Bridging the Gap Between Disaster/Emergency Management and Urban Planning in Vancouver Island Communities

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Lumley, Sarah
urban planning , disaster , emergency management , resilience , official community plans
The objective of this research was to provide justification and best practices for linking disaster and emergency management policies and goals within coastal municipalities on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. There is increasing literature to support that the most effective approach to Disaster and Emergency Management (DEM) is through local integration of resilience-based DEM policy with urban planning practices and policies; however, this is not yet common practice for many communities in Canada. In British Columbia, local authorities are responsible for both DEM and Urban Planning, but these functions are mandated by separate provincial legislation and implemented through different plans. This translates into two unnecessarily separated functions at the regional district and municipal level that do not contribute to overall community resiliency. In this research, the Official Community Plans (OCP) of four municipalities, Victoria, Courtenay, Nanaimo, and Port Alberni, were analyzed to determine how and to what extent disaster and emergency management policy is currently incorporated into the plans. From these results, the identification of barriers and opportunities, and confirmation interviews with four professionals, four Provincial level and eight municipal level recommendations were provided to enable greater incorporation of DEM into OCPs and improve overall community resilience to disasters.
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