Everyone Benefits from The Strategy

Benefits to the Community:

Improved Quality of Life

All Comox Valley residents will benefit from a well planned community that protects its biodiversity and natural areas.

Greenspace creates pleasant surroundings and viewscapes and offers solace in our busy lives.

Quality of Life attracts new business, residents and tourists to our community.

 

redwingBlackbird_web

 

Physical and Mental Health

Having safe accessible urban parks and community greenspace encourages walking and cycling which leads to improved physical fitness and health and reduces obesity and other physical ailments.

Greenspace and physical activity are also proven to be restorative to mental health.

 

 

A Sense of Community

People who live near parks and greenways tend to remain in their homes longer than those who do not. This results in more stable neighbourhoods and a greater sense of community.

The CVCS offers residents an opportunity to be involved in community planning and to help in the identification and protection of important natural areas.

 

forestcanopy_webClean Air & Water

Urban forests and trees improve air quality by absorption of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that can be harmful to human health.

Similarly, maintenance of wetlands and riparian areas results in the filtration of storm-water before the water reaches fish-bearing streams and creeks.

Since we all get our drinking water from a watershed, maintaining the natural function of our watersheds, assures residents have safe, clean, drinking water.

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Recreational Opportunities

The Comox Valley is recognized for its world-class outdoor recreational opportunities that include hiking, cycling, boating, kayaking, camping, fishing, mountaineering, skiing, wildlife viewing, and simply enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Parks, open areas and walking paths can be among the most important and popular features in residential neighbourhoods.

Benefits for Local Government

“Free” Ecosystem Services

Natural functioning ecosystems provide a wide range of services that would otherwise have to be provided by and paid for by local governments and taxpayers.

Examples of these “free” services include:
Diagram of Ecosystem Amenities

    • natural stormwater management (reducing the need for expensive stormwater infrastructure)
    • flooding control (trees and intact riparian areas greatly reduce and slow stormwater runoff)
    • water purification (wetlands filter and purify water and release it slowly)
    • improved air quality
    • temperature moderation (trees and greenways reduce asphalt and provide shade which lowers air temperatures)
    • greenhouse gas reduction (carbon dioxide – a major cause of global warming – is absorbed by trees as they grow)
    • waste disposal (eagles, vultures and other scavengers clean up dead animal carcasses and reduce pest species such as rats, pigeons and skunks)
    • pollination (bees and other pollinators are important for plant and flower reproduction)
  • Lower Costs, Higher Revenues

    In places where one part of a site is densified to allow for protection of another part of the site, lower costs for roads and servicing result in lower long-term costs of maintenance. In addition there are savings in mowing and maintenance costs when lands are managed as natural buffers rather than manicured lawns.

  • Increases Property Values and Tax Revenues

    Enhanced property values associated with adjacent parks and greenspace can result in increased property tax revenues to local governments.

  • Avoidance of Future Costs

    Good environmental planning prevents development on unsuitable or hazardous sites, which may prevent future expenses and lawsuits if problems arise.

Benefits for the Development Community

  • Greater Certainty

    Wetland development next to a home in the Comox Valley

    Developers benefit from greater certainty when they know in advance about environmentally sensitive ecosystems that need to be considered in their development. They can account for protection in their development plans and avoid wasted time and expense in future disputes.

  • Faster Approvals

    When new developments adhere to the community environmental vision, approvals are more likely to be obtained quickly and without resistance. This means savings to the developer in terms of time and money.

  • Reduced Costs

    Unit development costs are lower for higher density developments. If housing units are densified on one part of a development site in an effort to protect environmentally sensitive resources on another part, there are cost savings because there is less area to be cleared and less road and sewer infrastructure. In fact, clustered development can reduce the capital cost of subdivision development by 10-33% by reducing the amount of infrastructure needed to service the development.

    Using “green” infrastructure (eg. grassy swales instead of conventional curb, gutter and pipe designs) results in savings of about $8,000 per housing unit.

  • Increased Sales Values and Marketability

    Property values and marketability of homes are higher next to parks and greenspace, and trees and landscaping also increase property values by 5 – 20%.

Woman fishing in the Comox Valley

Benefits for Business

  • Attraction of New Business and Labour

    Quality of life acts as an economic engine in a community. “Footloose” businesses that are free to locate anywhere tend to be attracted to communities that offer a high quality of life, abundant greenspaces, and recreational opportunities. Environmental attractiveness draws in investment and jobs. Similarly, people are attracted to and tend to remain longer in communities that offer these same amenities, guaranteeing a stable labour pool.

  • Enhances the Tourism and Hospitality Industries

    Tourism is an important and growing industry in the region and is dependent upon protection of the natural environment. A survey of visitors to Vancouver Island found that most were attracted to the area because of its scenic beauty (98.7%) and outdoor recreation opportunities (91.5%) (Malaspina University College and Tourism Vancouver Island 2003).

Benefits for Farmers

“There is no doubt that genetic diversity…species diversity…and ecological diversity…have been, are, and will continue to be absolutely essential to sustaining the world’s agriculture” (Jeffrey A. Lockwood, January 1999)

Excerpted from “Develop With Care: Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia.” BC Ministry of Environment, March 2006.