Pictured from left to right: Ian Morrison, CVRD chair,; Emily Dixon, CVRD Planning Technician; Area D Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo; and Tanya Soroka, Parks & Trails Planner. (Photo submitted)

Pictured from left to right: Ian Morrison, CVRD chair,; Emily Dixon, CVRD Planning Technician; Area D Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo; and Tanya Soroka, Parks & Trails Planner. (Photo submitted)

Planning excellence cited in Cowichan Valley Regional District honour

Cowichan Bay community strategy receives national award

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has received the 2019 Award for Planning Excellence in the category of Rural/Small Town Planning from the Canadian Institute of Planners.

The Cowichan Bay Village Vitalization Strategy was one of several Vancouver Island planning projects honoured by the CIP’s national awards, which recognizes innovation, impact, presentation and implementation potential.

“This is an incredible acknowledgement of the leading-edge work being done by our staff and consultants to help shape the future of one of our remarkable electoral area communities,” said Ian Morrison, chair of the CVRD.

The jury was most impressed by the ‘tactical villagism’ demonstrated by Cowichan Bay Village Vitalization Strategy, referring to its use of tactical urbanism techniques for a smaller community project. The design guidelines contained a unique flavour, deliberately focusing on keeping the local character of the community and avoiding uniformity in new development, which was illustrated through appealing hand-drawn sketches.

The plan was also found to be effective in identifying immediate steps that can be done with minimal time and effort to improve the area.

“I am so proud of how Cowichan Bay residents and businesses came together to support this process, said Lori Iannidinardo, Cowichan Bay Area D director. The combined effort of the community, CVRD staff, Vancouver Island University students, and a diverse group of planning, design and engineering consultants came together to make this strategy successful.”

The intensive engagement process drew on support from many stakeholders including Cowichan Bay businesses. The project addressed many complex inter-jurisdictional and cross-government issues, and the process accomplished a great deal in a compressed time schedule.

The project used charrette techniques and involved university students in experiential learning. The jury found that the strategy is an excellent example of the power of rural and small communities to find locally relevant solutions.

“On behalf of the Canadian planning community, I congratulate the recipients for their remarkable work,” said Eleanor Mohammed RPP, MCIP, President of the Canadian Institute of Planners. “The projects embody the finest examples of planning and are representative of the innovative work being done by Canadian planning professionals in Canada and worldwide.”