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The Community Excellence Awards recognize local governments that exhibit excellence in meeting the purposes of local government and demonstrate successful pathways for others to follow. This week we are pleased to highlight the City of Richmond, our 2018 winner in the “governance” category, for its initiative to expand charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Richmond’s project required that all new developments feature an electrical outlet in residential parking spaces capable of providing “Level 2” charging for electric vehicles (EVs) – a first in North America.

The City was able to build support for the project through a rigorous multi-stakeholder consultation period that included a public open house, online survey, departmental coordination process, and over two dozen meetings with advocacy groups, developers, home owners and builders groups, EV charging service providers, and other local governments.

By providing a policy solution to the “EV readiness” problem through deliberative and collaborative decision-making, the project demonstrates a tangible way for local governments to support the reduction of carbon emissions and thereby increase community sustainability.

This pathway to climate action has already inspired other local governments to follow suit, including the City of Vancouver and District of West Vancouver.

This year’s awards also saw an honourable mention in the “governance” category provided to Cowichan Valley Regional District and its innovative regional collaboration framework .

The Cowichan 2050 Regional Collaboration Framework is a leading-edge statutory policy tool and collaborative approach to regional planning and decision-making. Emphasizing regional collaboration, communication, and coordination, its purpose is to address the crosscutting nature of emergent challenges faced by local governments, such as those related to climate change and population growth.

To date, the project has produced a Scope of Work document, a regional primer that pulls together common policy themes from various official plans, and a Call to Action, endorsed by the CVRD, Town of Ladysmith, Municipality of North Cowichan, City of Duncan, and Town of Lake Cowichan in June of 2018. These will be expanded on and further developed in the future.

The permanent Regional Working Group established through the Framework is made up of participants from 13 local organizations including local governments, First Nations, and region-serving community groups, and continues to meet regularly to coordinate on key issues and ensure that regional partners are working in unison towards collective goals.

The Excellence in Governance category acknowledges programs, policies and processes that exemplify good governance by supporting citizen participation in civic decision-making, being inclusive, equitable and consensus-based, and exemplifying best practices in accountability, effectiveness, and long-term thinking.