From the Ground Up: Using Local Assets to Build Inclusive Sustainable Communities

A series of workshops aimed at providing the tools and best practices necessary for local leaders to build sustainable communities.

Program Highlights

Friday Morning 11:00 – 12:15


How Big is Your Magic Wand?   Municipal Powers and Sustainability.

This session explores practical definitions of sustainability, the cost of climate change and integrating a triple bottom line (social, economic and environmental) framework.  It will look at local government tools in legislations and legislative changes needed for sustainable local governments.  Kim Fowler



Early Friday Afternoon – 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Setting Priorities and Getting them Done:  

 It helps to know where you’re going.  This session is about useful governance tools: tips for developing a corporate strategy; group dynamics with staff, community and your fellow elected officials as well as how to use a performance plan for your Chief Executive Officer.  Kim Fowler


Supply Chain Activism: What School District and Municipal Buying Power Can Do 

Hear what school districts and local governments are doing to put their buying power where their values are.  This workshop will explore how to leverage purchasing power to advance social justice and environmental priorities, including climate change and other green concerns, aboriginal and community economic development, ethical sourcing and living wages.   Coro Strandberg


Municipal Resources Panel 

Experienced and newly elected people alike can always use some outside assistance when it comes to solving some of the very complex problems communities face.  Our panel of experts from three organizations:  Fraser Basin Council, BC Healthy Communities and Smartgrowth BC will speak about innovative programs that help local and regional government in their work to create healthy, sustainable communities.   Alice Miro, Marion Town and Kerri Klein


Friday Afternoon Workshops  2:45- 4:00


Mining Social Capital : A Workshop on Community Schools  

In the current funding climate it can be a challenge to keep schools open and maximize their value as a community asset.  Community schools offer a way to “mine the social capital” in your community.   Hear about Cordova Bay elementary which houses both elementary students and senior citizens, the community partnerships in Surrey that enable community school programing and the pathways that Burnaby is using to support community schools.  Ken Krieger, Bob Coventry, Susan White, Larry Hayes


7:30 Dinner with Chris Turner   

Chris Turner is the author of The Geography of Hope, a Tour of the World We Need.  Chris will speak about climate change solutions already at work around the world, from Canada’s largest wind farm to Asia’s greenest building and Europe’s most eco-friendly communities.

Saturday March 7th


8:00  Breakfast Plenary – Building an Economy of Enduring Happiness

Drawing from his book The Economics of Happiness, Mark Anieleski will show tangible examples of how communities from China, to Innsbruck,Austria, Santa Monica, Edmonton and Leduc, Alberta are using the Genuine Wealth model to rediscover their real wealth and measure progress more comprehensively in alignment with citizen values.


9:00 -10:15

Natural Step Planning Framework

This session will provide information and share experiences on the natural-step framework that has guided the Resort Municipality of Whistler in its decision-making and strategic planning.  It will explore how the Municipality has worked to integrate sustainability into its organizational structure so that sustainability is now part of it’s “DNA”.      Laura MacKay and David Waldron


Early Development Indicators 

This workshop will demonstrate the origins of huge neighborhood and community differences in the state of early child development in BC and the role of community governance as a determinant of successful early child development in BC.

Dr. Clyde Herztman and Tammy Findlay


Project Homeless Connect 

Project Homeless Connect are special one-day events designed to give people who are homeless access to a wide range of health and other support services under one roof.  The workshop will include presentation of a new guidebook to assist communities in British Columbia who want to hold Homeless Connect events.

 Helesia Luke and Catherine Evans
Saturday Afternoon Workshops 1:00 to 2:15


Bans, By-Laws and Other Initiatives: Local Politicians Taking Action on Chemical Trespass    This workshop will provide the background on chemical trespass along with practical steps that decision makers can take to reduce risks. These range from from municipal cosmetic pesticide and plastic water bottle bans, to protocols for cleaning products used in schools.      Mae Burrows, Joan Bech and Dan Johnston



Living Wage 

What is a living wage?  Learn about the international living wage movement, the BC campaign and how you might apply a living wage grid in your community.

Adrienne Montani and Dr. Timothy Richards


Local Economy  

How do communities encourage investment in local business?  This workshop will explore a plan developed for the neighborhood of Strathcona in Vancouver as well as strategies that Santa Monica, California is exploring to attract and retain sustainable businesses.  Going Local , a Centre for Civic Governance publication featuring BC case studies and local governance tools for supporting local economies makes its debut in this workshop.  Mark Pezzaro and Andre Isakov.


2:30-3:30  Plenary – Climate Change and Economic Meltdown
Marc Lee, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and David Cadman, president of ICLEI, the UN based organization of cities working for sustainability offer their perspective on the world-wide economic meltdown, international efforts to deal with climate change and the interconnection of these two global challenges.     

About Centre for Civic Governance

The Centre for Civic Governance works to support community leadership meeting today’s social and environmental challenges: climate change, Canada’s increasing equity gap, and shifting social trends. At the Centre for Civic Governance, our goal is to strengthen Canadian communities through sharing best practices, providing tools for locally elected leaders, and progressive policy analysis. We strive to provide knowledge and information to make real and positive social change.