic Development Corporation

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan helped create a business plan to establish an Aboriginal arts & crafts enterprise that links one of Canada’s largest aboriginal communities to the region’s growing tourism sector, specifically within Waterton Lakes National Park. This project began by building a unique brand for the community and its artisans and included a marketing strategy to expand its reach beyond the local tourism base. A cooperative was explored to assist the artists in developing products and reaching markets previously inaccessible to them.

Client: Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Tourism Product Development Branch of Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation to conduct a gap analysis related to tourism products, services, and infrastructure in the southwest region of Alberta. This involved extensive research and analysis surrounding tourism market trends, visitation trends, and sectoral demands associated with tourism. This project identified opportunities for establishing Alberta’s Crown of the Continent as a world class “geotourism” destination, using a strategic planning and decision‐making process that engaged stakeholders from governments, communities, private sector interests, and First Nations in the area.

Client: Kwicksutaineuk Ah‐kwaw‐ah‐mish First Nations (Gwayasdums)

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan conducted a feasibility study that assessed the purchase of a boat by a small, isolated, and Aboriginal community on the coast of British Columbia. This boat purchase was identified as a tourism opportunity to provide wilderness ecotours to visitors while also providing the local population with access to the mainland for community needs. Using a social enterprise model, this boat will utilize tourism revenues raised in the summer months to support and maintain the 12-month usage of the boat for other community and social priorities.

Client: Capital Regional District; Islands Trust

Dates: 2007 – 2008

EcoPlan completed a comprehensive community tourism study for the Southern Gulf Islands, a network of six islands off the coast of Vancouver that is a major regional tourist destination. The study helped quantify the indirect and direct economic impacts of tourism using a stakeholder-driven structured decision-making process. Through this process, EcoPlan helped stakeholders identify and prioritize several cost-effective strategies to support the tourism industry while also minimizing negative socio-economic and environmental impacts. Following on the project, a visitor awareness and education campaign is being developed. This campaign is aimed at reducing the amount of visitor vehicle trips and encouraging visitors to make more sustainable transportation choices.

Client: Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce

Date: 2007

With the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, EcoPlan designed a framework for re-evaluating and prioritizing recreation and tourism objectives and developed a strategic list of tourism opportunities for the area. Using a set of indicators that were linked to objectives, a decision analysis framework was created to help decision makers come to agreement on which opportunities to pursue.

Client: Blood Tribe Economic Development

Date: 2007

EcoPlan identified economic opportunities and established a long-term sustainable tourism strategy for the Kainai Nation, the largest (geographically) reserve in Canada. Through a structured decision analysis process with key stakeholders and a comprehensive situation assessment process, a 15-year tourism development plan was developed. Prioritized tourism development activities included an arts & crafts cooperative, wilderness trekking, and a small grants program for new tourism entrepreneurs.

Clients: Hesquiaht First Nation, Ecotrust Canada

Date: 2006

EcoPlan developed a multi-phase trail concept for the Hesquiaht First Nation on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Project work included a market and development feasibility plan, preliminary routing, design guidelines and costing. When completed, the 88-kilometre trail will travel through and over some of BC’s most spectacular and diverse coastlines, making it a premier wilderness hiking destination. Shorter looped boardwalk trails with interpretive elements will also be developed.

Clients: Ecotrust Canada, ‘Namgis First Nation

Date: 2005

EcoPlan assessed the feasibility of a multi-phase eco-tourism and cultural education project for Yukusam (Hanson Island) near Alert Bay off the northeast end of Vancouver Island. The study tested the financial viability and sustainability of a cultural interpretative facility and trail network to be developed by the N’amgis First Nation. Regional, local and international tourism trends were assessed, potential competitors and collaborators analyzed and a revised tour program was developed, costed and phased. As part of the project, a site map and concept plan was developed for the trail system, associated facilities, and a traditional ‘Big House’ to be located on the island.

Client: Business Development Bank of Canada

Date: 2000

EcoPlan provided the Business Development Bank of Canada with a market and financial feasibility analysis and management review for a world-class ecotourism lodge to be developed by the Balaklava Development Corporation (BDC) on Balaklava Island, northwest of Port Hardy, BC. The detailed analysis included a comprehensive market demand and supply analysis, financial analysis and management/operational review and requirements.

Clients: World Bank, Fundaciòn Maquipucuna (Ecuador)

Dates: 2000

EcoPlan conducted a comprehensive ecotourism planning and feasibility study in the Choco-Andean Corridor of northwestern Ecuador. Using a participatory, community-based planning approach, the study included an analysis of regulatory frameworks, ecological concerns, archeological sites, infrastructure, community capacity, and regional land use factors.

Client: DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

Dates: 1998 – 1999

EcoPlan conducted an ecotourism development evaluation in Venezuela for DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Germany’s finance and consultancy institution for private sector development in the developing countries of the South. EcoPlan conducted a comprehensive due diligence evaluation of ecotourism including environmental, cultural, management, marketing, training and social components in four major ecosystems in Venezuela. The project included the existing operations and proposed ecotourism developments of Aereotuy, the largest tourism operator in Venezuela.

Clients: Canadian Urban Institute, Philippines Department of Tourism

Dates: 1996 – 1999

Using analytical and participatory methods, EcoPlan developed a management framework and governance structure for the environmental management of a popular tourist destination in the Philippines. The project included a regulatory review analysis that assessed national laws, local ordinances and tourism development guidelines and resulted in a series of recommendations to streamline and improve management controls.  A community-based survey (also applied to tourists) supported research efforts. As part of the project, a multi-sectoral carrying capacity analysis was also conducted using community participation and technical analysis to set realistic development parameters. Specific guidelines for solid waste management on Boracay were developed as part of this project.

Natural Resources Planning

Client: Diamond Head Consulting, City of Surrey

Date: 2012

EcoPlan, in partnership with Diamond Head Consulting, developed the City of Surrey’s leading edge Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS). The work was built on past planning initiatives, including the Ecosystem Management Study and Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The results of this project informed large scale community planning, as well as secondary plans and regulatory tools. The outcomes of the BCS include: a green infrastructure network for the City as well as management and policy options to help Surrey optimize biodiversity in its rapidly growing urban landscape. Ultimately, the results informed the development of tools and decision-making frameworks which in turn helped City staff make clear, consistent and rigorous decisions around biodiversity conservation and enhancement and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders.

EcoPlan led the public consultation component of this project. This included a series of meetings with a stakeholder working group, a public open house and outreach through various public communication channels including social media, the web and traditional media outlets.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2009

Working with Compass Resource Management, EcoPlan provided support for several of the technical advisory committees assembled to guide analysis and decision making related to BC Hydro’s Peace River ‘Site C’ project. This work was carried out as part of the second stage of work for the project, focused on consultation and technical review.

Client: North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society

Date: 2011

North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society (NCSFNSS) was established in 2005 to enable First Nations people on BC’s North Coast and Lower Skeena River to collaborate on projects where they share common interests and objectives. EcoPlan provided technical and process support to NCSFNSS on their work to develop an Integrated Marine Plan for the North Coast region. Work included supporting initial multi-stakeholder planning workshops with graphic information and decision-support tools. EcoPlan helped develop agendas for the initial meetings, which were designed to identify a common regional marine vision, priority marine stewardship objectives and potential policy tradeoff areas.

Client: Canadian Hydropower Association, Canadian Energy Association, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada

Date: 2010

EcoPlan facilitated a workshop for members of the Canadian Electricity Association, the Canadian Hydropower Association, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment Canada to explore the permitting implications of the Species At Risk Act (SARA). The overall objective was to identify regulatory mechanisms that would enable effective authorization of electricity facilities within the current SARA provisions, while meeting the needs of both the government and industry and supporting the recovery of listed species. Participants engaged in case study-based brainstorming sessions aimed at identifying key issues, regulatory alternatives, and options for moving forward. Government and industry found significant common ground in their focus on achieving compliance alongside recovery goals.

Client: Ministry of Environment

Date: 2009

EcoPlan provided technical support and facilitation services in a decision-support project to address flood hazard mitigation issues on the Coquitlam River. This project was initiated following an appeal to the existing Coquitlam Water Use Plan (WUP). A planning process was designed in order to gain an improved understanding of how creative alternatives could better satisfy a complete set of management objectives – ultimately resulting in more broadly accepted and accountable outcomes. The approach was designed to facilitate thoughtful deliberation, build trust, encourage a spirit of collaboration among stakeholders and establish a basis for on-going learning. Working with stakeholders from federal, provincial, regional, local and First Nations governments alongside expert consultants, the process succeeded in bringing a new water use planning alternative to light and provided an effective framework for moving forward.

Clients: David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance

Date: 2008

EcoPlan provided background research into existing and emerging closed containment aquaculture technologies in order to inform an assessment of the feasibility of these as alternatives to existing net pen technologies. This included an overview of the market as well as development stage technologies, a review of current economic conditions and trends, and ecological considerations associated with the various technology types.

Client: Snohomish County

Date: 2005

EcoPlan provided support to a major public process devoted to developing a watershed plan for Snohomish Basin, which includes Seattle, Everett and many outlying rural communities. EcoPlan initially provided training to staff in the use of decision-aiding tools and public process alternatives. Following this, EcoPlan provided on-going consulting support, working with staff, stakeholder groups and technical groups. The project was intended to address endangered species legislation, with a particular the focus on salmon recovery. A key aim of the project was the incorporation of scientific, social and economic objectives with public values. EcoPlan worked with a 40-member forum, with representatives from over 25 administrative jurisdictions as well as with Shared Strategy, the group charged with producing the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Strategy that includes 15 major watersheds.

Client: Forest Renewal BC

Date: 2004

EcoPlan worked with the Nature Trust of BC, Forest Renewal BC and a special project Advisory Board to develop a decision framework for identifying high priority, biodiverse land parcels for acquisition. EcoPlan led the development of a defensible and effective decision support framework for making property acquisition decisions. Using decision analysis techniques, the approach brought together scientists, policy analysts and interest groups to establish a scientifically rigorous and cost-effective decision support tool. This project was noted for its creative approach to group decision making, improving the way public funds are being spent.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2003

EcoPlan provided facilitation and decision analysis support to the Clowhom Water Use Plan Consultative Committee, which came to a consensus agreement on a package of recommendations. The Clowhom Reservoir lies in a steep-sided valley at the head of Salmon Inlet and at the edge of the Tantalus Range, 32 km north of Sechelt, BC. The consultative process provided a forum for sharing information, promoting understanding of affected interests and perspectives, exploring alternative facility operation models, evaluating impacts and making clear choices about trade-offs using both technical information and participant values. The committee process delivered expected net benefits (or was neutral) for all interests.

EcoPlan worked with BC Hydro to develop an innovative approach to stakeholder engagement for water use planning in the Coquitlam-Buntzen watersheds, located in Coquitlam, BC. EcoPlan facilitated an extensive engagement process, using decision analysis techniques to examine stakeholder values (and tradeoffs between them) in order to identify an optimal solution for operating the reservoir and associated hydroelectric facility.

A Consultative Committee of over 35 members was formed to review reservoir operations. The process involved many stakeholder groups, representing interests from five First Nations, hydropower, fish, recreation, flood, drinking water, heritage, and environment. The Committee’s goal was to make informed choices for the best use of the available inflows and reservoir storage. Optimal outcomes were defined as best meeting the balance of stakeholder objectives. Although the topics involved were at times contentious, EcoPlan succeeded in achieving a consensus agreement on an operating strategy that will enable more informed decisions to be made on a preferred operating flow regime within fifteen years.

EcoPlan developed a decision framework and software tool to evaluate and prioritize private properties under the management of BC Parks’ Protected Area System. The model, called the Land Evaluation and Acquisition Framework (LEAF), has helped BC Parks make more informed, transparent, and accountable decisions regarding private land acquisitions. The evaluation model was developed to prioritize private land in-holdings in the rapidly expanding BC Park system. Scientific and technical data were combined with BC Park’s core values to evaluate the hundreds of private properties affecting the BC Protected Area System. Issues such as experiential integrity (recreation, aesthetics, development threats), ecological integrity (habitat at risk, biologically exceptional areas, corridors/buffers), heritage and culture, and management concerns (flexibility, costs, public acceptability) were explicitly considered in the development of the model. In addition, a database was developed to organize information and efficiently provide feedback on Park priorities based on specific constraints.

Client: UBC Resource Science Department

Date: 1994

EcoPlan helped the UBC Resource Science Department develop a method for evaluating recreational land use priorities from established sources in the Abbotsford region of British Columbia. Research contributed to the creation of the Environmental Sensitivity Area (ESA), which is now in use.

Climate Change

Client: Metro Vancouver

Date: 2013

EcoPlan supported project lead Diamond Head Consulting in the development of Connecting the Dots: A Regional Green Infrastructure Network for Metro Vancouver.  This guide is intended to help Metro Vancouver planners, leaders, and community members to understand the principles, technologies and applications of green infrastructure projects, such as permeable pavements, daylighted streams, pollinator gardens, bioswales, and street trees. Based on feedback from Metro planners, a key feature of the guide was the highlighting of green infrastructure projects that can be applied at any level of development, from dense urban cores to agricultural and park lands

Client: Gitga’at Nation

Date: 2012 – 2014

Hartley Bay, Gitga’at Nation’s main community, is a remote, coastal community that is potentially very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For example, climate related weather changes are anticipated to effect many cultural sites as well as traditional activities such as fishing, hunting and gathering which accounts for over 50% of their food. EcoPlan and ‘A Closer Look Consulting’ worked with Gitga’at to develop an understanding of the potential impacts from climate change in their region, and how the effects will overlap with their current way of life and what is important to them (for both on- and off-reserve members).  From there, community engagement and structured decision making led to the creation of adaptation action ideas, and the prioritization of these ideas into a concrete strategy for adaptation.

2011 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Excellence in Planning – Planning Publications (Honorable Mention)

Planning for Climate Change: A strategic values-based approach for urban planners was developed for city planners and other professionals to better understand, assess and take action on climate change at the local level. While climate change is a global issue, the guide is specifically intended for urban communities in low and middle-income countries where the challenges are unique and the stakes of planning for climate change are particularly high.

EcoPlan worked with Compass Resource Management (www.compassrm.com) to develop the original version of this guide in 2011 for UN-Habitat. The draft version went through an extensive peer review process involving multiple universities and academic institutions (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Twente, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, University of British Columbia, University of Auckland) non-governmental organizations, foundations and international agencies (UN- Habitat, UN Environment Programme, World Bank, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Rockefeller Foundation/ Mercy Corps), professional associations (Canadian Institute of Planners, Commonwealth Association of Planners) and the private sector (ARCADIS). Following a series of global, regional and national training events, an Expert Group Meeting in the Republic of Korea in November 2012 and a ten-day intensive training session with practitioners in the Philippines in April 2013, the guide was substantively reworked and reviewed in a second peer-review process. The final guide was published in February 2014.

Designed with the flexibility to be used both as a general resource and as a step-by-step planning guide, Planning for Climate Change was published as a two volume series. The first volume provides a summary overview of climate change and its impacts on cities, along with a modular planning process to help guide-users develop a stand alone climate change adaption plan or to support other city planning initiatives. The second volume includes 42 integrated tools that support each step of the planning process.

To help those facing the challenge of developing and implementing climate change adaptation initiatives, Planning for Climate Change is organized around four key planning themes:

  • Strategic: All planning – physical, spatial, land use, environmental, economic – is more effective if it is strategic. Whatever the type of planning, all of it is ultimately about making the best decision possible with the resources available.
  • Values-based: Good planning incorporates local community values, or objectives, in addition to the objectives that may be present in existing city plans and strategies. Such an approach helps to ensure that the city’s particular social and economic challenges – like poverty, population health, water and sanitation – frame the planning process, and that local objectives are used in the planning process.
  • Participatory: Engaging a variety of stakeholders beyond city staff and leaders in the climate change planning process helps to ensure more coordinated and appropriate actions are chosen and implemented. Participatory planning helps to ensure that the implementation actions that come out of the planning process have the support of key city partners and stakeholders, are responsive to local community interests and values, and help to achieve a broader range of local development objectives.
  • Integrated: The realization of Climate Change Action Plan policies, programmes and projects is often more effective and achievable if they are implemented or “mainstreamed” through existing city plans, strategies and processes.

With these planning themes as the foundation, Planning for Climate Change is designed to:

  1. Provide city planners with practical tools for addressing climate change through different urban planning processes;
  2. Help city planners to better plan for current and future climate change impacts at the local level;
  3. Support the “mainstreaming” of climate change actions into physical, spatial, sectoral and comprehensive development plans (e.g. city development strategy, city or town plan, economic development strategy);
  4. Promote an inclusive, participatory planning process that integrates city planning activities with local community participation and more structured, transparent and defensible decision-making; and
  5. Support ongoing capacity building for urban planners and professionals from related fields.

EcoPlan developed a resource and planning guide for Transport Canada geared towards planners and related professionals to accommodate, promote, and support Active Transportation (AT) in current and long-range planning and development. The guide provides a review of active transportation in Canada, a summary of best practices and key principles, and a strategic planning approach for developing active transportation projects and incorporating active transportation into municipal policy.

This guide’s planning framework is organized around EcoPlan’s ten step planning approach. The approach has four phases that correspond to the key planning questions each section asks – What is happening? What matters most? What can we do about it? Are we doing it? Answering these questions requires guide users to go through a corresponding set of individual planning steps that will help determine:

  • The current AT situation, opportunities and trends in the local area;
  • Priority areas for action;
  • Strategies and actions to respond to community priorities; and,
  • How to monitor and evaluate AT activities to support future project development.

2010 Planning Institute of British Columbia Award for Excellence in Planning

Located north of Powell River, BC, the Tla’amin First Nation (formerly Sliammon) is a dynamic community poised to become the next First Nation to sign a final Treaty with the provincial and federal governments. EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation to develop a comprehensive land use plan and supporting development law and zoning bylaw for two reserve areas. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan establishes a clear planning and development review process that incorporates Tla’amin cultural values, respects community capacity and considers the realities and constraints of Tla’amin’s rural location. The plan establishes a land use policy direction, and describes how, where and when people will be allowed use or develop specific areas by including:

  • Development and building procedures;
  • General land use designations;
  • Teeshohsum Village Zoning;
  • Sensitive and Hazard Area Guidelines; and
  • Sub-Plans.

The planning process began with a review of past planning work and an assessment of current and future needs for housing and community facilities. Land use designations were then generated and reviewed by the community and leadership to determine critical choices and preferences. Community input was welcomed through a series of formal events such as open houses, but was also encouraged through informal avenues. Project work also included ongoing training and capacity building with the Tla’amin’s GIS department. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan will help Tla’amin move forward with important capital projects and upgrades such as new water and sewer services, roads, and community facilities.

For the past several years, EcoPlan has provided ongoing research services to Transport Canada for sustainable transportation projects and planning approaches. Our work has created over 30 case studies and issue papers for Transport Canada’s Information Network, a forum for transportation practitioners and other observers to share information and lessons learned, as well as on other strategies to reduce GHG emissions from urban transportation.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Musqueam Indian Band to develop a land use plan for Musqueam’s three reserves, recently acquired settlement lands in the City of Vancouver, and fee-simple lands owned by the band and located throughout the Lower Mainland. The community-driven project was integrated with Musqueam’s larger comprehensive community planning program and involved considerable member input. The land use plan included cultural and environmental design guidelines and the development of both a building by-law and zoning by-law. Special attention was paid to future climate impact risks, mitigation and adaptation measures. The project used cutting edge scenario development and structured decision-making approach using both third party software (CommunityViz) and EcoPlan-developed Excel and GIS-based decision support tools.

Client: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)

Dates: 2002 – 2003

EcoPlan staff researched and developed over 30 case studies of projects in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) that are helping to advance sustainability in the region. Case studies included green energy, housing, park planning, transportation, eco-industrial networking, waste reduction and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives carried out by municipal, private sector and non-profit organizations. Research included structured interviews and field reviews.

Prioritization & Trade-Offs

EcoPlan helped the North Okanagan Regional District to evaluate objectives, policies and trade‐offs for the development of a Regional Growth Strategy for the area. Rigorous and transparent and participatory structured decision‐making tools were used to help elected officials, staff, and the broader community to reach informed, consensus decisions about policy options for sustainable development in the region. The project used leading edge, participatory decision tools, including the use of audience response systems that provided statistically valid, defensible data for the prioritization of community sustainability objectives and values. EcoPlan also developed and hosted a series of policy workshops and an elected officials forum, where community members, elected officials, staff and other stakeholders explored different regional development and sustainability scenarios and the trade-offs each would require.

Client: North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society

Date: 2011

North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society (NCSFNSS) was established in 2005 to enable First Nations people on BC’s North Coast and Lower Skeena River to collaborate on projects where they share common interests and objectives. EcoPlan provided technical and process support to NCSFNSS on their work to develop an Integrated Marine Plan for the North Coast region. Work included supporting initial multi-stakeholder planning workshops with graphic information and decision-support tools. EcoPlan helped develop agendas for the initial meetings, which were designed to identify a common regional marine vision, priority marine stewardship objectives and potential policy tradeoff areas.

Client: Alberta TrailNet Society

Date: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was engaged by the Alberta TrailNet Society to conduct a tourism business opportunity assessment for the Goat Creek to Elk Pass section of the Trans-Canada Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. The project identified key tourism development stakeholders in and around the Kananaskis trail and included a detailed site analysis and a base-case analysis of current tourism infrastructure and opportunities. The project resulted in a prioritized set of recommendations for tourism business and infrastructure development and a series of maps detailing the trail route.

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) is the largest aboriginal-owned and operated tourism attraction in Canada. EcoPlan was retained by Canadian Badlands Limited to identify and assess economic development and tourism opportunities in and around BCHP and the Canadian Badlands Region. Project work incorporated an extensive body of past planning work carried out by Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) and utilized a participatory planning approach that involved the larger Siksika community and senior BCHP staff. The BCHP Area Development Plan project included two distinct components:

 

  • Community Tourism Profile: EcoPlan completed a community tourism profile in July 2010. The document included an overview of current BCHP operations, facilities and visitation, an inventory of regional tourism attractions and infrastructure, a review of local and provincial tourism markets and trends, and a gap analysis of the BCHP area. This profile was used to inform and guide the next project component and assist in the evaluation and selection of site development opportunities.
  • Tourism Opportunity Study and Area Development Plan Concept: The project’s second component was a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment, and prioritization of potential tourism development opportunities for BCHP. The project committee went through a structured decision-making process to identify and prioritize key tourism development opportunities that could be implemented to benefit both BCHP and the Siksika Nation economically, culturally, socially and environmentally. The plan presents a series of short-term “quick start” recommendations and three long-term tourism product development opportunities.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan conducted a rigorous analytical and community engagement process to determine how to utilize $17 million in 2010 Legacy Dollars. This project involved custom decision analysis and community involvement tools (including personal interview surveys, web-based surveys, focus groups and workshops) to align policy with community needs and values. An indicator of the success of the engagement process was a 2-to-1 vote on the Legacy project at a General Band Meeting, with not one member criticizing or questioning the results in the question period prior to the vote.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan supported a sports facility planning process to capitalize on special legacy funding opportunities, available through Musqueam’s role as one of four Host First Nations of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. A team of staff and community members reviewed possible locations, requirements, and activities for the potential facility. Using technical data, professional assessments, input from community members and community leaders and a set of objective-based evaluation criteria, seven potential options were considered. The planning process involved substantial community engagement, including two open houses, working groups and family meetings. The final location received broad support from the community. The project received a 2010 Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (honourable mention) from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Client: Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Tourism Product Development Branch of Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation to conduct a gap analysis related to tourism products, services, and infrastructure in the southwest region of Alberta. This involved extensive research and analysis surrounding tourism market trends, visitation trends, and sectoral demands associated with tourism. This project identified opportunities for establishing Alberta’s Crown of the Continent as a world class “geotourism” destination, using a strategic planning and decision‐making process that engaged stakeholders from governments, communities, private sector interests, and First Nations in the area.

Client: Ministry of Environment

Date: 2009

EcoPlan provided technical support and facilitation services in a decision-support project to address flood hazard mitigation issues on the Coquitlam River. This project was initiated following an appeal to the existing Coquitlam Water Use Plan (WUP). A planning process was designed in order to gain an improved understanding of how creative alternatives could better satisfy a complete set of management objectives – ultimately resulting in more broadly accepted and accountable outcomes. The approach was designed to facilitate thoughtful deliberation, build trust, encourage a spirit of collaboration among stakeholders and establish a basis for on-going learning. Working with stakeholders from federal, provincial, regional, local and First Nations governments alongside expert consultants, the process succeeded in bringing a new water use planning alternative to light and provided an effective framework for moving forward.

Client: Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Powell River Regional District

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation and the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) to identify opportunities for coordinating land use planning between the two governments, for potential Treaty Settlement Lands Tla’amin had identified as part of their treaty negotiations. The project resulted in 21 recommendations that were adopted by PRRD and Tla’amin to include in their current land use plans as well as in any future land use plans for the region.  Work included significant outreach and engagement with PRRD residents and Tla’amin First Nation members, and was recognized by both parties as an important trust and relationship building process. The project also resolved one of the most contentious land issues– the recognition of a fee simple property owned by the Nation as a Treaty Settlement Land parcel — and helped move Tla’amin closer to a treaty-in-principle.

EcoPlan conducted an Economic Opportunity Assessment project for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) to foster economic development and to facilitate collaboration among local governments. The project was coordinated by the SLRD as part of its Regional Growth Strategy initiative, and included many municipal, regional and First Nations governments.

The project had two main components. An Economic Base Analysis provided a ‘snap shot’ of local labour market trends, including demographics, employment, wages and capacity measures, along with a summary analysis of four key local business sectors – tourism, forestry, agriculture and energy. This analysis informed the project’s second component, an Economic Opportunity Assessment, which involved a stakeholder-driven identification, assessment and prioritization of potential economic development opportunities. The final strategy identified three top priority opportunities: a Joint Economic Development Strategy, a Joint Economic Development Working Group, and a St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre. The SLRD has adopted the Joint Economic Development Strategy, and the Working Group is proceeding forward. The St’át’imc Heritage and Learning Centre is currently in development.

Client: Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce

Date: 2007

With the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, EcoPlan designed a framework for re-evaluating and prioritizing recreation and tourism objectives and developed a strategic list of tourism opportunities for the area. Using a set of indicators that were linked to objectives, a decision analysis framework was created to help decision makers come to agreement on which opportunities to pursue.

Client: Snohomish County

Date: 2005

EcoPlan provided support to a major public process devoted to developing a watershed plan for Snohomish Basin, which includes Seattle, Everett and many outlying rural communities. EcoPlan initially provided training to staff in the use of decision-aiding tools and public process alternatives. Following this, EcoPlan provided on-going consulting support, working with staff, stakeholder groups and technical groups. The project was intended to address endangered species legislation, with a particular the focus on salmon recovery. A key aim of the project was the incorporation of scientific, social and economic objectives with public values. EcoPlan worked with a 40-member forum, with representatives from over 25 administrative jurisdictions as well as with Shared Strategy, the group charged with producing the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Strategy that includes 15 major watersheds.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2003

EcoPlan provided facilitation and decision analysis support to the Clowhom Water Use Plan Consultative Committee, which came to a consensus agreement on a package of recommendations. The Clowhom Reservoir lies in a steep-sided valley at the head of Salmon Inlet and at the edge of the Tantalus Range, 32 km north of Sechelt, BC. The consultative process provided a forum for sharing information, promoting understanding of affected interests and perspectives, exploring alternative facility operation models, evaluating impacts and making clear choices about trade-offs using both technical information and participant values. The committee process delivered expected net benefits (or was neutral) for all interests.

EcoPlan worked with BC Hydro to develop an innovative approach to stakeholder engagement for water use planning in the Coquitlam-Buntzen watersheds, located in Coquitlam, BC. EcoPlan facilitated an extensive engagement process, using decision analysis techniques to examine stakeholder values (and tradeoffs between them) in order to identify an optimal solution for operating the reservoir and associated hydroelectric facility.

A Consultative Committee of over 35 members was formed to review reservoir operations. The process involved many stakeholder groups, representing interests from five First Nations, hydropower, fish, recreation, flood, drinking water, heritage, and environment. The Committee’s goal was to make informed choices for the best use of the available inflows and reservoir storage. Optimal outcomes were defined as best meeting the balance of stakeholder objectives. Although the topics involved were at times contentious, EcoPlan succeeded in achieving a consensus agreement on an operating strategy that will enable more informed decisions to be made on a preferred operating flow regime within fifteen years.

Impact Assessment & Compensation

Client:  Metro Vancouver, PlanH

Date: 2014-2015

EcoPlan worked with Metro Vancouver, PlanH, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and several other partners to develop a guidebook and corresponding toolkit for Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and Land Use Planning Activities. The guidebook provides an introduction to HIA and outlines a five-step process that can be used to conduct HIA in various land use and transportation planning processes. Organized around a well-tested methodology, the guidebook includes step-by step instructions for different levels of HIA, identifies common issues and challenges that can be expected in the HIA process, highlights lessons from the field to successfully address them, and includes a companion Toolkit with 18 tools to support the planning steps. Plans to field test the guidebook with partner local governments are currently underway.

A copy of the guidebook can be downloaded here.

EPI was commissioned by the Métis Settlements of Paddle Prairie, Peavine, Gift Lake, and Kikino to conduct value analyses in order to determine net compensatory losses resulting from surface disturbances caused by ongoing petroleum development activity. EPI employed a broad range of research and analysis techniques, including community engagement, scientific field research and traditional use and oral history research to evaluate on-going impacts and cumulative effects of petroleum operations, to many important traditional environmental and cultural values. Research and professional analysis were used to develop the direct economic values (such as timber damage assessments) while non-market values were supported by oral histories from Elders, maps and historical research. Specific Métis values affected by petroleum development were elicited from members and structured in a hierarchy in order to be analyzed. The results of this value analysis clearly identified that past and current compensation levels dramatically under-valued the losses incurred by the Métis Settlements.

To help facilitate the recognition of Métis Aboriginal rights, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) retained EPI to assist in the Métis Traditional Settlements Traditional Land Use Mapping and Oral History Project.   EPI led an initial pilot project at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement, then subsequent projects in Gift Lake, Peavine, Fishing Lake, Elizabeth, Paddle Prairie, Kikino, and East Prairie Metis Settlements. Using oral histories and maps, the project team recorded traditional use areas and historical community patterns as well as other important aspects of the Métis communities. Several projects also included archival research of scrip, homestead and trapline records, and ground-truthing fieldwork using GPS technology and audio/visual data. Geographic information was organized and stored in a GIS database system, allowing the comparison of data and identification of patterns. Projects in several Settlements began with training and capacity building exercises, a needs assessment and gap analysis of available information, technical preparation, a community orientation and an extensive interview process. This project resulted in a traditional use database and one for historical communities, as well as traditional use atlases, with detailed maps illustrating historical communities, traditional uses (hunting, fishing, etc.), occupancy, and spiritual significance. Important tools such as the project interview forms, geo-databases, and map design were developed for use in later projects.

EcoPlan led a strategic planning process to help the St’át’imc First Nation identify sustainable, 2010 Olympic-related economic opportunities that would carry on beyond the horizon of the Games. The planning process utilized a structured decision-making procedure involving an Advisory Committee that represented all St’át’imc communities, agencies and Tribal Councils. The ground-up, community-led process integrated technical information and informed value judgments. The project also identified potential 2010-related impacts in the areas of security and public safety, transportation, real estate and housing, and tourism.

EPI initiated an analysis of cultural, environment/resource and community loss with the ultimate purpose to put a dollar figure on these intangible losses.

William Trousdale provided expert witness testimony on this project that is still moving its way through the courts.The Kikino Métis Settlement commissioned EcoPlan to conduct a compensation analysis for net damages resulting from the development of petroleum resources on the Settlement. Direct and widespread changes from petroleum-related activities have impacted, and continue to impact, many important traditional environmental and cultural values to the Kikino Métis. EcoPlan employed a broad range of research and analysis techniques, including community engagement, scientific field research and traditional use and oral history research to evaluate on-going impacts and cumulative effects of petroleum operations. EcoPlan used multi-attribute utility techniques to determine non-market values at Kikino, and used a swing weighting method to establish relative changes in values experienced by Kikino members. Dollar values were then allocated to the weighted non-market values, and checked by widely respected expert Dr. Timothy McDaniels of the University of British Columbia. The results of the research and analysis indicate that the Métis at Kikino are now greatly under-compensated for on-going impacts and cumulative effects directly attributable to the petroleum industry.

As part of the National Energy Board (NEB) review process of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), Matsqui First Nation commissioned EcoPlan to conduct a socio-cultural impact assessment of the proposed pipeline that would pass through their traditional territory. Our approach to this impact assessment and the techniques employed had to address several challenges posed by the project, including: identifying a broad range of socio- cultural impacts (less tangible values that conventional impact assessments often fail to incorporate; identifying impacts from a future event (as the pipeline was not yet built, various future scenarios had to be developed, translating the technical language of assessment reports into meaningful narratives of events that may unfold); translating the impacts into a language regulators could understand (providing a clear, quantitative expression of how the project would affect Matsqui’s way of life and ability to thrive as a rights-bearing people). Our report addressed critical gaps regarding the biophysical, social, cultural and economic impacts of the Trans Mountain Facilities Application to the NEB. It also brought together analysis of well-established scholarship and regulatory precedent to extend the purview of impact assessment beyond the typical market-based approach.

The Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement commissioned EcoPlan to conduct a value analysis in order to determine net compensatory losses resulting from surface disturbances caused by ongoing petroleum development activity on the Settlement. Petroleum resources have been exploited on the Settlement since the 1950s and have proceeded with little planning and poor adherence to guidelines, standards and regulations. Research and professional analysis were used to develop the direct economic values (such as timber damage assessments) while non-market values were supported by oral histories from elders, maps and historical research. A workshop was conducted with Paddle Prairie members, to elicit the value judgment of both the losses and gains to the Settlement that have resulted from petroleum related surface disturbances. Specific Métis values affected by petroleum development were elicited from members and structured in a hierarchy in order to be analyzed. The results of this value analysis clearly identified that past and current compensation levels dramatically under-valued the losses incurred by the Métis at Paddle Prairie.

EcoPlan conducted an evaluation of the proposed Seaport Centre Development in Vancouver for the Centre for Human Settlements.  Using a multiple objective approach, EcoPlan provided a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the controversial Seaport Centre project.  The study required extensive interviews, participatory observation, secondary data collection, socio-economic modeling and synthesis.  The report concentrated on the effects of the large casino component. The project was nominated for an American Institute of Planners award.

Sts’ailes commissioned EcoPlan International Inc. (EcoPlan) to conduct an independent and impartial appraisal estimating the current net value of losses resulting from the portion of the MVR passing through Sts’ailes reserve land, in order to inform and assist Sts’ailes in assessing the impact of the MVR currently in trespass. As the lands under discussion included land within an Indian Reserve, and valued as such, it would have been inappropriate to try to seek comparables for the market value or valued land attributes where there is no market or roughly equivalent comparison.Therefore, this analysis considered unique concerns and features arising from the acquisition of the land by the Province for the use of a road. The assessment included exploring both the adverse and beneficial impacts from the MVR on the Sts’ailes Reserve, Sts’ailes people, and associated fundamental values. The final report summarizes these impacts, estimating appropriate compensation in monetary value.

Strategic Planning

Client: Doig River First Nation

Date: 2012

Comprehensive Community Planning – when done well – can be a major “game-changer” for First Nations communities. This has been recognized by Doig River First Nation. To this end, the Doig River organized a one-day workshop with Community Trust members, staff and Chief and Council. The workshop was facilitated by EcoPlan and took a fresh look at Comprehensive Community Planning. Participants were walked through EcoPlan’s approach to CCPs, which is built around three key themes:

  • Strategic planning: making the best use of available resources, capacity and time;
  • Participatory planning: community-based, ground up planning with a strong capacity building focus where consultants typically act as technical resources and process  facilitators; and
  • Structured, values based decision making: incorporating both facts (i.e. technical and strategic considerations) and values (i.e., community values) in project decision-making, including the prioritization of project actions.

Client: Okanagan Indian Band

Date: 2013

In October of 2013, the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) Chief and Council, along with the Executive Director, participated in a two-day strategic planning and governance session, supported by facilitator William Trousdale of EcoPlan. The primary purpose of these meetings was to develop the 2013 Council Strategic Plan for OKIB Council. Using a strategic planning process, EcoPlan supported the council’s creation of 10 priority actions for the coming year.

Client: UN Habitat

Year: 2013

The precursor to this joint UN-Habitat / EcoPlan International toolkit,
Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning,
focused primarily on process – how to develop an economic development
strategy through participatory methods. This toolkit looks at local economic
development in practice. It dives deeper into some of the more common
and important local economic development issues facing local governments
everywhere. Ideas and interventions that have worked elsewhere are
explored. The hope is that the following set of tools will allow development
professionals to enrich strategy processes or better tackle specific economic
development issues.

Tool 1: Conducting a Basic Situation Assessment
Tool 2: Youth in LED
Tool 3: Focusing on sectors
Tool 4: Good Ideas – What’s already working
Tool 5: Economic multipliers

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2015

EcoPlan, supported by the Arlington Group, was engaged to conduct a preliminary review of the South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), which applies to the southern portion of the Okanagan Valley and includes the municipalities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Summerland, and RDOS Electoral Areas “A”, “C”, “D”, “E”, and “F.” The project involved an assessment of the RGS indicator data tracked by RDOS and updated the population projections developed for the RGS based on more recent census data, and a line-by-line review of the strategy’s policy sections for clarity, consistency with related RGS goal areas, and redundancy. 
Based on the review, it was determined that there were significant opportunities to reorganize and improve the organization and structure of the RGS and to revise and edit RGS policies to improve clarity and reduce redundancy.

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2014-2016

EcoPlan led a larger project team that includes the Arlington Group on an update of the Official Community Plan for Electoral Area “D-1” in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS). With a small and highly dispersed rural population, the project employed a range of engagement techniques to ensure the process remains community-driven. In addition to open houses (including one of the largest and most successful open houses held in the regional district), surveys, and online tools, engagement also included the establishment of a 12-member volunteer Citizens’ Committee.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2015

EcoPlan is working with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) on an economic development strategy for on- and off-reserve opportunities for the band and band members. The strategy is intended to be a guiding document and workplan for a soon-to-be-hired economic development officer, and will include a skills inventory, assessment of opportunities in the region, analysis of the opportunities available to Xwísten, and phased implementation plan. EcoPlan will also work with Xwísten to evaluate options for the structure of the band businesses, looking at the relative merits and draw backs of band-owned businesses, economic development corporations, and other business structures.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the District of Squamish on the development of an Employment Lands Strategy for the district municipality. The project builds off the District’s current planning work (e.g., OCP and Zoning update, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan, Oceanfront Development) to help ensure that employment lands are available and used to their full potential for the community’s benefit and economic development. To incorporate a structured, strategic planning process, the project included the development of employment scenarios to help the District determine the best approach for the likeliest future scenario, and be prepared to accommodate significant development opportunities (e.g., Wood Fibre LNG plant) that will significantly impact employment land in the region.

Client: TransLink

Date: 2013

Working with other experts in the field of structured decision-making (Mike Harstone of Compass Resource Management, Dr. Robin Gregory of Value Scope Research, and Basil Stumborg, BC Hydro’s Decision Analysis Expert for Energy Planning and Economic Development), EcoPlan developed and delivered a three day structured decision-making (SDM) course for Translink planners and decision-makers.  The course involved presentations, interactive activities and small group project work to give participants a working understanding of the basic foundations of structuring complex decisions, including:

  • Scoping, framing and structuring – separating facts from values;
  • Developing good objectives and performance measures;
  • Crafting strong, creative alternatives;
  • Effectively addressing trade‐offs, linked decisions, risks and uncertainty;
  • Common decision pitfalls, challenges and their responses; and
  • Implementing SDM at TransLink.

Ultimately, the course was designed to help participants make decisions that are defensible, transparent, and efficient; decisions that build trust and use information better; and decisions that achieve durable results in the long term because they meet their identified objectives.

Client: UN Habitat

Dates: 2012

As part of an ongoing partnership with UN Habitat in providing expert support and advice for local economic development (LED) around the globe, EcoPlan developed the following six tools for LED:

Tool #1: Services and Support – i3 Ideas, Impact, Implementation

  • This tool helps explain what UN-HABITAT has to offer, and how it can help small and medium sized cities develop economically in a sustainable way.

Tool #2: Situation Assessment: Assets, Economic Base and Trend Analysis

  • A practical guide to enable planners in small and medium sized cities to harness best available information and conduct basic analysis so they can establish a fact-based context and framework to consider realistic development scenarios and strategies.

Tool #3: Analysis of agglomeration economies and diseconomies

  • This tool looks at some of the driving factors under the control of small and medium sized cities (e.g., land use and infrastructure policies, urban design, enforcement, informal sector polices, tax regimes) that affect the success of their agglomeration.

Tool #4: Benchmarking and best practices for strategy directions

  • This tool delineates simple benchmarks and outlines strategic planning principles to help small and medium sized cities develop key sectors that take advantage of their asset base.

Tool #5: Good Ideas – what’s working: why, when, where and how

  • This tool will provide insight and direction based on some of the best economic development ideas currently being implemented in cities around the world such as municipal development corporations, form-based planning, and transit oriented development.

Tool # 6: Multiplier effects

  • Big investments are not necessarily big job creators. This tool examines how city governments can harness economic linkages and supply chains to plug leakages and maximize benefits through multipliers in jobs, spending and earning.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) on a comprehensive community plan for a new reserve, received by the formerly landless First Nation in 2008. Located three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Partridge Lake community will ultimately be home to administrative offices, community facilities, housing and new businesses. With a widely scattered population, the project included a major engagement focus using both web 2.0 methods and more conventional, direct outreach.

Client: Musqueam First Nation

Date: 2010 – 2011

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Planning Practice

2010 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (Honorable Mention)

Musqueam’s comprehensive, sustainable community development plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind tells the story of the community’s past, its present, and its future path. The culmination of years of collaboration, innovation and learning, this Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) sets a new standard for effective, responsive and integrated community-based strategic planning. As the community’s guiding plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind will lead Musqueam to becoming a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation and a complete and healthy community.

This project involved a full suite of strategic approaches to research, objectives, prioritization, community engagement, organizational development, action planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring. A community-driven effort, We Are of One Heart and Mind was built upon Musqueam values and their unique culture. EcoPlan worked to ensure that the planning process was community driven, engaging Musqueam members every step of the way in all aspects of plan development. Integrating twenty economic, social, physical and organizational planning developments, We Are of One Heart and Mind will provide current and future leadership, administration, and members with direction and guidance on how the Musqueam community is to develop over time.

A key principle of this project was that internal capacity building and planning tool development was integrated into the collaboration process. Through this process Musqueam developed its strategic planning capacity to promote consensus, increase transparency and ensure the incorporation of community feedback in decisions. This increased capacity facilitated the developed new land use evaluation and scenario modeling tools, and the incorporation of internet-based resources (Google Earth, Sketch Up, social media) to improve community engagement and planning processes.

We Are of One Heart and Mind includes:

  • A powerful community vision;
  • Community objectives, ranked and prioritized by Musqueam members;
  • Supporting actions, prioritized and sequenced (short, medium and long-term) to help realize community objectives;
  • Guidelines for implementation; and,
  • monitoring and evaluation framework for both compliance and impact monitoring to increase staff capacity and allow for future improvements to the plan.

As a summary document, the CCP also includes highlights of related sub-plans, procedures and tools, including:

  • Community Profile summarizing the community and trends affecting it;
  • An integrated Land Use Plan for Musqueam’s reserves and settlement lands;
  • Departmental strategic planswork plans and budgets that link and coordinate with community objectives and plan actions;
  • A new administration organization chart and operating procedure to improve efficiency and support plan implementation;
  • A high-level Economic Development Strategy and principles, including a new economic development corporation to lead enterprise development; and,
  • A set of new planning tools to support ongoing plan implementation and the creation of new policies, programs and plans in the future.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan conducted a retreat for the Musqueam Council to address governance issues. During the retreat, EcoPlan facilitated effective discussion between Council members and helped develop a strategic plan for Council and for the Economic Development branch of the Musqueam government.

Client: UN-HABITAT

Date: 2009

EcoPlan facilitated a workshop on politics, strategies and structural projects to facilitate brainstorming and innovation regarding the future of urban areas in northern Mexico. This workshop, which was attended by members of the municipalities of Tijuana, Tecate, and Playas de Rosarito, aimed to generate a participatory process of dialogue, awareness, and exchange of ideas surrounding the future of the urban areas in these parts of Mexico. The main objectives of the workshop were to construct a participatory regional vision, identify and prioritize regional objectives, and to establish a foundation for the design and formation of regional strategies.

Client: Canadian International Development Agency

Date: 2009

EcoPlan conducted two workshops in the Philippines that focused on building a deeper understanding of local economic development practices and approaches for national government stakeholders and members of selected local government organizations. The workshops introduced participants to a value-based, strategic planning approach that incorporates structured decision-making and project prioritization tools. Workshop activities identified a series of practical “catalytic actions” for stakeholders to consider implementing following the training session.

2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning

Planning Institute of British Columbia 2007 Award for Excellence in Planning

EcoPlan coordinated a community-based project to establish a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) for the Kwicksutaineuk Ah‐kwaw‐ah‐mish First Nations. The CCP was the culmination of three phases of work. Starting in 2006, EcoPlan implemented a planning effort to develop a new site plan for Gwa-yas-dums Village and a long term, comprehensive strategy for the Nations. The village plan includes land use, cultural design components, housing, energy, and solid waste management. Following this initial plan, the second phase focused on culture & history, health & wellness, lands & resources and governance. A third project phase resulted in a community economic development strategy.

The Comprehensive Community Plan process was community driven, with community members participating at every level of decision-making and direction setting. The final plan is instrumental to KHFN’s vision of becoming a healthy, sustainable community that is culturally vibrant and economically stable. This project was awarded the 2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning, marking the first time an Aboriginal community has been awarded a national planning award.

Client: Capital Regional District; Islands Trust

Dates: 2007 – 2008

EcoPlan completed a comprehensive community tourism study for the Southern Gulf Islands, a network of six islands off the coast of Vancouver that is a major regional tourist destination. The study helped quantify the indirect and direct economic impacts of tourism using a stakeholder-driven structured decision-making process. Through this process, EcoPlan helped stakeholders identify and prioritize several cost-effective strategies to support the tourism industry while also minimizing negative socio-economic and environmental impacts. Following on the project, a visitor awareness and education campaign is being developed. This campaign is aimed at reducing the amount of visitor vehicle trips and encouraging visitors to make more sustainable transportation choices.

Client: UN Development Program (Ramallah, Palestine)

Date: 2007

EcoPlan created a participatory planning manual and facilitator’s guide that served as the first comprehensive roadmap for regional planning in occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).  Its process and tools are utilized in establishing District Strategic Development Plans, the guiding strategies for regional land use planning and development in the oPt. The District Strategic Development Planning Manual was developed in close coordination with the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Local Government and included a five-day training workshop for 26 Palestinian government officials and professionals to test the manual. The project received the 2008 Award of Excellence for International Development from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Client: UN-HABITAT (Nairobi, Kenya)

Date: 2007

EcoPlan authored a manual that assisted in the design and delivery of training workshops for the training series publication Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning, which was produced for UN‐HABITAT by EcoPlan. It provided field‐tested advice on the efficient management of the training process from workshop organization to post‐training monitoring and evaluation. The tools provided were based on experiences delivering training around the world, incorporating the experiences of trainers in many different contexts.  While intended as a companion to the local economic development training series, the manual contains transferrable tools that can be used in any kind of training situation.

Clients: UN-HABITAT, Industry Canada, Canadian Urban Institute, CIDA, local agencies

Dates: 2002 – 2006

EcoPlan worked with UN-HABITAT, local partners and Canadian federal partners (Industry Canada, CIDA) to develop and lead several Train-the-Trainer workshops and conferences in Romania, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Chile and Mexico. Focusing on strategic planning for LED, each training session was tailored to the local context, and many involved the creation of strategic planning frameworks which have since been advanced, expanded and implemented by relevant local authorities. For example, the training program in Iloilo, Philippines resulted in the establishment of a regional economic development planning agency and the implementation of the three top priority economic development actions that were identified during the five-day training session.

Clients: UN-HABITAT and FPDL

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan coordinated the development of a strategic economic development plan in Horezu, a town of 10,000 in central Romania. The plan’s development involved the community, local businesses, schools and numerous stakeholder groups. The resulting plan was the first broad-based strategic plan for local economic development in Romania — a significant achievement given the country’s transition from a top-down model of governance to one where local governments now take the initiative. The planning process and resulting action plans have been so well received that several other municipalities in Romania have undertaken the process of developing their own local economic development strategies.

Clients: UN-HABITAT and ILO (Egypt)

Date: 2006

EcoPlan helped facilitate a workshop organized around the four-volume Strategic Planning for Local Economic Development, a joint UN-HABITAT-EcoPlan publication. The event focused on interactive group training, where participants learned from each other, the trainer, and the training materials. It included Country Dialogues where local and regional participants were able to exchange information and knowledge, and was attended by representatives from many Middle Eastern nations. Questionnaires were sent out before the event, with responses informing the key questions that helped to focus these workshop sessions.

EPI conducted an extensive strategic planning process for Inglewood Golf Club, one of the finest traditional golf clubs in the pacific northwest. EPI worked with the Long Range Planning Committee to translate the club’s core values into a coordinated plan of action. EPI helped to organize an inclusive process. A comprehensive membership survey and interviews were used to support the work of the Long Range Planning Committee. EPI continues to support Inglewood through monitoring and evaluation of the strategic plan implementation.

EPI conducted an extensive analysis of all aspects of Valley Ridge in Calgary. Conducted for property developers, the comprehensive analysis examined possible exit strategy options vs. profitability as a long term investment. EPI was then contracted to assisted with implementation of study recommendations.

Healthy Communities

Client:  Metro Vancouver, PlanH

Date: 2014-2015

EcoPlan worked with Metro Vancouver, PlanH, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and several other partners to develop a guidebook and corresponding toolkit for Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and Land Use Planning Activities. The guidebook provides an introduction to HIA and outlines a five-step process that can be used to conduct HIA in various land use and transportation planning processes. Organized around a well-tested methodology, the guidebook includes step-by step instructions for different levels of HIA, identifies common issues and challenges that can be expected in the HIA process, highlights lessons from the field to successfully address them, and includes a companion Toolkit with 18 tools to support the planning steps. Plans to field test the guidebook with partner local governments are currently underway.

A copy of the guidebook can be downloaded here.

Client: Canadian Institute of Planners

Date: 2013

In the beginning of 2012, Healthy Canada by Design CLASP partners, including CIP and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, commissioned production of a Healthy Communities Practice Guide and three facts sheets (EcoPlan was engaged to produce the fact sheets). These documents were produced as part of Healthy Canada by Design’s work to help public health practitioners, planners and policy-makers to integrate relevant and recent findings from scientific research into their work.

In 2013, EcoPlan again worked with the CIP to follow up on the first phase of work to determine how planners have used these documents in provinces across the country and learn more about planning for healthy communities in Canada. As part of this new mandate, the CIP Healthy Communities Subcommittee conducted a survey of 15 full members from Affiliates across Canada to better understand the legislative and regulatory differences, opportunities and constraints that are affecting planners in their healthy communities work. The CIP Healthy Communities Subcommittee presented the survey analysis and summary report to CIP council and the findings are being used to prioritize CIP work related to planning for healthy communities.

Client: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Date: 2012

After reviewing nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles and 16 reports from respected Canadian agencies published between 2007 and 2011, EcoPlan developed a series of fact sheets highlighting findings from the Canadian context relating community design and health.  Covering such themes as active transportation, children & youth, and equity, the purpose of the fact sheets is to better equip Canadian planning practitioners, local government officials, and community leaders to work more closely with researchers and public health officials in charting next steps in research and evidence-informed policy making.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan assisted Musqueam with the development of a conceptual plan for the St. Mungo interpretive site, located on the banks of the Fraser River in Delta, BC. Positioned as the waterfront terminus of an extensive trail system that extends north from Burns bog, the site will have a positive recreational benefit for surrounding neighbourhoods while helping inform and engage visitors in Musqueam history and culture. Investing the skills and creativity of the Musqueam will help rebuild a rich cultural identity on the site and re-establish a strong sense of place.

EcoPlan developed a resource and planning guide for Transport Canada geared towards planners and related professionals to accommodate, promote, and support Active Transportation (AT) in current and long-range planning and development. The guide provides a review of active transportation in Canada, a summary of best practices and key principles, and a strategic planning approach for developing active transportation projects and incorporating active transportation into municipal policy.

This guide’s planning framework is organized around EcoPlan’s ten step planning approach. The approach has four phases that correspond to the key planning questions each section asks – What is happening? What matters most? What can we do about it? Are we doing it? Answering these questions requires guide users to go through a corresponding set of individual planning steps that will help determine:

  • The current AT situation, opportunities and trends in the local area;
  • Priority areas for action;
  • Strategies and actions to respond to community priorities; and,
  • How to monitor and evaluate AT activities to support future project development.

Client: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to develop a workshop guide to support HSF’s Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Toolkit, a resource guide for individuals and organizations interested in making their communities healthier places to live. As a companion document, the workshop guide helps HSF’s volunteer facilitators provide a workshop experience that is responsive to their audience and the local community context. The guide provides detailed, annotated agendas for delivering a two-hour, ½ day or full-day Shaping Active, Healthy Communities workshop and includes unique, innovative workshop activities, an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and comprehensive resource materials.

Client: Centre for Sustainable Transportation (University of Manitoba)

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan organized a number of actions to raise awareness and facilitate adoption of Planning Guidelines for Child and Youth Friendly Cities in communities across British Columbia.  Working with stakeholders and partners in the Capital Regional District in Victoria, the launch event was followed by a more in-depth technical workshop to discuss moving child and youth friendly policies forward. EcoPlan provided organizational and planning technical expertise for this project.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan supported a sports facility planning process to capitalize on special legacy funding opportunities, available through Musqueam’s role as one of four Host First Nations of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. A team of staff and community members reviewed possible locations, requirements, and activities for the potential facility. Using technical data, professional assessments, input from community members and community leaders and a set of objective-based evaluation criteria, seven potential options were considered. The planning process involved substantial community engagement, including two open houses, working groups and family meetings. The final location received broad support from the community. The project received a 2010 Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (honourable mention) from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Client: BC Recreation and Parks Association

Dates: 2009 – 2010

EcoPlan designed and facilitated a workshop that pulled together health practitioners and economic development stakeholders to identify the links between a healthy built environment and local economic development. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss how communities could facilitate economic development and diversification opportunities by addressing complimentary health and sustainability goals. The five-site video conferencing workshop involved participants from 10 regional districts, over 25 municipalities and several First Nation governments. This innovative approach allowed for a mix of ideas and perspectives from representatives across a large geographic area that could not have been facilitated in a traditional workshop. The Fraser Basin Council, the Interior Health Authority, and the Ministry of Community and Rural Development supported the project.

Client: Lil’wat First Nation

Date: 2009

EcoPlan worked with a multi-stakeholder community group representing Elders, senior staff and community workers to develop an Active Transportation Strategy for the community of Mt. Currie in southwestern BC. The project included a structured decision-making process in which the stakeholder group identified and ranked community health and mobility objectives in order to prioritize a final group of three active transportation projects, to be implemented over a period of four years.

Client: BC Recreation and Parks Association

Date: 2009

EcoPlan developed a Built Environment and Active Transportation (B.E.A.T.) Neighbourhood Assessment tool to help local governments, community organizations and individuals understand how built environments impact active transportation in their neighbourhoods – both urban and rural. The tool facilitates the assessment of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, roads and parking, trails, transit, safety aesthetics, services, and other factors. A final evaluation score allows guide users to see how their neighbourhood compares to others, and how to proceed with active transportation planning. The assessment tool was disseminated to local governments across BC and community groups with an interest in healthy built environments and active transportation.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2009

EcoPlan conducted a design review of a major Community and Recreation Centre expansion adjacent to the Musqueam Band Administration building. The project involved a comprehensive design review using Design Guidelines that were developed by EcoPlan as part of the Musqueam Land Use Plan. The building is now nearing completion and is broadly supported by Musqueam members as a new community recreation hub.

Client: Provincial Health Services Authority

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan worked with the Province of British Columbia’s Health Services Authority to develop and deliver Land Use Planning 101, a capacity building workshop series for health professionals to encourage them to become more involved in local planning processes. The initiative included the development and production of a workshop manual and trainers guide to introduce health professionals to local and regional planning processes in BC and explore the multiple links between physical planning and population health.

Client: Northern Health Authority

Dates: 2007 – 2008

EcoPlan worked with BC’s Northern Health Authority in the development of a decision tool for rural maternity care. The project identified a full range of stakeholders, criteria, objectives and alternatives to deliver effective and appropriate maternity care throughout the predominantly rural Northern Health Authority service area. Value weights were developed for the decision model to assist the Northern Health Authority develop, prioritize and implement improved rural maternity care services in the region.

Client: City of Surrey Parks and Recreation

Dates: 2007 – 2008

To help better manage new bicycle recreation demands (i.e., off-road, urban mountain bike and BMX riding), EcoPlan led a project to develop a comprehensive Bicycle Recreation Facilities Strategy for the City of Surrey. The project resulted in guidelines for the development and provision of new facilities, the upgrading of existing “informal” facilities, and maintenance and operating requirements of these facilities over the short-, medium- and long-terms. One component of the project was the identification of bicycle corridor called the “Green Line,” a 76 kilometre off-road bicycle network currently in development which can be used by both recreational and commuter cyclists to access new bicycle facilities, places of work and Surrey’s on-street bicycle network. The project involved a comprehensive review and survey of the City of Surrey’s 500+ parks to identify potential facility sites, site analyses, and numerous creative and engaging public outreach activities, including the Bike Fest, which was Surrey Park’s best-attended open house activity.

Client: City of Vancouver

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan staff managed a key component of the public process for Carrall street greenway, which connects and completes Vancouver’s seawall by allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move from Burrard Inlet to False Creek. The Ideas Forum provided a venue for over 150 Downtown Eastside residents, property owners, community stakeholders and others to discuss the role of sustainability in the development of the greenway. The workshop reconfirmed the project’s guiding principles, which have since been used to help guide future public and private initiatives and investment along the greenway. The Carrall Street Greenway was completed in 2011.

Clients: Langley Environmental Partners Society, Township of Langley

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan developed and conducted a site selection, performed a feasibility assessment and prepared a comprehensive project proposal for a sustainability education centre in Langley. The proposed Centre for Sustainable Living will include demonstration gardens, a model sustainable farm, interpretative trails, an outdoor classroom and a multi-purpose facility for community and environmental education programs. A social enterprise component to be housed at the Centre for Sustainable Living was also assessed and a business plan for the venture was developed.

Client: Evergreen

Date: 2003

EcoPlan developed and delivered a professional development workshop for land use professionals and practitioners on urban green space restoration, enhancement and protection. Certified by both the Planning Institute of BC and the BC Society of Landscape Architects for professional development learning credits, the three-hour workshop included a comprehensive package of training materials and supporting fact sheets (e.g., Green Space and Public Health, Development Benefits of Green Space, etc.), an interactive presentation and a “mini-charette” where participants were challenged to identify green space opportunities and develop supporting programs, policy and strategies around them. The series was delivered to over 20 municipalities in southern BC.

Client: Evergreen Canada

Date: 2002

EcoPlan researched and wrote a nationally disseminated policy and program guidebook for Evergreen Canada to assist municipalities incorporate naturalization in their official plans, policies, environmental programs and operating procedures. Intended primarily for land-use planners, park managers, landscape architects, ecologists and other professionals, the guide can also be used by private landowners as a tool for sustainable landscape management and by citizens to influence positive change in the way municipalities value the role of nature in the city. The development process of the guidebook included a survey of over 40 Canadian municipalities and the formulation of six detailed case studies that explore some of the lessons learned in urban naturalization initiatives in Canada and the United States.

Clients: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Canadian Urban Institute (CUI); Philippines National Government

Date: 1996 – 1998

Working with CIDA, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Philippines National Government, EcoPlan developed a multi-stakeholder approach to solid waste management. Our team examined all aspects of an integrated solid waste management strategy using an approach that has since been widely adopted and implemented around the world.

Engagement & Facilitation

Client: Village of Port Alice

Date: 2015-2016

Following the curtailment of the town’s major employer, Port Alice began working with EcoPlan on a community-driven economic development strategy. The strategy, called ‘Port of Potential‘ by the community,  focuses on opportunities for diversifying the local economy in ways that align with local values, skills and realistic opportunities.  The final plan includes a short list of small projects to be completed in the first 100 days, and implementation plans for larger or longer-term projects to take place over the next 5 years. The development of the plan included participation from about 1/4 of the town’s residents (through 1 on 1 interviews, community meetings and surveys), almost all the businesses in town, community groups and numerous partner organizations.

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2014-2016

EcoPlan led a larger project team that includes the Arlington Group on an update of the Official Community Plan for Electoral Area “D-1” in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS). With a small and highly dispersed rural population, the project employed a range of engagement techniques to ensure the process remains community-driven. In addition to open houses (including one of the largest and most successful open houses held in the regional district), surveys, and online tools, engagement also included the establishment of a 12-member volunteer Citizens’ Committee.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to completely redesign (in form and function) their website in order to better meet communications needs with members, funders, and other stakeholders. The need for improved communications, especially with members (on and off-reserve), was identified in their 2014 Comprehensive Community Plan, and this plan is guiding the development of the website. New features included an easier-to-use back end, new calendar functionality,  updated content for all departments, a new job-postings area, and an updated ‘look and feel’.

Client: Metro Vancouver, Liquid Waste Services and Water Services departments

Date: 2014 – present

In mid-2014 EcoPlan was selected for a standing offer with Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Services and Water Services departments to provide on-going, and as-needed engagement and planning support services. To date, this work has included First Nations engagement, document review and development, and most recently a larger project to engage stakeholders in a review of options to better manage private sewer connections in the region. This project will involve in-depth work with a small stakeholder group, using structured decision making methods to evaluate and select a methodology for private sewer management.

Client: Yale First Nation

Dates: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Colliers International and Yale First Nation, BC’s newest Treaty First Nation, to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan and supporting Land Use Plan for the Nation’s Treaty Settlement Lands and former reserve areas. Due to funding and Treaty implementation obligations, the project was completed on a tight, seven-month schedule. Despite the timeline, community engagement was central to the project and involved members living on former reserves and in other communities. Facilitation support was provided by Sparrow Grant Consulting, a First-Nation owned and operated facilitation and communications company.

Client: Cowichan Tribes

Date: 2012-2014

Cowichan Tribes, the largest First Nation in BC, worked with EcoPlan to create a pair of guiding planning documents for the community – a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) and Land Use Framework. Initial meetings identified that Cowichan Tribes lacked a trained and experienced community planner. Throughout the project we worked closely with their Referral Coordinator and the project planning team (one youth, one planning assistant) to provide mentoring and training in planning through project activities. Extensive community engagement and outreach included three open houses, numerous community BBQs, door to door surveys, and meetings with staff and Council. Leading the land use component, EcoPlan’s work included a development capability analysis of both Band-owned and individually owned (Certificate of Possession) properties and the creation of several potential land uses designations for future planning work.

Client: Capital Regional District

Date: 2012 – Present

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is in the process of updating its Regional Growth Strategy to a Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS), which will have a stronger emphasis on regional economic, social and environmental sustainability. Recognizing that the success of regional planning requires strong partnerships with all regional stakeholders, the CRD is working with EcoPlan to conduct RSS engagement activities for the 10 First Nations with lands in the CRD.  EcoPlan is working with each First Nation to develop a customized engagement strategy that accommodates their level of interest, time availability and resources. In addition to making the RSS more reflective of the needs of the community, other goals of the project are to discover common areas of interest, build relationships, and dramatically improve the way CRD Regional Planning engages with First Nations on matters of mutual concern.

Client: Lower Similkameen Indian Band

Date: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Beringia Planning to support the development of a community economic development strategy for the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. This strategy provided vital information that continues to guide decision making and action at a time when the Nation continues to transition towards greater accountability and transparency in its economic development governance. Strategy work included the development of a community profile, research on the regional economy and opportunities, and a range of community engagement activities (surveys, open houses, etc.).

Client: Diamond Head Consulting, City of Surrey

Date: 2012

EcoPlan, in partnership with Diamond Head Consulting, developed the City of Surrey’s leading edge Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS). The work was built on past planning initiatives, including the Ecosystem Management Study and Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The results of this project informed large scale community planning, as well as secondary plans and regulatory tools. The outcomes of the BCS include: a green infrastructure network for the City as well as management and policy options to help Surrey optimize biodiversity in its rapidly growing urban landscape. Ultimately, the results informed the development of tools and decision-making frameworks which in turn helped City staff make clear, consistent and rigorous decisions around biodiversity conservation and enhancement and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders.

EcoPlan led the public consultation component of this project. This included a series of meetings with a stakeholder working group, a public open house and outreach through various public communication channels including social media, the web and traditional media outlets.

Client: BC Hydro

Date: 2009

Working with Compass Resource Management, EcoPlan provided support for several of the technical advisory committees assembled to guide analysis and decision making related to BC Hydro’s Peace River ‘Site C’ project. This work was carried out as part of the second stage of work for the project, focused on consultation and technical review.

Client: District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

Date: 2012 

Based on our proprietary and award winning participatory strategic planning process, EcoPlan designed and delivered an economic development forum for the District of Summerland. The forum attracted over 50 members of the local business community, the District of Summerland Mayor, Council and staff, residents, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. In a focused session, the participants identified a set of targeted actions to address key challenges and move Summerland forward toward more organized economic development planning.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan worked with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) on a comprehensive community plan for a new reserve, received by the formerly landless First Nation in 2008. Located three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Partridge Lake community will ultimately be home to administrative offices, community facilities, housing and new businesses. With a widely scattered population, the project included a major engagement focus using both web 2.0 methods and more conventional, direct outreach.

EcoPlan was engaged by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to support the preliminary consultation process for its Regional Growth Strategy review process. This work included the development and implementation of an education and awareness campaign around the Regional Growth Strategy project and the broader regional sustainability issues it will explore.

This project involved outreach and engagement approaches that built public awareness and substantively facilitated public participation in the planning process. The process began with the development of a stand-alone project workbook that communicated the regional vision, key issues/priorities, and ideas for action. This workbook was disseminated by community groups and stakeholders to the public, who responded to key issues by weighting priority strategy options. The workbook was also the focus of a series of special learning events targeting the wider community. The workbook was available online as well as in print, accessible via a website that EcoPlan developed.

Input from the workbook was used to support an Elected Officials Forum where a final regional vision was adopted. The Elected Officials Forum featured the use of Audience Response Systems (ARS) to quickly gather and communicate the views of forum participants. Instant surveys were conducted on key issues, and results were displayed in real time. This helped facilitate decision-making by sharing ideas and linking actions to issues.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan was retained by Musqueam to assist with public engagement efforts around their self-governance initiatives. Musqueam is entering into bilateral negotiations with the federal government in order to formulate a self-governance framework that will determine a new relationship between the Nation and Canada. Key issues include Musqueam jurisdiction over its constitution, membership, lands and resource management, environment, health, culture and heritage, education, gaming, public services, justice, taxation, and municipal space. EcoPlan helped engage and inform the Musqueam nation and the wider community about to the details of the negotiation process, proceedings, and future policy options.

Client: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to develop a workshop guide to support HSF’s Shaping Active, Healthy Communities Toolkit, a resource guide for individuals and organizations interested in making their communities healthier places to live. As a companion document, the workshop guide helps HSF’s volunteer facilitators provide a workshop experience that is responsive to their audience and the local community context. The guide provides detailed, annotated agendas for delivering a two-hour, ½ day or full-day Shaping Active, Healthy Communities workshop and includes unique, innovative workshop activities, an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and comprehensive resource materials.

Client: Cowichan Valley Regional District (Duncan, BC)

Dates: 2007 – 2009

Working with a larger consultant team led by SmartGrowth BC, EcoPlan helped coordinate the first phase of a multi-phase process to prepare a new, integrated Official Community Plan for Electoral Areas B (Shawnigan Lake) and C (Cobble Hill) in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. EcoPlan managed and coordinated the public involvement and engagement process for the project. With a strong sustainability focus, the project included a variety of creative public engagement processes, including video story telling, community mapping, interactive open houses and web-based feedback methods. Engagement specifically targeted local First Nations to ensure that the new OCP is coordinated with their planning developments.

Client: Provincial Health Services Authority

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan worked with the Province of British Columbia’s Health Services Authority to develop and deliver Land Use Planning 101, a capacity building workshop series for health professionals to encourage them to become more involved in local planning processes. The initiative included the development and production of a workshop manual and trainers guide to introduce health professionals to local and regional planning processes in BC and explore the multiple links between physical planning and population health.

Client: City of Surrey Parks and Recreation

Dates: 2007 – 2008

To help better manage new bicycle recreation demands (i.e., off-road, urban mountain bike and BMX riding), EcoPlan led a project to develop a comprehensive Bicycle Recreation Facilities Strategy for the City of Surrey. The project resulted in guidelines for the development and provision of new facilities, the upgrading of existing “informal” facilities, and maintenance and operating requirements of these facilities over the short-, medium- and long-terms. One component of the project was the identification of bicycle corridor called the “Green Line,” a 76 kilometre off-road bicycle network currently in development which can be used by both recreational and commuter cyclists to access new bicycle facilities, places of work and Surrey’s on-street bicycle network. The project involved a comprehensive review and survey of the City of Surrey’s 500+ parks to identify potential facility sites, site analyses, and numerous creative and engaging public outreach activities, including the Bike Fest, which was Surrey Park’s best-attended open house activity.

Client: City of Vancouver

Dates: 2005 – 2007

EcoPlan worked with the City of Vancouver on various components of a revitalization strategy for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Work included the development and coordination of a public process for a Sustainability Ideas Forum for an innovative greenway; a lease subsidy and tenant improvements program to attract and support new businesses and social enterprises in the community, and; a $6 million initiative to redevelop a strategic heritage building as a multi-tenant business incubator facility. Engagement included direct outreach and other non-traditional tools to reach and involve community members not often involved in city planning initiatives.

Client: PHS Community Services Society

Dates: 2004 – 2007

Working with private sector partners and the PHS Community Services Society, a major service provider in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, EcoPlan was involved in the management of a $6 million proposal to redevelop a strategic heritage building as a multi-tenant facility featuring both non-profit and private sector tenants.  EcoPlan was responsible for a project-managing schematic design, negotiating preliminary planning approvals and project fundraising. Other work included community involvement and visioning.

Client: City of Vancouver

Dates: 2005 – 2006

EcoPlan staff managed a key component of the public process for Carrall street greenway, which connects and completes Vancouver’s seawall by allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move from Burrard Inlet to False Creek. The Ideas Forum provided a venue for over 150 Downtown Eastside residents, property owners, community stakeholders and others to discuss the role of sustainability in the development of the greenway. The workshop reconfirmed the project’s guiding principles, which have since been used to help guide future public and private initiatives and investment along the greenway. The Carrall Street Greenway was completed in 2011.

Client: Evergreen

Date: 2003

EcoPlan developed and delivered a professional development workshop for land use professionals and practitioners on urban green space restoration, enhancement and protection. Certified by both the Planning Institute of BC and the BC Society of Landscape Architects for professional development learning credits, the three-hour workshop included a comprehensive package of training materials and supporting fact sheets (e.g., Green Space and Public Health, Development Benefits of Green Space, etc.), an interactive presentation and a “mini-charette” where participants were challenged to identify green space opportunities and develop supporting programs, policy and strategies around them. The series was delivered to over 20 municipalities in southern BC.

Client: Canadian Institute of Planners

Dates: 1999 – 2000

EcoPlan researched, supported and provided graphic design services during the development of an activity guide and manual to assist with teaching about urban planning and community development. Aimed at planning professionals and educators, the manual is designed to provide ideas, exercises and materials for use with children and youth in a variety of settings, including schools. The document is available through the Canadian Institute of Planners, who published the guide.

Traditional Use Studies

Update 2010 & 2011

Client: Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta, Canada)

Dates: 2010-2011

To help facilitate the recognition of Métis Aboriginal rights, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) retained EcoPlan to assist in the Métis Traditional Settlements Traditional Land Use Mapping and Oral History Project. EcoPlan led an initial pilot project at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement in 2004-2006.

Due to project design, funding and timing constraints at the time of the pilot project, several project components were still under development and therefore were not completed as part of that work. These include detailed archival research, participant biographies, the settlement history write up and several other elements in the final atlas. For these reasons, the Buffalo Lake project was updated in 2010 and 2011, with support from EcoPlan International, to bring it up to a common standard and to include additional elders in the study.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014-2015

Land tenure on First Nation reserves can be complicated. Without clarity of tenure, it can create community conflict and stall community development.

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) and Xwísten members to tackle this challenging issue. Together, through research and interviews, EcoPlan and Xwísten developed a greater understanding of family connections to the land and the land-related rights of members. This project found clarity around Xwísten’s reserve lands so that the band can move forward with economic development activities (such as agriculture). The project answered the following questions:
• On what land parcels were Xwísten families historically located?
• What parcels of land are ‘lawful possessions’ where the families have legal rights to the lands? Which family members are named on the documentation?
• Which families have more informal, traditional connections to the land, and what rights do they have?
• Going forward, what do people want to do with the land? What support do they need?

The project included capacity building and mentorship of a local coordinator who conducted dozens of interviews and did extensive historical research. The final output is a community lands report, a GIS database of information about land parcels on reserve, an user-friendly atlas of information about each parcel of land, and a repository of historical information that Xwísten researchers can use for generations to come.

Client: Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta, Canada)

Dates: 2009 – 2011

EcoPlan conducted three concurrent Traditional Land Use and Historical Communities Mapping projects in the Paddle Prairie, Kikino, and East Prairie Métis Settlements. This was the first phase of work that moved beyond ‘pilot’ status and into implementation. Following a similar format to the pilot projects, the work included an initial assessment, an interview process, a rigorous ground-truthing and validation process, and extensive archival research. Data management and storage initiatives paved the way for ongoing data collection and effective monitoring and evaluation. Atlases of traditional land use and historical communities of the Paddle Prairie, Kikino and East Prairie Métis were the final result of this project, a groundbreaking traditional land use study that was the culmination of years of development and refinement.

Client: Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta, Canada)

Dates: 2008 – 2009

EcoPlan conducted a third round of pilot projects at the Fishing Lake and Elizabeth Métis settlements, refining the processes and tools used in previous pilot phases. These projects began with training and capacity building exercises, a needs assessment and gap analysis of available information, technical preparation, a community orientation and an extensive interview process. Innovations in this pilot round included archival research of scrip, homestead and trapline records, and ground-truthing fieldwork using GPS technology and audio/visual data. The end result of the research was the production of traditional use atlases of the Fishing Lake and Elizabeth Métis Settlements.

Client: Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta, Canada)

Dates: 2007 – 2009

EcoPlan conducted a second pilot phase of the Traditional Land Use and Historical Communities Mapping project that focused on the Gift Lake and Peavine Métis Settlements. Information was recorded on interview forms and maps that were then compiled in a GIS database and supported by field verification using GPS technology. Archival and genealogical research complemented the interviews, elaborating and validating recorded interview details. Data was plotted on full size maps, which were then shared with participants for review and modifications. Traditional use atlases were created for the Gift Lake and Peavine Settlements, with detailed maps illustrating historical communities, traditional uses (hunting, fishing, etc.), occupancy, and spiritual significance.

Client: Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations

Date: 2008

EcoPlan developed a Land Use Mapping Interview and Training Guide for KHFN that demonstrated effective ways of mapping and recording traditional land use and related oral histories to assist with KHFN’s future land use planning. The guide was used by KHFN to identify and designate three regional land use areas: conservation areas, cultural emphasis areas, and stewardship areas. The guide was also used to determine the current legal statuses of those areas, their existing land uses, and the impacts in their traditional territories.

Client: Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta, Canada)

Dates: 2004 – 2006

To help facilitate the recognition of Métis Aboriginal rights, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) retained EcoPlan to assist in the Métis Traditional Settlements Traditional Land Use Mapping and Oral History Project. EcoPlan led a an initial pilot project at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement. Using oral histories and maps, the project team recorded traditional use areas and historical community patterns as well as other important aspects of the Métis community. Geographic information was organized and stored in a GIS database system, allowing the comparison of data and identification of patterns. This project resulted in a traditional use database and one for historical communities. Important tools such as the project interview forms, geo-databases, and map design were developed for use in later projects. The results of this project laid the foundation for the development of other traditional land use projects for the eight Métis Settlements of Alberta.

Implementation & Support

EcoPlan provided technical support on communications to First Nations in Metro Vancouver regarding various Metro projects.

Having previously worked with the Village of Alert Bay and ‘Namgis First Nation to develop a joint economic development strategy, EcoPlan was contracted to assist in an application for funding to support the first phases of the Strategy’s implementation. This first phase was to consist of hiring an economic development officer, downtown revitalization efforts, and business support and entrepreneurship initiatives. The application was submitted to the BC Rural Dividend Program.

EPI worked with the ‘Namgis First Nation, and the Village of Alert Bay to develop a joint economic development strategy for Cormorant Island (one of the first such joint projects in Canada).  The two governments had worked together on several projects over the years, and uncovered a number of potential economic opportunities, but a comprehensive plan was needed to examine what actions could be jointly undertaken, and which ones would have the most positive impact on the community. A unique aspect of this project was designing communications and engagement methods that reached both populations on the island, as well as external stakeholders.  At the project outset, EPI co-developed an engagement strategy with input from both Councils and staff members, which included a Steering Committee, social media updates, newsletters, one-on-one conversations, open houses, focus groups, youth ambassadors and a survey.  Upon completing the planning process, an EPI staff member moved to Alert Bay for one month to begin implementing some of the quick start actions and laying the ground work for more long-term actions.

GIS Mapping & Analysis

EcoPlan provided GIS mapping services to support this OCP update for the Town of Comox on Vancouver Island.  Extensive base mapping required the consolidation and alignment of provincial, regional, and local geographic information from several sources.  Analysis included capacity and build out studies for various development scenarios and policy alternatives, as well as proximity studies for transit services.  Beyond providing a set of standard bylaw maps, this work focused on supporting communications and engagement efforts throughout the project.  Maps developed specifically for communications included Google Earth overlays. More information on this project can be found here – http://www.comoxocp.ca/

Community Design

Client: Gitga’at

Date: 2016

The Hartley Bay signage project created a series of interpretive signs for the Hartley Bay Salmon Hatchery and surrounding walking trails. EcoPlan worked closely with the project team at Gitga’at to produce graphically rich and engaging signs, as well as create and source the additional photographs, illustrations, and maps required for the project.

Client: Metro Vancouver

Date: 2015

With new infrastructure facilities in development and others in the planning stages, Metro
Vancouver was looking to explore the opportunities and values of a more formalized approach to
incorporating public art and achieving higher architectural and urban design standards in its
infrastructure projects. EcoPlan provided Metro Vancouver with information regarding precedent-setting examples where arts have been integrated into public infrastructure facilities, highlighting the kinds of supporting policies that have facilitated this integration.

Client: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Date: 2014-2016

EcoPlan led a larger project team that includes the Arlington Group on an update of the Official Community Plan for Electoral Area “D-1” in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS). With a small and highly dispersed rural population, the project employed a range of engagement techniques to ensure the process remains community-driven. In addition to open houses (including one of the largest and most successful open houses held in the regional district), surveys, and online tools, engagement also included the establishment of a 12-member volunteer Citizens’ Committee.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014-2015

Land tenure on First Nation reserves can be complicated. Without clarity of tenure, it can create community conflict and stall community development.

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) and Xwísten members to tackle this challenging issue. Together, through research and interviews, EcoPlan and Xwísten developed a greater understanding of family connections to the land and the land-related rights of members. This project found clarity around Xwísten’s reserve lands so that the band can move forward with economic development activities (such as agriculture). The project answered the following questions:
• On what land parcels were Xwísten families historically located?
• What parcels of land are ‘lawful possessions’ where the families have legal rights to the lands? Which family members are named on the documentation?
• Which families have more informal, traditional connections to the land, and what rights do they have?
• Going forward, what do people want to do with the land? What support do they need?

The project included capacity building and mentorship of a local coordinator who conducted dozens of interviews and did extensive historical research. The final output is a community lands report, a GIS database of information about land parcels on reserve, an user-friendly atlas of information about each parcel of land, and a repository of historical information that Xwísten researchers can use for generations to come.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2013 to 2014

EcoPlan worked as part of a larger consulting team to update the Squamish Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. The original draft plan incorporated extensive community input on everything from social policy to urban design guidelines, and focused on the creation of a vibrant and enduring downtown community.  The update included a review and revision of policy in the areas of social, cultural, environmental, economic, and transportation, as well as a refinement and simplification of area design guidelines. As part of a larger Downtown Squamish Transformation Initiative, the final plan will help the District develop a vibrant downtown. Components of the plan include green networks, character districts, active transportation networks, streetscape design, building form and character guidelines, and policies around energy conservation and environmental protection.

Client: District of Squamish

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with the District of Squamish on the development of an Employment Lands Strategy for the district municipality. The project builds off the District’s current planning work (e.g., OCP and Zoning update, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan, Oceanfront Development) to help ensure that employment lands are available and used to their full potential for the community’s benefit and economic development. To incorporate a structured, strategic planning process, the project included the development of employment scenarios to help the District determine the best approach for the likeliest future scenario, and be prepared to accommodate significant development opportunities (e.g., Wood Fibre LNG plant) that will significantly impact employment land in the region.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop a master plan and promotional brochure for the Xwisten Experiences cultural tourism program.  This included site plans and phased improvements for a visitor’s centre, viewing areas, and trails.

Client: Yale First Nation

Dates: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Colliers International and Yale First Nation, BC’s newest Treaty First Nation, to develop a Comprehensive Community Plan and supporting Land Use Plan for the Nation’s Treaty Settlement Lands and former reserve areas. Due to funding and Treaty implementation obligations, the project was completed on a tight, seven-month schedule. Despite the timeline, community engagement was central to the project and involved members living on former reserves and in other communities. Facilitation support was provided by Sparrow Grant Consulting, a First-Nation owned and operated facilitation and communications company.

Client: Cowichan Tribes

Date: 2012-2014

Cowichan Tribes, the largest First Nation in BC, worked with EcoPlan to create a pair of guiding planning documents for the community – a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) and Land Use Framework. Initial meetings identified that Cowichan Tribes lacked a trained and experienced community planner. Throughout the project we worked closely with their Referral Coordinator and the project planning team (one youth, one planning assistant) to provide mentoring and training in planning through project activities. Extensive community engagement and outreach included three open houses, numerous community BBQs, door to door surveys, and meetings with staff and Council. Leading the land use component, EcoPlan’s work included a development capability analysis of both Band-owned and individually owned (Certificate of Possession) properties and the creation of several potential land uses designations for future planning work.

Client: Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band)

Date: 2012 – 2014

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop their first Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP). With extensive participation, this project was an opportunity to bring the community together through multiple Community Gatherings, youth workshops, dinners, and other activities.  Two surveys were also used to make sure on- and off-reserve members had a chance to provide input at different stages of the project. The project provided opportunities for skills development and capacity building with the hiring of a local project coordinator, who took on increasing responsibility over the project life span.  The result is a community supported plan with 50 (from very small to very large) actions to be implemented in the short, medium and long term. Each action has a mini-workplan that the manager responsible for the project can use to guide implementation. The project also includes a monitoring and evaluation component.

Client: Coldwater Indian Band

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with Coldwater First Nation on a Comprehensive Community Plan and Land Use Plan to guide decision-making and lands management in the community’s future development.  While completed in little over six months (comparable projects typically lasting 12 to 18 months), the project still included significant community-based and paced, including three community open houses, two youth forums, a community survey, a session with Chief and Council, and multiple meetings with the CCP Planning Team made of Coldwater staff departmental managers.  The CCP includes a prioritized list of actions including quick-starts, foundational actions, and medium and long-term actions.  The final plans were approved by an overwhelming majority of members at the Annual General Meeting in the fall, and accepted by Band Council Resolution the following week.

Client: The City of Powell River

Date: 2012 – 2013

EcoPlan worked with a planning team led by the Arlington Group on updating the City of Powell River’s 2005 Official Community Plan. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement component and coordinating planning collaboration with Tla’amin Nation, BC’s latest Treaty First Nation. EcoPlan was also responsible for all project mapping and the development of Downtown design guidelines and a corresponding Development Permit Area. EcoPlan also supported the development of design guidelines for the city’s Townsite neighbourhood which was designated a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, and one of only seven in Canada and the only one in western Canada.

Client: The City of Fernie

Date: 2012 – 2014

Having recently completed its first Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), the City of Fernie need to update its ten-year-old Official Community Plan (OCP) to align with the ICSP and to better incorporate emerging sustainability issues and strategies. EcoPlan worked in partnership with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability on the project, which involved a participatory, strategic planning approach. EcoPlan co-managed the community engagement process and lead the core planning components, including the revision of design guidelines for OCP development permit areas.

Client: Diamond Head Consulting, City of Surrey

Date: 2012

EcoPlan, in partnership with Diamond Head Consulting, developed the City of Surrey’s leading edge Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS). The work was built on past planning initiatives, including the Ecosystem Management Study and Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The results of this project informed large scale community planning, as well as secondary plans and regulatory tools. The outcomes of the BCS include: a green infrastructure network for the City as well as management and policy options to help Surrey optimize biodiversity in its rapidly growing urban landscape. Ultimately, the results informed the development of tools and decision-making frameworks which in turn helped City staff make clear, consistent and rigorous decisions around biodiversity conservation and enhancement and provide greater certainty for all stakeholders.

EcoPlan led the public consultation component of this project. This included a series of meetings with a stakeholder working group, a public open house and outreach through various public communication channels including social media, the web and traditional media outlets.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2011-2013

Having assisted Musqueam First Nation in developing a concept plan for St. Mungo interpretive centre – an important archaeological site located on the banks of the Fraser River in Delta, B.C. – EcoPlan was retained to help the Musqueam people and the Province of British Columbia describe how the site’s development as a recognition area and its future operation and management will be undertaken.

EcoPlan also helped develop more detailed construction standards, operations management guidelines, archeological information, and protocols for the Site Management Plan in the following three supporting technical documents:

  • Site Management Plan Construction Guidelines Report
  • Site Management and Operations Plan
  • Historical and Archeological Context Report

Client: Resort Municipality of Whistler

Date: 2012

Working with the Whistler Waldorf School, a private educational institution ranging from pre-school to high school levels, EcoPlan developed a conceptual site plan and policy analysis for a new school permanent school to be sited at the location of the existing temporary school.  The project included working with the Resort Municipality of Whistler as well as the staff and Board of Directors of the Whistler Waldorf School.

Client: BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Date: 2012

In 2012, EcoPlan helped support two new Treaty First Nations of the Maa-nulth Treaty (BC’s second modern treaty) — Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government  — join the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) on Vancouver Island’s west coast. A undertaking with no precedents, EcoPlan worked with the parties through a structured decision process to identify and prioritize potential services areas the Treaty First Nations may participate in, and helped develop an innovative service cost apportionment model to support the uptake of two mandatory service areas – general government and regional hospital district – required by the Treaty.

As part of the work, EcoPlan produced a series of information products to support the process, including a regional planning toolkit and resource guide to help Treaty First Nations, regional districts, and local governments improve regional planning, collaboration and service delivery as treaties are implemented across BC. Treaty First Nations represent a new order of government in the province. Collaboration and coordinated planning between Treaty First Nations and other local governments present opportunities to expand and improve regional level planning and service delivery, and advance regional sustainability planning efforts.

Client: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek

Dates: 2011 – 2012

EcoPlan completed a comprehensive community plan for the Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA). A formally landless community who negotiated their community’s land based in 2008, the plan focuses on this new area located at Partridge Lake, about three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Called Giiwedaa (which means “coming home” in Ojibwe) the development of the plan included a major community engagement component that involved AZA members living throughout five core communities in north-western Ontario. The final document includes eight short-term projects organized under the community-identified and prioritized development objectives that were honed over the course of the year it took to complete the plan. One of the eight priority projects – a Land Use Plan for Partridge Lake – was completed concurrently with the comprehensive community plan.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2011

One of the priority tourism opportunities identified in an earlier assessment carried out by EcoPlan was a culture park and learning centre. EcoPlan was retained by Driftpile First Nation to develop a concept plan, preliminary design and site program for this facility on band-owned land adjoining their reserve.  The concept included new pow-wow grounds and was meant to support project fundraising. The concept plan has since been used to raise corporate donations and Driftpile is scheduled to commence on the first phases of work.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Dates: 2010 – 2011

EcoPlan assisted Musqueam with the development of a conceptual plan for the St. Mungo interpretive site, located on the banks of the Fraser River in Delta, BC. Positioned as the waterfront terminus of an extensive trail system that extends north from Burns bog, the site will have a positive recreational benefit for surrounding neighbourhoods while helping inform and engage visitors in Musqueam history and culture. Investing the skills and creativity of the Musqueam will help rebuild a rich cultural identity on the site and re-establish a strong sense of place.

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) is the largest aboriginal-owned and operated tourism attraction in Canada. EcoPlan was retained by Canadian Badlands Limited to identify and assess economic development and tourism opportunities in and around BCHP and the Canadian Badlands Region. Project work incorporated an extensive body of past planning work carried out by Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park (BCHP) and utilized a participatory planning approach that involved the larger Siksika community and senior BCHP staff. The BCHP Area Development Plan project included two distinct components:

2010 Planning Institute of British Columbia Award for Excellence in Planning

Located north of Powell River, BC, the Tla’amin First Nation (formerly Sliammon) is a dynamic community poised to become the next First Nation to sign a final Treaty with the provincial and federal governments. EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation to develop a comprehensive land use plan and supporting development law and zoning bylaw for two reserve areas. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan establishes a clear planning and development review process that incorporates Tla’amin cultural values, respects community capacity and considers the realities and constraints of Tla’amin’s rural location. The plan establishes a land use policy direction, and describes how, where and when people will be allowed use or develop specific areas by including:

  • Development and building procedures;
  • General land use designations;
  • Teeshohsum Village Zoning;
  • Sensitive and Hazard Area Guidelines; and
  • Sub-Plans.

The planning process began with a review of past planning work and an assessment of current and future needs for housing and community facilities. Land use designations were then generated and reviewed by the community and leadership to determine critical choices and preferences. Community input was welcomed through a series of formal events such as open houses, but was also encouraged through informal avenues. Project work also included ongoing training and capacity building with the Tla’amin’s GIS department. The Tla’amin Land Use Plan will help Tla’amin move forward with important capital projects and upgrades such as new water and sewer services, roads, and community facilities.

Client: Musqueam First Nation

Date:

EcoPlan updated and modified a physical development plan for the cultural and physical core of the Musqueam’s main reserve, the new ‘Heart of the Community,’ as part of the overarching Comprehensive Community Plan and Land Use Plan. The planning process involved extensive community engagement and consultation to drive a structured decision-making process around community objectives and infrastructure needs. EcoPlan gathered feedback through a community survey, open houses, family meetings, meetings with Elders, and community committees. Project planning was coordinated to take advantage of new opportunities such as Musqueam’s winning bid for the 2010 Host Nations Pavilion to be used as a new cultural centre.

Project work involved a comprehensive modeling, visualization, layout and planning process, employing new urban design techniques and technologies. A substantial landscape architecture component focused on integrating environment into the development, reflecting Musqueam cultural values. The plan includes housing, a community recreation centre, a cultural centre, and a waterfront park. Significant portions of this new vision have been implemented successfully, with widespread community support. The community recreation centre, cultural centre and park described in the plan are already in development.

EcoPlan provided GIS mapping services to support this OCP update for the Town of Comox on Vancouver Island.  Extensive base mapping required the consolidation and alignment of provincial, regional, and local geographic information from several sources.  Analysis included capacity and build out studies for various development scenarios and policy alternatives, as well as proximity studies for transit services.  Beyond providing a set of standard bylaw maps, this work focused on supporting communications and engagement efforts throughout the project.  Maps developed specifically for communications included Google Earth overlays. More information on this project can be found here – http://www.comoxocp.ca/

Client: Musqueam First Nation

Date: 2010-2011

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Planning Practice

2010 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Excellence in Recreation Planning (Honorable Mention)

Musqueam’s comprehensive, sustainable community development plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind tells the story of the community’s past, its present, and its future path. The culmination of years of collaboration, innovation and learning, this Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) sets a new standard for effective, responsive and integrated community-based strategic planning. As the community’s guiding plan, We Are of One Heart and Mind will lead Musqueam to becoming a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation and a complete and healthy community.

This project involved a full suite of strategic approaches to research, objectives, prioritization, community engagement, organizational development, action planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring. A community-driven effort, We Are of One Heart and Mind was built upon Musqueam values and their unique culture. EcoPlan worked to ensure that the planning process was community driven, engaging Musqueam members every step of the way in all aspects of plan development. Integrating twenty economic, social, physical and organizational planning developments, We Are of One Heart and Mind will provide current and future leadership, administration, and members with direction and guidance on how the Musqueam community is to develop over time.

A key principle of this project was that internal capacity building and planning tool development was integrated into the collaboration process. Through this process Musqueam developed its strategic planning capacity to promote consensus, increase transparency and ensure the incorporation of community feedback in decisions. This increased capacity facilitated the developed new land use evaluation and scenario modeling tools, and the incorporation of internet-based resources (Google Earth, Sketch Up, social media) to improve community engagement and planning processes.

We Are of One Heart and Mind includes:

  • A powerful community vision;
  • Community objectives, ranked and prioritized by Musqueam members;
  • Supporting actions, prioritized and sequenced (short, medium and long-term) to help realize community objectives;
  • Guidelines for implementation; and,
  • monitoring and evaluation framework for both compliance and impact monitoring to increase staff capacity and allow for future improvements to the plan.

As a summary document, the CCP also includes highlights of related sub-plans, procedures and tools, including:

  • Community Profile summarizing the community and trends affecting it;
  • An integrated Land Use Plan for Musqueam’s reserves and settlement lands;
  • Departmental strategic planswork plans and budgets that link and coordinate with community objectives and plan actions;
  • A new administration organization chart and operating procedure to improve efficiency and support plan implementation;
  • A high-level Economic Development Strategy and principles, including a new economic development corporation to lead enterprise development; and,
  • A set of new planning tools to support ongoing plan implementation and the creation of new policies, programs and plans in the future.

Client: Driftpile First Nation, Alberta, Canada

Date: 2010

As a result of the previous Tourism Opportunity Assessment, EcoPlan developed a business plan and design for a 511-site RV park to be developed on the shores of Lesser Slave Lake, on the land of the Driftpile First Nation. Progressive environmental design features and a significant cultural component, a performance area, interpretive displays and a cultural program will distinguish this facility as a visibly Cree venture. EcoPlan developed a comprehensive business plan for the development of the facility over ten years in six phases. The flexible approach will help ensure that internal Driftpile capacity to operate and manage the facility is developed in tandem with its growth as a business.

Client: Musqueam Indian Band

Date: 2010

EcoPlan worked with the Musqueam Indian Band to develop a land use plan for Musqueam’s three reserves, recently acquired settlement lands in the City of Vancouver, and fee-simple lands owned by the band and located throughout the Lower Mainland. The community-driven project was integrated with Musqueam’s larger comprehensive community planning program and involved considerable member input. The land use plan included cultural and environmental design guidelines and the development of both a building by-law and zoning by-law. Special attention was paid to future climate impact risks, mitigation and adaptation measures. The project used cutting edge scenario development and structured decision-making approach using both third party software (CommunityViz) and EcoPlan-developed Excel and GIS-based decision support tools.

2011 Planning Institute of B.C. Award for Excellence in Policy Planning

Working with a larger consultant team, EcoPlan helped lead the development of a Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) for the Comox Valley Regional District. The RGS is unique in its use of clear, objective-based measures for its policy sections. These indicators are clearly linked to and coordinated with both the RGS’s monitoring and evaluation component, and are integrated to other regional strategies, including the region’s voluntary Sustainability Strategy which the RGS will help implement. EcoPlan co-managed the project, including the project’s broad-based community engagement component, which included an innovative participatory video component and other engaging outreach. EcoPlan led the project’s economic development, mapping, housing and population and demographics components. The RGS included a substantial number of integrated active transportation policies in its housing, transportation, climate change, economic development and health policy chapter.

2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning

Planning Institute of British Columbia 2007 Award for Excellence in Planning

EcoPlan coordinated a community-based project to establish a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) for the Kwicksutaineuk Ah‐kwaw‐ah‐mish First Nations. The CCP was the culmination of three phases of work. Starting in 2006, EcoPlan implemented a planning effort to develop a new site plan for Gwa-yas-dums Village and a long term, comprehensive strategy for the Nations. The village plan includes land use, cultural design components, housing, energy, and solid waste management. Following this initial plan, the second phase focused on culture & history, health & wellness, lands & resources and governance. A third project phase resulted in a community economic development strategy.

The Comprehensive Community Plan process was community driven, with community members participating at every level of decision-making and direction setting. The final plan is instrumental to KHFN’s vision of becoming a healthy, sustainable community that is culturally vibrant and economically stable. This project was awarded the 2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Rural/Small Town Planning, marking the first time an Aboriginal community has been awarded a national planning award.

Client: Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, Powell River Regional District

Date: 2008

EcoPlan worked with the Tla’amin First Nation and the Powell River Regional District (PRRD) to identify opportunities for coordinating land use planning between the two governments, for potential Treaty Settlement Lands Tla’amin had identified as part of their treaty negotiations. The project resulted in 21 recommendations that were adopted by PRRD and Tla’amin to include in their current land use plans as well as in any future land use plans for the region.  Work included significant outreach and engagement with PRRD residents and Tla’amin First Nation members, and was recognized by both parties as an important trust and relationship building process. The project also resolved one of the most contentious land issues– the recognition of a fee simple property owned by the Nation as a Treaty Settlement Land parcel — and helped move Tla’amin closer to a treaty-in-principle.

Policy Development

EcoPlan has supported TransLink on two linked advisory services agreements, with the most recent focusing on three work streams: policy research and analysis support; facilitation, prioritization and strategic decision-making support; and public and stakeholder engagement support. The first advisory services program focused on three projects: a Strategic Health Impact Assessment; Decision Support for Pattullo Bridge Investment Alternatives; and Decision Support for the Regional Transportation Strategy. Following this project EcoPlan supported a comparative analysis of Pattullo Bridge investments alternatives in a framework of structured decision-making. More recently, EcoPlan supported TransLink in the development of its leading-edge Future of Driving policy white paper. EcoPlan has since been commissioned as part of larger team to research, conceptualize and formulate options for TransLink to convene what has become known as the Mobility Innovation Lab or MI-Lab.

Having previously worked with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishnaabek (AZA) on a comprehensive community plan (CCP), EcoPlan was contracted to develop an Environmental Policy Framework, as well as a monitoring and evaluation plan, community engagement, and communication tools. Specific policy areas included riparian and fish habitat protection, water protection, community forestry, habitat protection, and energy policy.  In the development of the Policy, Ecoplan completed a best practices review around environmental policies, consolidated relevant material from the CCP, and conducted several rounds of community engagement, feedback and communication.

This UNDP project provided policy support and participatory analysis in support of Indonesia’s decentralization efforts.

EcoPlan was retained by Metro Vancouver to provide information regarding best practices for integrating public art into new facility development and upgrades, including both small- and mid-sized infrastructure, and the policies supporting its procurement and integration. Through interviews with with public art staff, consultants, and regional public art agencies from across Canada, Washington, Oregon and California, as well as conducting case studies, the research examined approaches to public art procurement, design, management and integration. The final reports include an overview of common processes used by large public agencies for artist selection, community engagement, the design process, and the management and integration of public art in infrastructure and facility development projects.

EcoPlan was retained by Metro Vancouver to conduct stakeholder engagement, present and gatehr feedback on a proposed Fermentation Bylaw. The Bylaw would limit the Total Suspended Solids entering wastewater treatment plants. Engagement included a day- long stakeholder meeting and online survey, both asking stakeholders about their current practices, barriers, and challenges related to the proposed bylaw, and what resources Metro Vancouver could provide to better assist. The engagement report highlighted several key findings pertaining to issues of cost, compliance and support.

EcoPLan supported Metro Vancouver on options for addressing inflow and infiltration acros Metro Vancouver.

EcoPlan was contracted by the Liquid Waste Department of Metro Vancouver to compile a research brief regarding educational elements in municipal wastewater infrastructure. This report provided Metro Vancouver with information regarding precedent-setting examples where passive and active public education components have been integrated into public water and waste water infrastructure facilities and projects.

EcoPlan was contracted by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) to review a draft of their First Nations engagement strategy and associated staff report. The draft strategy was to be implemented over a multi-year period in three phases, focusing on: internal development and education; external relationship building; and cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships. EcoPLan was selected for the project, in recognition of thier experience in First Nations engagement.

EcoPlan and Activate Planning were contracted by TransLink to develop the concept of a mobility lab for presentation to TransLink’s board. The report summarises the potential role, development and governance of a mobility lab to assist TransLink and the region during this period of transformation in transportation. By considering best practice in the development of social innovation labs and the context of TransLink’s regional role, the report outlines a roadmap and key considerations for developing and implementing a mobility solutions lab.

Having worked with Xwisten (Bridge River Indian Band) on several previous projects, (including a Comprehensive Community Plan, Economic Development Strategy and Governance Policy), EcoPlan was contracted to develop a Finance Policy.  The Policy definies responsibilities and procedures around planning, budgeting, financial and operational reporting, account and cash management, procurement, debt, loans, investments, capital assets, insurance, risk management, and emergencies.

In February 2017, EcoPlan completed the Chief and Council Governance Policy for Xwisten (Bridge River Indian Band), which defines the roles and responsibilities of Xwisten Chief and Council, Councillors, the Administrator, and Xwisten Portfolio Holders, as well as Xwisten membership and community. The policy also lays out the policies and guidelines relating to conflict of interest, public relations, council eligibility and codes of conduct, and membership meetings. As an addition to the Policy, EcoPlan worked with Xwisten Chief and Council to develop an Oath of Office and Honorarium Policy appropriate to the Band’s needs.

First Nations operations and businesses are complex in terms of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), as there are overlapping OHS regulations (federal and provincial) that apply. Xwísten’s situation wasfurther complicated in that their business and government operations were extremely varied (including office work, construction, forestry, firefighting,health care, and food services). EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to develop a tailored OHS plan that met the needs of their complex business and government operations while complying with all relevant regulations. The project included the development of an OHS Policy, descriptions of all potential hazards and worksafe practices, forms and checklists, and an overall OHS program for Xwísten’s operations (e.g., committees, responsibilities, record keeping, training and onboarding programs, safety equipment, procedures, and other aspects). Recognizing that the success of the program depends on employees using it as described, EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to make an otherwise content heavy and technical document accessible and user friendly through the use of icons, clear language, images and explanatory text boxes. The OHS Program was set up as a flexible document that could evolve over time with the operational needs of Xwísten, and as the Occupational Health and Safety Committee gained experience and grew.

EcoPlan worked with Xwísten to write their human resources policy, ensuring that it was compliant with federal and provincial laws, met best practices for First Nations human resources management, and met the needs of members, staff and Council.The project sought to formalize and standardize the existing human resources practices in the organization (which were largely left up to department heads and varied widely). The final document includes a new performance management process (i.e., employee review), a new and more transparent hiring process, and twelve ‘templates’ that can be used by department heads to standardize their HR practices. These templates include a ‘Letter of Offer’, interview questions, reference check questions, and yearly employee review meetings.