Open Collections

UBC Graduate Research

Strategic Sustainability Planning: Are Sustainability Plans in BC likely to be Implemented? Mody, Alisha Apr 30, 2012

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
310-SCARP_2012_gradproject_Mody.pdf [ 916.77kB ]
Metadata
JSON: 310-1.0102556.json
JSON-LD: 310-1.0102556-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 310-1.0102556-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 310-1.0102556-rdf.json
Turtle: 310-1.0102556-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 310-1.0102556-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 310-1.0102556-source.json
Full Text
310-1.0102556-fulltext.txt
Citation
310-1.0102556.ris

Full Text

 STRATEGIC SUSTAINABILITY PLANNING: ARE SUSTAINABILITY PLANS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA LIKELY TO BE IMPLEMENTED?  by  ALISHA ZOE DEWIT MODY  B.A., The University of Alberta, 2006  A PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING)  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  School of Community and Regional Planning  We accept this project as conforming to the required standard  ......................................................  .....................................................  .....................................................   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2012 © Alisha Mody, 2012         2 Executive Summary The purpose of this project is to evaluate how effectively local government sustainability plans in British Columbia (BC) are setting up post-plan implementation.  Firstly, this project will explore the sustainability content of the plan documents by addressing two key questions: (1) What should be included in a local government sustainability plan?; and (2) What is included in existing local government sustainability plans? The project will then explore four interrelated implementation questions: (1) What strategic plan components positively contribute to the implementation prospects of the plan?; (2) What implementation provisions are common in sustainability plans?; (3) Do sustainability plans include the strategic plan components that contribute to implementation?; and (4) Are sustainability plans putting the local government in a good position for implementation?  The sustainability plans are evaluated using a protocol developed with a reference to the academic literature on plan quality, implementation and sustainability prior to evaluation. The evaluation protocol is composed of two main components:  sustainability and implementation.  The sustainability protocol is divided into four categories: Environment, Society, Economy and Governance. The implementation protocol is structured by four basic questions that a strategic plan should address. They are: Where are we now?; Where do we want to go?; How are we going to get there?; How do we know when we have arrived? (UN-Habitat 2005, p. 12). Each question defines a section of the protocol. A fifth section, „Structure‟, contains four protocol items that identify specific structural components of a plan document. The plans score either a 0 or 1 on each criterion in the evaluation protocol. Scoring a 1 indicates the presence of an item, while 0 indicates its absence.  The results show that sustainability plans in BC have relatively strong substantive sustainability content. However, the quality of the implementation provisions leaves room for improvement.  Eight recommendations, which will enhance the implementation provisions of the plans, are identified. They are:  3 1. Increase the quantitative fact base. 2. Outline how goals and strategies were prioritized. 3. Develop an implementation governance network before the plan is complete (thus enabling it to be recorded in the plan) that includes all the stakeholders responsible for the plan‟s implementation. 4. Identify the organization or position (mayor, director of planning, sustainability coordinator or sustainability committee, etc) that will champion implementation efforts. 5. Identify how the public will be engaged in implementation on an ongoing basis. 6. Develop and include implementation cost and potential and committed funding information, including analysis of potential new funding sources. 7. Identify indicators with a baseline and target for each. 8. Schedule the review and update of the plan.  Table of Contents Executive Summary ................................................................................................................. 2 List of Figures ............................................................................................................................. 5 List of Tables .............................................................................................................................. 5 Section 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................... 6 1.1 Research Problem ....................................................................................................................... 6 1.2 Purpose ........................................................................................................................................... 6 1.3 Context ............................................................................................................................................ 6 1.3.1 Sustainability Plans vs. Official Community Plans ................................................................ 8 Section 2. Detailed Project Description ......................................................................... 10 2.1 Research Questions ................................................................................................................. 10 2.2 Literature Review ..................................................................................................................... 10 2.2.1 Plan Quality ........................................................................................................................................ 10 2.2.2 Sustainability ..................................................................................................................................... 12 2.2.3 Implementation ................................................................................................................................ 16 2.2 Methods ........................................................................................................................................ 22 2.2.1 Plan Evaluation ................................................................................................................................. 22 2.2.2 Data Description & Sampling Frame ........................................................................................ 24 2.2.3 Analysis Plan ...................................................................................................................................... 25 2.2.4 Analysis Limitations........................................................................................................................ 30 Section 3. Findings and Implications .............................................................................. 32 3.1 Findings ........................................................................................................................................ 32 3.1.1 Overall Findings ................................................................................................................................ 32 3.1.2 Specific Findings – Sustainability .............................................................................................. 33 3.1.3 Specific Findings – Implementation ......................................................................................... 36 Section 4. Discussion ............................................................................................................ 41 4.1 Implications ................................................................................................................................ 41 4.1.1 Sustainability ..................................................................................................................................... 41 4.1.2 Implementation ................................................................................................................................ 42 4.1.3 Recommendations ........................................................................................................................... 46 4.2 Future Work ............................................................................................................................... 51 Section 5. Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 53 Section 6. References ............................................................................................................ 54  List of Figures Figure 1.  ImagineKimberley Relationship of ICSP to other Plans and Policies Figure 2.  Three graphic representations of sustainability Figure 3.  Williams Lake: Imagine Our Future Distinctive Arts and Culture Goal Statement Figure 4.  Excerpt from the City of Rossland Strategic Sustainability Plan: „Where are we now?‟ for the Land Management Focus Area Figure 5.  City of Victoria Sustainability Framework Quantitative Community Context Information Figure 6.  City of Rossland Strategic Sustainability Plan Strategy Prioritization Matrix Figure 7.  Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy Governance Network Figure 8.  MyPG Strategies Figure 9.  Excerpt from MyPG: Possible Actions to „Build broad cultural change over time‟ Figure 10.  Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy Community Participation Targets Figure 11.  ImagineKimberley Indicator Example: Business Licenses and Employees List of Tables Table 1.  Evaluation Protocol Sustainability Content Table 2.  Implementation Evaluation Protocol Table 3.  Study Sample of Local Government Sustainability Plans Table 4.  Protocol Category Breakdown Table 5.  Summary Plan Evaluation Results Table 6.  Detailed Sustainability Plan Evaluation Results Table 7.  Times Sustainability Criteria Coded Table 8.  Detailed Implementation Plan Evaluation Results Table 9.  Times Implementation Criteria Coded  6 Section 1. Introduction 1.1 Research Problem Since the Our Common Future, also commonly known as the Bruntland report, articulated „sustainable development‟ in 1987, governments in Canada and internationally have been working to integrate that concept, which is often used interchangeably with „sustainability‟, into their activities. In Canada, this has led to an increasing number of local government Sustainability Plans, designed to integrate local government activities across their spheres of influence, to improve sustainability outcomes. But are they achieving their promise? As this trend continues, it is important to evaluate the existing plans, to ensure that they are adequately setting up the local governments to move forward with successful implementation once the planning process is complete.  1.2 Purpose As anticipated by Berke and Godschalk, this project extends plan quality evaluation methods to sustainability plans (2009). To date, no plan evaluation study has measured local strategic sustainability plan quality. This research project will review the best practices identified in the literature and subsequently identify if these best practices are present in the sample, highlight new best practices and ways that the implementation provisions in the plans can improve. By focusing on the implementation provisions within sustainability documents this project will examine how the planning field is attempting to operationalize the concept of sustainability. This is important because the planning profession has had limited demonstrable success in implementation of comprehensive and strategic plans (Talen 1996b). This begs the question, are we adequately planning for implementation within our planning processes? 1.3 Context Our Common Future articulated the concept of sustainable development in 1987. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (1987, chapter 2  7 paragraph 1). Subsequently, the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio outlined the central role that local governments must play in moving towards sustainable development (UN 1992). Though popular, the concept of  „sustainable development‟ is not without its detractors who argue that „sustainable development‟ is an oxymoron (Redclift 2005). Thus increasingly, „sustainability‟ has replaced or is used interchangeably with sustainable development.  These international initiatives have precipitated an increasing number of local governments to engage in sustainability initiatives, including the creation of Sustainability Plans.   One of the earliest sustainability plans in Canada, the City of Hamilton‟s Vision 2020, was first adopted in 1992 (City of Hamilton 2012). The planning profession has continued to work to incorporate the concept of sustainability into its activities. Frameworks such as the Natural Step and Smart Growth provide structured approaches to sustainability planning. In addition, countries such as Holland and New Zealand have adopted legislation requiring local plans to integrate the concepts of sustainable development (Berke and Godschalk 2009).  More recently, in Canada, the sustainability planning trend has been magnified by support from the federal government, which established the $550 million dollar Green Municipal Fund (GMF) in 2001. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) administers the GMF, which provides funding to municipalities aimed at assisting them to set and surpass their sustainability goals. Specifically, the fund contributes money for municipal plans, studies and projects. Municipal plans funded through this initiative include sustainable community plans, neighbourhood plans, greenhouse gas reduction plans and brownfield action plans. This fund has proven very popular with municipal governments, so much so that the FCM stopped accepting new funding applications between February 2011 and December 2011 due to the volume of applications. Between the 2000/01 and 2009/10 fiscal years FCM funded a total of 151 Sustainable Community Planning projects, including green house gas emission reduction plans, neighbourhood development plans, integrated community sustainability plans and project specific plans, such as a composting feasibility study (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2012a). As  8 of December 1, 2011, the Fund no longer accepts applications to develop sustainability plans, however these plans are a prerequisite to access further funding (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2012b).  FCM defines sustainability plans as “a plan developed through public consultation that identifies a vision and includes environmental, social, and economic goals and targets for the community” (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2012c). According to FCM, a sustainability plan may also describe strategies for reaching its goals and targets, and integrate all areas of municipal concern. Energy use, neighbourhood and transportation planning, and waste and water management are given as examples. Notably, in order for local governments to qualify for funding under the GMF, the council had to pass a resolution committing to establishing a vision and targets.  Further encouraging local governments in British Columbia to engage in sustainability planning, in 2005 the federal and provincial governments, along with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) signed a gas tax agreement (GTA). The gas tax fund provides federal funding to local governments “to help them build and rehabilitate public infrastructure that achieves positive environmental outcomes” (Infrastructure Canada 2011). For local governments to access GTA funds they must undertake sustainability planning, either individually or through a regional strategy (Government of British Columbia 2007, p. 3). 1.3.1 Sustainability Plans vs. Official Community Plans It is important to note that the sustainability plans under review are distinct from an Official Community Plans (OCP) or Regional Growth Strategies (RGS), the standard comprehensive plan for a municipal and regional government, respectively. While similar to sustainability plans in that neither an OCP nor RGS is required of the local government, both have provincial legislative guidance for their contents in the Local Government Act. By contrast, the contents of a sustainability plan are potentially quite broad and can include many areas over which the local government has minimal control. Once the local government has decided to undertake the development of an OCP or RGS, it is expected that the council will adopt the plan (Ministry of Community, Sport and  9 Cultural Development 2012a; 2012b). However, there is no requirement that the local government council adopt the sustainability plan and often, as shown in Table 1, the plans remain in draft stage and are neither received nor adopted by the local council.  Studying sustainability plans, rather than OCPs represents a unique opportunity and is useful for key reasons. Firstly, an OCP is an example of a comprehensive plan, which has been well studied, both in the plan evaluation literature and using other methodologies. By contract, sustainability plans are a relatively new plan type with a broader focus, whose usefulness should be explored. Sustainability plans can be used to encourage broad strategic planning, improve citizen engagement and collaboration, and provide policy guidance. Sustainability plans are being developed by a number of local governments, thus a critical review of existing plans can potentially impact the quality and content of both plan documents in neighbouring municipalities and subsequent iterations of the plans within the sample. Secondly, many of the communities developing sustainability plans in BC are placing them at the top of their planning hierarchy (Figure 1). This makes the sustainability plan the guiding document for all local government activities and as such has a potentially broader impact on the community than the OCP. Figure 1. ImagineKimberley Relationship of ICSP to other Plans and Policies  10 Section 2. Detailed Project Description 2.1 Research Questions This project will address two sustainability questions: (1) What should be included in a local government sustainability plan?; and (2) What is included in existing local government sustainability plans? Identifying the substantive sustainability contents of the plans is necessary because successful implementation is only as important as what is supposed to be implemented.  Given the sustainability content, this project then aims to address four interrelated implementation-focused questions: (3) What strategic plan components positively contribute to the implementation prospects of the plan?; (4) What implementation provisions are common in sustainability plans?; (5) Do sustainability plans include the strategic plan components that contribute to implementation?; and (6) Are sustainability plans putting the local government in a good position for implementation?  The sustainability literature informs the contents of the sustainability evaluation protocol, which is used to answer the second question. The third question is addressed through a literature review that explores the plan quality and implementation scholarship. An implementation evaluation protocol informed by the literature review is applied to the study sample sustainability plans to answer questions four through six. 2.2 Literature Review 2.2.1 Plan Quality This section provides an overview of plan quality literature and the components required for a high quality plan. Plan quality literature aims to identify the essential components for a good plan. Early in the plan quality scholarship the key characteristics of plan quality were identified by Kaiser, Godschalk, and Chapin (1995) as a strong factual knowledge base, clearly articulated goals and relevant policies. These characteristics  11 form the basis of a variety of plan quality studies. Baer (1997) subsequently expands on these characteristics, providing sixty evaluation criteria in eight categories:  Adequacy of Context  “Rational Model” Considerations  Procedural Validity  Adequacy of Scope  Guidance for Implementation  Approach, Data and Methodology  Quality of Communication, and  Plan Format He argues that they can only be taken as a guide, which must be adapted to the specific context of the plans being evaluated (Baer 1997). More recently, Norton defined plan quality as “the plan‟s documentation of its own formulation and the rationales underlying the policy message” (2008, p. 437). A plan can be evaluated based both on its innate quality and its relevance, in both scope and context, which Berke and Godschalk respectively describe as internal and external plan quality (2009).  Plan quality has been assessed for a variety of plan types and topics. Nonetheless, there are a number of consistent findings.  Firstly, plan quality literature has long accepted the normative assumption that plans that require actions are better than those that simply suggest them (Berke and French 1994). Thus, plans that use mandatory language such as: will, must, require, etc. are scored more highly in an evaluation protocol than those that do not. Relatedly, plans developed in response to a specific mandate from a higher level of government, predominantly state/provincial or national, are consistently assessed as higher quality than non-mandated plans. Berke and Godschalk argue that this is “because mandates encourage local governments to develop better information bases, be more inclusive and incorporate a broader array of goals, and have stronger policies that are more likely to influence development outcomes” (2009, p. 233). In a review of plan quality studies, Berke and Godschalk demonstrate that components of plans focusing on facts, goals and policies consistently score poorly in plan evaluation studies, while implementation and monitoring score marginally better (2009). This is interesting because the former significantly influence the latter, making it questionable if the  12 implementation provisions in plans can be effective when poorly informed by facts, goals and policies.  Determining plan quality is challenging on a number of fronts. Firstly, technical quality limitations may be deliberate choices made by the plan authors for practical, legal or political reasons to support the plan‟s success and are difficult to identify by the evaluator (Baer 1997). Secondly, and most significantly, a high quality plan will not necessarily have significant effects in the real world (Talen 1996a). This reality is the basis for Hoch‟s critique of plan evaluation, where he argues “the regular act of monitoring achievement [of plan document quality] means remembering the earlier intention [to make a useful difference] as a framework for assessment” (2002, p. 56). If this is the case, then we should hold the implementation provisions of plans to a higher standard before deciding on plan quality. 2.2.2 Sustainability Despite the fact that this study is not directly focused on the question of what should be included in a sustainability plan, it is important to consider plan contents because the implementation of the plan is only important if its content successfully tackles the issue at hand. The question of the effectiveness of plans is especially pertinent when considering sustainability plans, which aim to tackle many of the wicked 1  problems facing both our local and global communities (Du Plessis, 2009). Therefore, this section provides a high level overview of potential sustainability content in a local government sustainability plan. Previous plan evaluation work has begun to consider the extent to which plans promote sustainability, concluding that communities are beginning to embrace the concept but that further work needs to be done to understand how it can be operationalized (Berke and Conroy 2000).  Sustainability and sustainable development are highly contested terms. Some authors have suggested that this lack of a coherent definition is a natural part of the sustainability agenda (Jacobs 1999). However, this makes it difficult to conclusively determine what  1  Wicked, i.e. difficult to define, unpredictable, and defying standard principles of science and rational decision-making (Du Plessis 2009, p. 31)  13 content should be included in a Sustainability Plan. The traditional definition of sustainable development, articulated by the Bruntland Report, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (1987, chapter 2 paragraph 1). The Bruntland Report also points out that “sustainable development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change …” (emphasis added) (1987, paragraph 30). Thus, when evaluating sustainability plans it is important to assess the efficacy with which they encourage continual process.  Whether represented by a three-legged stool, a Venn diagram or nested circles (see Figure 2), sustainability traditionally consists of three pillars: economy, environment and social (Conroy and Berke 2004). Recent discussions of sustainability often include a fourth sphere: governance, recognizing it as an essential component required to achieve sustainability (UN-Sustainable Development 2002). When considering what should be included in a local government sustainability plan, at a minimum each of these areas should be addressed. This is important because sustainability is often limited to issues of environmental sustainability, as with the New Zealand district plans used by Berke, Laurian et al (1999; 2004; 2006). However, as mentioned above, the guidance from higher levels of government in Canada suggests that sustainability plans should incorporate environmental, social, and economic goals, thus making it reasonable to anticipate that this sample will consider an inclusive concept of sustainability that goes beyond environmental sustainability.  In early work post-Bruntland, Brugmann highlights the importance of redefining local government decision-making criteria for sustainability with three criteria: Figure 2: Three graphic representations of sustainability: Three Legged Stool, Nested Circles and Venn diagram  14 (1) “Local development decisions are expected to balance the unique demands of sustaining local economic, community, and ecological systems. (2) “Both the local and global impacts of development are to be factored” (3) “The long-term sustainability of development choices must be balanced with today‟s imperative to equitably serve the local population” (Brugmann, 1996, p. 365). Thus, sustainability plans, as strategic documents, should incorporate these criteria.  In 2000, Berke and Conroy examined the efficacy with which sustainability focused community plans were promoting sustainable development compared to plans without a sustainability focus. Through a review of the sustainability literature, Berke and Conroy identify key characteristics of sustainability: reproduction, balance, linking the local to global and dynamic processes (2000). Using these characteristics they developed the following definition: “Sustainable development is a dynamic process in which communities anticipate and accommodate the needs of current and future generations in ways that reproduce and balance local social, economic, and ecological systems, and link local actions to global concerns” (Berke and Conroy 2000, p. 23). Based on this definition, they used six sustainability principles with which they evaluated the plans. These were: (1) harmony with nature, (2) livable built environment, (3) place-based economy, (4) equity, (5) polluter pays, and (6) responsible regionalism. They found that early sustainability plans did not successfully incorporate all sustainability principles, particularly the latter four (Berke and Conroy 2000). This finding supports the assertion made by many scholars that though the concept of sustainability has increasingly guided planning efforts, early sustainability discourse has largely been empty rhetoric without substantive results (Campbell 1996; Andrews 1997; Beatley and Manning 1998).  As stated above, the sample of existing sustainability plans in B.C. has largely resulted from the sustainability planning initiative supported by the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) and the Gas Tax agreement between the Canadian Federal and British Columbia Provincial governments. These initiatives have specified content suggestions. The Canadian Federation of Municipalities, which administers the GMF, suggested that sustainability plans, at a minimum, consider energy use, neighbourhood and  15 transportation planning, and waste and water management to receive funding (FCM 2010). However, local governments were not limited to these contents.  In Towards Sustainable Communities, Mark Roseland outlines a large number of areas that local governments can incorporate sustainable development practices into their activities (2005). The topics outlined include (Roseland 2005):  Green Space  Urban Agriculture  Urban Aquatic Systems  Water  Sewage  Waste Reduction  Materials Reuse, Recycling and Recovery  Composting  Energy Efficiency  Energy Supply  Energy Management  Air Quality  Climate Change  Ozone Layer Depletion  Transportation Planning  Land use and Patterns of Growth  Housing  Community Economic Development These serve as the basis for topics that could be included in a Sustainability Plan. It is particularly relevant to the local context as Roseland works out of the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and is therefore particularly familiar with the local government context of British Columbia.  However, this basic level of potential content focuses largely on the environmental pillar of sustainability. Literature exploring the social and economic pillars of sustainability reveals additional content that should be included in a sustainability plan. Like sustainability as a whole, defining social sustainability can also be a challenge. The City of Vancouver provides a definition: “Social sustainability deals with complex issues such as quality of life, health, equity, liveability, and social inclusion” (City of Vancouver 2005). The city identifies three components of social sustainability:  “(1) basic needs must be met before capacity can develop; (2) individual or human capacity or opportunity for learning and self-development; and (3) social or community capacity for the development of community organizations, networks that foster interaction” (City of  16 Vancouver 2005). The concept of sustainability recognizes that the economy must be accountable to the environment and society (Berke and Conroy 2000). Therefore, the economic criteria in the evaluation protocol either tie the economy to the natural environment or to how it assists the local population in meeting their needs.  While Berke and Conroy (2000) do not address the „dynamic process‟ of their sustainability definition in their evaluation, the evaluation protocol used in this study captures some of this concept with the governance criteria, which promotes continual process around sustainability and provides the resources for ongoing work. 2.2.3 Implementation Implementation: To carry out, accomplish, fulfil, produce, complete (Pressman and Wildavsky, 1973 xiii) Plan quality and implementation success are likely closely linked, as observed by Berke et al., who find that “increased plan quality leads to better communication and education and clearer policy guidance, which generate implementation actions closely linked to plan policies” (2006, p. 594). However, work that seriously considers whether and how plans adequately enabled subsequent implementation remains limited. This section provides an overview of the current literature on implementation and considers the plan components that can positively impact subsequent plan implementation.  Implementation has been studied in the public policy and administration fields for some time. Implementation by Pressman and Wildavsky (1973) is largely regarded as the beginning of implementation scholarship. They argue that “the separation of policy design from implementation is fatal” (Pressman and Wildavsky 1973, p. xvii) and outline the initial conditions that must exist for implementation to take place. These include: appropriate legislation, committed funds and agreements between stakeholders (Pressman and Wildavsky 1973). They acknowledge the complexity of implementation, where each element is dependent on the others and the elements do not often flow linearly from one to the other. They also point out that time changes the conditions under which implementation takes place, changing initial conditions, making implementers responsible for both initial conditions and the goals they are working towards (1973, p.  17 xv). In subsequent work Alexander identifies two further factors that challenge our understanding of implementation: (1) complexity of joint action; and (2) how we conceptualize the process that links ideas to action (1985). These observations are consistent with the continued limited scope and depth of implementation planning literature, which struggles to develop a theoretical framework that can account for these challenges (Talen 1996a; Berke et al 2006).  Identifying what successful implementation in planning looks like has, until recently, received minimal attention from scholars. However, theories explaining planning failures abound. The implementation of plans can fail for both internal and external reasons. For example, plans may not succeed because there are inherent flaws in the content or structure. A variety of external factors also have the potential to affect the effectiveness of plans, regardless of content, including: “(1) political complexities and lack of societal consensus; (2) uncertainty and lack of available knowledge (related to lack of data, for example); and (3) lack of support for planning in terms of level of funding and level of community support” (Talen 1997, p. 578). The intractable nature of these external factors has led to unease in the profession with respect to evaluating the implementation of plans.  It is tempting to conclude that evaluating plan implementation is unfair and setting the profession up for failure. However, avoiding “linear associations between plan and outcome on the basis of the uncertainty factor can be seen as evaluation avoidance” that lets planners and decision makers circumvent responsibility (Talen 1996a). Talen argues that “in light of the apparent failure of urban planning to achieve any significant progress toward ameliorating urban ills, planning researchers must ask to what extent such plans have been successfully implemented” (1996). However, this critique presupposes that those plans were written in a way that facilitates implementation.  Researchers must first consider whether plans are successfully written for implementation before decrying their inability to implement plans.  While plan quality studies do often include some criteria that highlight implementation and monitoring provisions, no study has considered plan quality specifically in terms of  18 implementation. Alexander and Faludi (1989) present evaluation criteria that propose to distinguish good planning from bad and importantly recognize the link between plans and outcomes but stop short of applying their criteria to actual documents. Baer (1997) identifies nine criteria for plan implementation: (1) Are implementation provisions appropriate in the plan?; (2) Are there priorities for implementation?; (3) Is the cost of implementation vs. nonimplementation considered?; (4) Is there a time span for plan implementation?; (5) Is there provision for scheduling and coordinating of implementation proposals?; (6) Can proposals accomplish their intended purpose if implemented?; (7) Is there a program or proposal for impact analysis?; (8) Is the agency or person responsible for implementation identified?; (9) Can the responsible agency realistically be expected to implement the plan? This is the most extensive list of implementation criteria in the literature.  In addition to the criteria outlined above, studies have shown that implementation success is fostered by a number of factors. Firstly, when implementation considerations are included as a focus of the planning process from the outset implementation success improves, compared to when implementation is an afterthought (Nutt 2007). This contention is supported by Berke and Godschalk‟s observation that “if issues are clearly articulated early in the plan document, then subsequent plan elements are more apt to squarely address issues deemed important by the community” (2009, p. 232).  Another key factor in implementation success is the presence of a champion or leader to guide the implementation process (Wheeland 2003; Curley and Gremillion 1983; Nutt 2007). In particular, a champion is key when implementation represents a fundamental change from the norm (Curley and Gremillion 1983), making an implementation  19 champion all the more important for a sustainability plan, whose implementation should represent a significant, if not radical leap from the status quo. This leadership should be complemented by a robust governance network or framework. The importance of an ongoing governance network was shown by Wheeland, who concludes that “an important outcome of a successful community-wide strategic planning initiative should be a governance network (civic infrastructure) that is consciously planned and permanent” (2003 p. 63). Through the governance network responsibility can be assigned for the implementation of particular strategies and actions, which further encourages implementation (Cherp, George and Kirkpatrick 2004). In Wheeland‟s review of implementation in Rock Hill, he notes that many of the initiatives that required action from only one partner organization are implemented much more readily than those that required coordination between various organizations (2003). Therefore, it is particularly important to assign responsibility for those actions that will be completed by a single organization, which when implemented, may provide additional implementation momentum to more complex actions.  Implementation is also encouraged when the stakeholders involved in the implementation were also involved in the planning process. These stakeholders have bought into the process and are familiar with the plan contents, and are thus able to jump to implementation actions quickly, compared to those not involved in the planning process (Nutt 2007; Conroy and Berke 2004). In management science, increased participation in the planning and subsequent implementation processes leads to shorter implementation times and high adoption of high quality plans (Nutt 2007).  In addition to key stakeholders, involving local community members is also critical to strategic plan implementation because it helps to “build consensus and secure the resources needed to implement the plan” (Wheeland 2003, p. 57). Engaging the public on a regular basis throughout the implementation process will further community knowledge and also encourage and support individual community members‟ actions (Conroy and Berke 2004).  Finally, “funding is a necessary but insufficient condition for effective implementation”  20 (Durlak and DuPre 2008, p. 336). Whether or not the plan will be implemented is in large part constrained by the availability of financial resources. In order to realistically plan for implementation, at a minimum there should be an understanding of potential costs of near-term actions during the planning process. In addition, because financial resources are a constraint on implementation, it is important for the plan to show an understanding of existing funding opportunities and constraints in order to realistically prepare for implementation. Further, the plan could also identify and include analysis of potential new funding sources. Finally, Wheeland (2003) argues that the strategic plan should be linked to standard budgeting processes of all implementation partner organizations for implementation to occur.  When considering which implementation provisions should be included in the plan document, we must appreciate that how we define successful implementation affects the plan‟s implementation requirements. Generally, planning success is considered in performance and/or conformance-based implementation terms. Conformance defines success based on the degree to which decisions precisely follow the plan contents. Performance alternatively defines success as decisions made that resolve the planning issues.  Conformance based evaluations of plan implementation have been developed and used by both Talen (1996) and Laurian et al (2004). The conformance view of planning implementation can be especially useful when evaluating the physical development of the built environment, the traditional core of urban planning activity. In After the Plans: Methods to Evaluate the Implementation Success of Plans, Talen develops a methodology to determine whether plan documents had an impact on the actual physical development of the community, specifically, in the siting of public facilities (1996a). Successful implementation in this context was defined as a similar spatial relationship existing between the consumers and the public facility, not necessarily the exact location, as was outlined in the plan (1996a). The results of this study were unable to conclusively establish the plan as an explanatory variable for current development patterns.   21 Alternatively, Laurian et al use a methodology that considers the degree to which development permits issued address policies specified in the plan (2004). The study considers both the depth and the breadth of implementation, where breadth is defined as the proportion of policies that are implemented at least once and depth is defined as the average proportion of policies that are implemented (2004). The results showed wide variation in the extent of implementation. Implementation breadth received higher scores than depth and no plan scored well on both criteria (2004). Laurian et al.‟s work is instructive in that it identifies the quality of the plan, the capacity and commitment of land developers and staff and leadership of planning agencies to implement plans, and the relationship between developers and planning agencies as key factors in plan implementation (Laurian et al. 2004). This study is part of a larger body of work by Berke, Laurian et al. in New Zealand, which is thus far the only academic work that attempts to directly tie plan quality to implementation success. In their work they attempt to answer the question “Does the quality of plans influence the actions taken on these issue” (2006, p. 582)? The plans considered in the study were local sustainability plans, mandated by New Zealand‟s Resource Management Act, akin to official community plans in British Columbia. The study used an adaptation of Baer‟s plan quality principles to assess quality. „Successful‟ implementation was considered in both conformance and performance terms. A sample of development permits was selected to determine the extent to which they implemented the stormwater policies set out in the plans. Using these definitions, the results of their analysis show that plan quality had a limited influence on implementation performance but an important impact on implementation conformance. This points to the relative importance of developing a high quality sustainability plan to begin with as performance and conformance success are more likely to converge with a high quality plan.  The current planning implementation literature that does exist, including the two examples above, largely focuses on the implementation of traditional land-based plans which, though important, ignore the increasing number of strategic plans that seek to influence a broader range of planning issues and do not necessarily include precise guidance for development (Booth et al. 2001; Beauregard and Colomina 2011).  22 Conformance-based criteria are less tenable when evaluating process-based planning activities or plans that aim to go beyond traditional planning activities, because of the assumptions made when using conformance-based approaches. These assumptions include: (1) the plan aims only to act as a guide for physical development (2) the plan should act as a model for development (3) the plan is specific enough to directly guide development (4) there is a direct connection between the plan and outcomes (Laurian et al. 2004). These assumptions do not follow for the plan sample in question, as sustainability plans in BC often go beyond traditional planning activities; and do not contain specific direction for physical development – which is addressed in BC by Official Community Plans. 2.2 Methods The project‟s purpose – to evaluate how effectively local governments sustainability plans in BC are setting up post-plan implementation – is achieved through a variety of methods.  Evaluating the implementation provisions of local government sustainability plans in British Columbia is completed using a content analysis research technique. Content analysis aims to provide an objective characterization of the substance of any communication and can be used to analyze spoken and written work (Norton 2008).  The sustainability plans are evaluated using a protocol developed with a reference to the academic literature on plan quality, implementation and sustainability prior to evaluation. The evaluation protocol is divided into two main components: implementation and sustainability. 2.2.1 Plan Evaluation Plan evaluation uses content analysis to understand and analyze the plan documents and aims to legitimize the work of the planning profession by providing an answer to the question „what constitutes a good plan?‟ It provides opportunities for the planning profession to learn from past plans and identify best practices to guide future efforts. This methodology has been applied by an increasing number of scholars and to a variety of plan types, including local land use/comprehensive development plans (Berke et al. 2006), climate change action plans (Tang et al. 2010) and uses a variety of lenses, including: sustainable development (Berke and Conroy 2000; Conroy and Berke 2004),  23 limiting development in hazardous areas (Dalton and Burby 1994), sprawl reduction (Brody et al. 2006) and ecosystem management principles (Brody and Burby 2003). In their 2009 meta-analysis of plan quality studies, Berke and Godschalk anticipated that plan quality would be extended to sustainability plans.  While plan evaluation has become increasingly popular there are a number of challenges involved in plan evaluation. Berke and Godschalk identify four challenges (2009, p. 227- 228): (1) Plans bring together a large number of issues and factors, making it difficult to establish cause and effect relationships (2) There is disagreement within the academic community about the purpose of plans (3) Plans are written for unique communities, making them hard to compare (4) There is a perception that plans are akin to works of art and defy rational analysis.  While plan evaluation methodology is becoming increasingly common, it is not without its critics. Norton in particular defined plan quality as “the plan‟s documentation of its own formulation and the rationales underlying the policy message” (2008, p. 437) and emphasizes the need for researchers to distinguish the plan‟s communicative content from its quality. He holds that much of the recent plan evaluation literature conflates the plan‟s policy focus with its quality. However, by developing and administering two separate evaluation protocols – on implementation and sustainability – this study hopes to avoid this pitfall.  Plans are evaluated using an evaluation protocol, which is developed based on a literature review and reflects the essential components the plan must contain. To ensure the research is useful, relevant and meaningful, the researcher must frame the analysis with larger policy goals of interest (Norton 2008).  When conducted by a single person, plan evaluation is potentially highly subjective and therefore not reliable however, these limitations are mitigated by double-coding the plans, i.e. having multiple individuals independently assess the plans. Using the evaluation protocol, plan documents are coded by two or more coders. An intercoder reliability score of 80% or above is generally considered acceptable (Berke and Conroy 2000).  24 2.2.2 Data Description & Sampling Frame The websites of all one hundred and sixty-two municipalities and twenty-nine regional districts in British Columbia were reviewed for sustainability documents. Each website was initially reviewed for a sustainability document. If this did not result in a plan, the website search engine was used, searching for „sustainability‟, „sustainability plan‟ and „sustainability strategy‟. If this proved unsuccessful, a Google search of the same terms with the local government‟s name was also conducted. This final step did sometimes yield results, as some sustainability planning processes had a website separate from that of the local government. This technique resulted in a collection of 21 municipal and five regional sustainability plans, outlined in Table 1, from throughout British Columbia. Table 1. Study Sample of British Columbia Local Government Sustainability Plans  Municipality  Sustainability Plan Status Year  Consultant GMF $ 1 Abbotsford Charter of Sustainability  Final N/A Unknown No 2 Bowen Island  Bowen Island 2020 Vision and Sustainability Framework Draft 2008 Holland Barrs Planning Group No 3 Esquimalt A Sustainable Development Strategy for Township of Esquimalt Draft 2007 Holland Barrs Planning Group No 4 Highlands Highlands Sustainability Task Force Final Report Final 2009 Unknown No 5 Kimberley ImagineKimberley: ICSP  2011 Whistler Centre for Sustainability Yes 6 Ladysmith Sustainability Framework Final 2009 HB Lanarc Consulting Yes 7 City of Langley Sustainability Framework Final 2010 Stantec Consulting Yes 8 Township of Langley Sustainability Charter Final 2008  No 9 Maple Ridge Sustainability Action Plan Final 2007 Sheltaire Group No 10 Nelson Path to 2040: Sustainability Strategy Final 2010 Stantec Consulting Maybe 11 City of North Vancouver 100 Year Sustainability Vision Final 2009 Design Centre for Sustainability No 12 Prince George My PG: an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan Final 2010 Unknown No 13 Qualicum Beach Qualicum Beach Sustainability Plan Draft 2010 Unknown No 14 Rossland Visions to Action: City of Rossland Sustainability Strategic Plan Final 2008  Sheltaire Group Yes 15 Sooke Sooke Sustainable Development Strategy Final 2008 HB Lanarc Consultants No 16 Sparwood Community Sustainability Plan Final 2009 AECOM No 17 Surrey Sustainability Charter Final 2008 Unknown No  25 18 Terrace Terrace 2040 Sustainability Strategy Final 2009 HB Lanarc Consultants Yes 19 Victoria Sustainability Framework Report Draft 2009 Sheltaire Group (now Stantec) No 20 Whistler  Whistler 2020: Moving toward a Sustainable Future Final 2007 Whistler Centre for Sustainability No 21 Williams Lake Imagine Our Future: ICSPlanning Framework  2010 Whistler Centre for Sustainability No Regional District Sustainability Plan Status Year Consultant GMF $ 22 Comox Valley  Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy Final 2010 HB Lanarc Consultants Yes 23 Metro Vancouver Metro Vancouver's Sustainability Framework Final 2008 Unknown No 24 Okanagan- Similkameen Strategy for a sustainable Similkameen Valley Final 2010 Glorioso, Moss & Associates No 25 Powell River  Sustainability Charter for the Powell River Region Final 2008 HB Lanarc & Alofii Consultants No 26 Sunshine Coast  Sustainable Community Policy Final 2003 Unknown No  2.2.3 Analysis Plan In general, the sustainability plans are strategic plans that focus on the fundamental sustainability dilemmas and choices facing the community. Therefore, the evaluation protocol is structured using a strategic planning guide, put out by the United Nations, which identifies four basic questions that a strategic plan should address. They are: (1) Where are we now?; (2) Where do we want to go?; (3) How are we going to get there?; (4) How do we know when we have arrived? (UN-Habitat 2005, p. 12). Each question defines a section of the protocol. A fifth section, „Structure‟, contains four protocol items that identify specific structural components of a plan document that do not readily fall into the other categories but are important for the plan to be a functional, easy-to-use document. The implementation protocol was administered by two coders to enable the assessment of the result‟s reliability. Table 2. Protocol Category Breakdown Evaluation Protocol Category Number of Criteria Structure 4 Implementation  64 Where are we now? 19 Where do we want to go?  6 How do we get there?  23 Have we arrived?  12 Sustainability 26  26 Environment 9 Society/Equity 8 Economy 5 Governance 4  Section three, „How are we going to get there?‟ directly addresses how well the plan sets up post-plan implementation. However, without the content identified in the other sections of the protocol, the content under „How are we going to get there?‟ is relatively meaningless (Berke and Godschalk 2009). A plan must explain what it aims to do before addressing how it aims to accomplish its goals. And, without a good understanding of the current context (where), the choices of what will be uninformed. Finally, without monitoring provisions it is not possible to know definitively if the plan has been implemented. Because implementation is interdependent with these other components of the plan, all need to be represented in the evaluation protocol. Table 3. Implementation Evaluation Protocol 2 Structure A The plan has a table of contents B The plan has a glossary of terms C The plan has an executive summary D The plan includes at least one graphic (e.g. maps, charts, diagrams) to reinforce the structure of the plan or a concept 1/3 Where have we been? 1A Plan has been received by Municipal Council/Regional Board 1B Plan has been adopted by Municipal Council/Regional Board 1C The Plan identifies that it qualifies as an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan A The plan identifies who was involved in the plan formulation B The plan identifies a plan champion/sponsor C The political/legal/jurisdictional context in which the plan exists is explained D The role/purpose of the sustainability plan explained E The plan intent is to guide actions F The plan intent is to act as a blueprint for action G The plan is the guiding document for all other local government plans H The plan describes plan development process I Preliminary drafts of the plan were provided for public feedback J The local public was consulted during the plan development process K The local business community was consulted during the plan development process L Neighboring local governments, the province and/or the Federal government were consulted during the plan development process M The local non-profit community was consulted during the plan development process N The plan outlines the current local fact based sustainability context qualitatively (community needs, assets, trends, opportunities and risks/challenges)  27 O The plan outlines the current, fact based local sustainability context quantitatively (community needs, assets, trends, opportunities and risks) P The plan outlines the current provincial, national and/or global sustainability context Q The plan includes a definition of sustainability 4 Where do we want to go? A The plan describes a vision for the community B The plan lists goals/objectives to move the community towards its vision C The plan identifies community priorities/values D The majority of goals/objectives are written in mandatory language E The plan uses community priorities/values as a decision frame F The plan identifies potential tensions/tradeoffs between sustainability priorities 5 How are we going to get there? A The plan has an implementation section B The plan discusses the importance of implementation early in the plan doc C The plan champion/sponsor signals commitment to plan implementation D The plan identifies a timeline E The plan identifies specific policy levers (tools, incentives, investments) F The plan has specific strategies/actions/initiatives G The plan includes strategies written in mandatory language I The plan includes actions/initiatives written in mandatory language J The plan actions are prioritized K The plan identifies 'low hanging fruit'/'quick win' actions L The plan includes a call to action for all members of the community M The plan includes cost estimates for near term actions/strategies/initiatives N The plan discusses funding opportunities and constraints O The plan identifies committed funding for implementation of near-term specific strategies/actions/initiatives P The plan commits the local government to aligning its internal operations with the sustainability plan contents Q The plan commits the local government to using sustainability as a frame for all decisions R The plan creates a governance network that facilitates cooperation between stakeholders in implementation S The plan assigns implementation responsibility of actions/initiatives T Stakeholders who have a role in plan implementation participated in the plan development process U The cost of implementation vs. non-implementation is considered V The ability of existing community infrastructure to implement the plan is described W The plan discusses how the public will be engaged throughout the implementation process 6 How will we know when we have arrived? A The plan outlines a monitoring/evaluation framework B The plan establishes indicators to measure each target C The plan establishes a baseline condition for each indicator D The plan establishes targets E The plan discusses how specific activities will are expected to result in specific targeted outcomes F The plan identifies short-term targets to reach a long-term timeline G The plan monitors for compliance  28 H The plan monitors for effect I The plan commits to a reporting mechanism J The plan commits to a timeline for reporting K The plan commits to a timeline for the reevaluation or update of the plan L The plan identifies the organization(s) responsible for monitoring specific indicators  The evaluation protocol consists of sixty-four implementation criteria and twenty-six sustainability criteria (see Table 2 for a summary and Tables 3 and 4 for the detailed criteria).  The evaluation protocol was developed through the literature review of plan quality, implementation and sustainability literature, which was presented above. Developing the evaluation protocol through a literature review addresses the measurement validity issues associated with content analysis techniques (Norton 2008). There are two types of measurement validity: (1) convergent, which asks if the measure actually characterizes the concept and; (2) discriminant, which asks if the measure accurately distinguishes between similar but different concepts (Norton 2008). Table 4. Sustainability Evaluation Protocol  The plan includes goals, objectives, actions to… 7 Environment A Improve energy supply and maintenance, minimize energy use, improve efficiency within the community B Improve Materials Management: Waste Management, Reuse, Recycling and Recovery. C Improve sewage processing and minimize sewage production. D Support and improve quantity or quality (ecosystem integrity) of natural environment in the community E Adapt/mitigate climate change impacts F Increase the sustainability of land use patterns and patterns of growth G Increase access and mobility through sustainable transportation planning. H Improve the built environment to create a sense of place I Improve water management and urban aquatic systems 8 Social A Increase equity/minimize the impact of poverty in the community B Increase food security, enable urban agriculture, support local food systems and improve accessibility of nutritious food C Increase the diversity and affordability of housing D Encourage sense of community and support community heritage E Support and value the diversity of the community, promote inclusivity F Support public health G Improve community safety/security H Provide and maintain public recreational, leisure and cultural facilities 9 Economy A Support local economic activities and community economic development B Encourage local skill development and educational opportunities C Encourage and maintain local jobs that provide sufficient income and meaningful work  29 D Encourage local green business development or green jobs E Maintain and encourage further diversity in the local economy 10 Governance A Encourage local participation in public events and/or local government B Work with neighboring governments and act responsibly towards the region, engaging in responsible regionalism, working with (not competing with) neighboring communities C  Practice leadership in sustainable practices D Ensure fiscal solvency of the local government  Assessment validity – the ability of the evaluation protocol to capture the meaning of an item in terms of the coders‟ use of the protocol – is the second validity issue that must be addressed when using content analysis techniques. A percent agreement score of eighty percent or greater is the threshold for the evaluation protocol to be considered consistent and accurate (Berke and Conroy 2000; Miles and Huberman 1994). In order to ensure the assessment validity of the evaluation results, two coders separately evaluated the plans using the evaluation protocol.  The protocol was pretested on six sustainability plans from other local governments in Canada. Coders compared results, resolved differences in interpretation and made changes to the protocol to support consistency.  The protocol was administered using Atlas.ti software. The plans score either a 0 or 1 on each criterion. Scoring a 1 indicates the presence of an item, while 0 indicates its absence. Using a 0 – 1 scoring method encourages agreement between the coders because it minimizes the number of different responses that the coders must choose from (Berke and Godschalk 2009). A higher score indicates a greater presence of desired characteristics. However, using this scoring technique assigns equal weight to each of the evaluation protocol items, which does not necessarily accurately report the quality of the plan. For example, a score of eight on the sustainability evaluation protocol could mean either that the plan scores on a few criteria from each category or that the plan scores exclusively on the environmental criteria. To avoid this problem and more accurately report the plans scores, total and category scores are reported as a percentage to account for the different number of criteria in each protocol category. Both an overall percent agreement score for the evaluation protocol and individual evaluation protocol criterion scores will be reported. The percent agreement scores are generated by dividing the number of agreements in coding by the total score (agreements and disagreements). Any  30 individual criterion with a percent agreement score below 70% will be dropped from the analysis. 2.2.4 Analysis Limitations There are a number of limitations to this analysis. Firstly, it must be acknowledged that plan evaluation is limited in that it only scores what is in the plan document. There are components of the planning process that may occur without being incorporated into the document and successful implementation obviously will not be reflected in the document. However, it is arguable that a high quality plan should reflect the essential components of a high quality process and include as many implementation provisions as possible. Relatedly, the plan evaluation is also limited in that it only scores what is in the evaluation protocol. The plans may include content that is not in the evaluation protocol and thus will not be reflected in the results. This is significant because the content most likely to be missed may be the most innovative ideas or practices, which have not had the opportunity or time to be reflected in the academic literature.  Secondly, developing sustainability plans is a relatively new activity for local governments in BC, as illustrated by their publication dates (Table 1). As such, the plans vary widely in length, content, plan development process, etc which makes comparisons both interesting and difficult. Finally, the evaluation protocol is quite long, which increases the difficulty with which it is administered because the coders struggle to remember all the different components of the protocol as they read through the plan documents. However, the need for usability must be counterbalanced with the need to be comprehensive. Additionally, because of the length of the evaluation protocol, only the principle researcher administered the sustainability protocol. This prevents an assessment of the reliability of the sustainability content results. However, when the same coders administered a similar evaluation protocol, the reliability scores for the substantive content of the plans was 93% (personal communication: Ruth Legg 2012) and therefore it is anticipated that the sustainability results would not be significantly different from those communicated below.   31 The overall percent agreement score between the two plan coders is 85%. However, three of the evaluation criteria, 5E Policy Levers, 5P Internal Operations and 5V Implementation Ability, were dropped due to a consistency rating below 70% across all the evaluated plans. When the evaluation criteria with a consistency rate of 70% or lower are removed, the overall evaluation consistency rate improves to 86%. As noted above, the sustainability criteria were coded by one plan coder and therefore are not included in the consistency calculation.  32 Section 3. Findings and Implications 3.1 Findings This section discusses the results of the application of the evaluation protocol to the 26 BC sustainability plans. The findings are analyzed using an overall plan score as well as a score for each section of the plan, for both the implementation and sustainability components of the evaluation protocol. This section concludes with an analysis of the results and a discussion of the implication of those results on the practice of planning in British Columbia and Canada. 3.1.1 Overall Findings Table 5 shows a wide variation in the plan evaluation results. Overall, for the sustainability evaluation protocol, plan scores ranged from 100% to 46% with a mean score of 76%. The plan scores ranged from 72% to 25% on the implementation evaluation protocol with a mean score of 41%. The variation in scores points to an inconsistency across sustainability plans in BC. It appears that sustainability plans in BC have relatively strong substantive sustainability content however, the implementation provisions and supporting plan contents, which promotes the implementation of that content, is lacking.  The average scores achieved by this sample of plans are not significantly higher than the findings of Berke and Godschalk‟s meta-analysis of plan quality studies (2009). The highest mean score in the Berke and Godschalk study was 44% for implementation criteria (2009), compared to the 55% high score for the „Where are we now?‟ and „Structure‟ categories in this study. However, in that study the results showed that the mean for implementation and monitoring were marginally better than the facts, goals and policies, which is opposite of the findings here. Table 5. Summary Plan Evaluation Results Evaluation Protocol Category Low Score High Score  Mean Score Standard Deviation Structure 0% 100% 55% 23% Implementation  25% 72% 41% 13%  33 Where are we now? 42% 79% 55% 16% Where do we want to go? 17% 83% 37% 15% How do we get there?  9% 61% 37% 17% Have we arrived?  0% 75% 22% 20% Sustainability 46% 100% 76% 16% Environment 33% 100% 84% 19% Society/Equity 38% 100% 79% 22% Economy 0% 100% 64% 30% Governance 0% 100% 66% 29% 3.1.2 Specific Findings – Sustainability Overall, the plans scored quite well on the sustainability criteria. Multiple plans scored 100% in all the sustainability categories. As illustrated in Table 6, the plans scored highest on the environmental sustainability content and lowest on the economic criteria. This is not surprising because the concept of sustainability has been long been associated with environmental sustainability in particular (Conroy and Berke 2000) and achieving true economic sustainability would require drastic changes to the economic status quo (Jackson 2009), which therefore makes it politically less palatable. This environmental strength is reinforced by the reality that local governments have fewer levers with which to address economic and social issues, as evidenced by the content of Towards Sustainable Communities (Roseland 2005).  In almost all cases, the plans addressed at least some of each section of the sustainability content, meaning that the breadth of sustainability plan content was good across the province. All of the sustainability criteria appear in at least 50% of the plans (Table 7). The top four criteria:  7D Increase quantity or quality of green space in the community, 8B Enable urban agriculture, support local food systems and improve accessibility of nutritious food, 8C Increase the diversity and affordability of housing and 8D Encourage sense of community and support community heritage, occur in twenty-three of the plans. The least common sustainability criterion, which occurs in only half of the plans, is: 7C Improve sewage processing and minimize sewage production and 10D Ensure fiscal solvency of the local government.  34 Table 5. Detailed Sustainability Plan Evaluation Results Environment Equity Economy Governance Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Bowen 100 Bowen 100 Bowen 100 Bowen 100 City of Langley 100 Esquimalt 100 Prince George 100 Maple Ridge 100 Comox Valley 100 Kimberley 100 Rossland 100 Metro Vancouver 100 Esquimalt 100 Prince George 100 Terrace 100 Rossland 100 Nelson 100 Sooke 100 Williams Lake 100 Sooke 100 Qualicum Beach 100 Surrey 100 Comox Valley 80 Surrey 100 Rossland 100 Whistler 100 Kimberley 80 Comox Valley 75 Surrey 100 Williams Lake 100 Nelson 80 Esquimalt 75 Terrace 100 Comox Valley 88 Powell River 80 Highlands 75 Victoria 100 Ladysmith 88 Sooke 80 Nelson 75 Highlands 89 Nelson 88 Surrey 80 Powell River 75 Kimberley 89 Rossland 88 Whistler 80 Prince George 75 Ladysmith 89 Terrace 88 City of Langley 60 Langley Township 75 Sooke 89 Victoria 88 Ladysmith 60 Williams Lake 75 Whistler 89 City of Langley 75 Maple Ridge 60 Kimberley 50 Metro Vancouver 78 Qualicum Beach 75 Qualicum Beach 60 Ladysmith 50 North Vancouver 78 Sparwood 75 Similkameen 60 Qualicum Beach 50 Prince George 78 Langley Township 75 Victoria 60 Similkameen 50 Sparwood 67 Highlands 50 Sparwood 40 Terrace 50 Langley Township 67 Maple Ridge 50 Esquimalt 20 Victoria 50 Maple Ridge 56 Metro Vancouver 50 Highlands 20 Whistler 50 Powell River 56 North Vancouver 50 North Vancouver 20 Sparwood 25 Similkameen 56 Powell River 38 Langley Township 20 City of Langley 0 Williams Lake 33 Similkameen 38 Metro Vancouver 0 North Vancouver 0 ____ Mean score  35 Table 7. Times Sustainability Criteria Coded Code Abbreviation # Of Plans w/ Item  7D Increase quantity or quality of green space in the community 23  8B Enable urban agriculture, support local food systems and improve accessibility of nutritious food 23  8C Increase the diversity and affordability of housing 23  8D Encourage sense of community and support community heritage 23  7A Improve energy supply and maintenance, minimize energy use, improve efficiency within the community 22  7I Improve water management and urban aquatic systems 22  7B Improve Waste Management, Reuse, Recycling and Recovery 21  7G Increase sustainable transportation planning 21  7E Adapt/mitigate climate change impacts 20  7F Increase the sustainability of land use patterns and patterns of growth 20  7H Improve built environment to reduce energy use, create sense of place etc. 20  8H Provide and maintain public recreational, leisure and cultural facilities 20  9A Support community economic development and local economic activities 19  10A Encourage local participation in public events and/or local government 19  8G Improve community safety/security 18  10B Work with neighboring governments and act responsibly towards the region, engaging in responsible regionalism, working with neighboring communities 18  8F Support public health 16  9D Encourage local green business development or green jobs 16  9E Maintain and encourage further diversity in the local economy 16  8A Increase equity/minimize the impact of poverty in the community 15  8E Support and value the diversity of the community 14  10C Practice leadership in sustainable practices 14  9B Encourage local skill development and educational opportunities 13  9C Encourage economic development that offers jobs with sufficient income and meaningful work 13  7C Improve sewage processing and minimize sewage production 12  10D Ensure fiscal solvency of the local government 12  36  3.1.3 Specific Findings – Implementation The implementation evaluation protocol results varied significantly across the sustainability plans. Table 8 shows the results for each sustainability plan in each of the implementation protocol categories. Only one plan scored 100% in any of the evaluation protocol categories – Sparwood in the Structure category. Of the strategic planning categories, the plans scored highest in the first category – „Where are we now?‟ and lowest in the third – „How do we get there?‟ In the „How do we get there?‟ category, 16 of 23 evaluation criteria were scored in less than half the plans. The variation in scores was greatest for the „Have we arrived?‟ category, where five plans scored a 0 and a further five scored on only one criteria. Just three plans scored above average in all categories – Rossland, Kimberley and Surrey.  Twelve of the evaluation criteria occurred in at least 80% of plans (Table 9). They are (abbreviated): 3H Plan development process; 2A Table of contents; 3D Role/purpose of the plan; 3J Public consulted; 3N Qualitative fact base; 4A Vision; 5E Policies levers; 2D Graphics; 3A Who was involved in the plan formulation; 3E Intent is to guide the actions; 4B Goals/objectives. The only criterion scored in all the plans reviewed was 3H: Plan Development Process. Conversely, twenty-seven criteria occurred in less than 25% of the plans and the criterion 5U:The cost of implementation vs. non-implementation is considered was not scored in any plan.   37 Table 8. Detailed Implementation Plan Evaluation Results Structure Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? Have we arrived? Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Jurisdiction % Sparwood 100 Prince George 89 Metro Vancouver 67 Comox Valley 61 Rossland 75 Highlands 75 Comox Valley 79 Rossland 67 Kimberley 61 Comox Valley 50 Kimberley 75 Rossland 79 Whistler 67 Rossland 61 Sparwood 50 Nelson 75 Sparwood 79 Kimberley 50 Prince George 57 Victoria 50 Rossland 75 Kimberley 74 Ladysmith 50 Surrey 57 Bowen 42 Similkameen 75 Powell River 74 Surrey 50 Williams Lake 57 Surrey 33 Surrey 75 North Vancouver 63 Bowen 33 Sparwood 52 Whistler 33 Terrace 75 Surrey 63 Comox Valley 33 Whistler 48 Kimberley 25 Victoria 75 Williams Lake 63 Esquimalt 33 Highlands 43 Maple Ridge 25 Whistler 75 City of Langley 58 Maple Ridge 33 Maple Ridge 43 North Vancouver 25 City of Langley 50 Bowen 53 Nelson 33 Similkameen 43 Langley, Township 25 Comox Valley 50 Ladysmith 47 North Vancouver 33 Terrace 43 Qualicum Beach 17 Ladysmith 50 Qualicum Beach 47 Powell River 33 Bowen 35 Terrace 17 Metro Vancouver 50 Similkameen 47 Prince George 33 Victoria 35 Williams Lake 17 North Vancouver 50 Terrace 47 Qualicum Beach 33 Esquimalt 30 Highlands 8 Powell River 50 Victoria 47 Similkameen 33 North Vancouver 26 Nelson 8 Prince George 50 Highlands 42 Sooke 33 Ladysmith 22 Powell River 8 Qualicum Beach 50 Metro Vancouver 42 Terrace 33 Sooke 22 Prince George 8 Williams Lake 50 Nelson 42 Langley, Township  33 Langley, Township  22 Similkameen 8 Bowen 25 Sooke 42 Victoria 33 City of Langley 17 City of Langley 0 Esquimalt 25 Whistler 42 City of Langley 17 Qualicum Beach 17 Esquimalt 0 Sooke 25 Esquimalt 37 Highlands 17 Metro Vancouver 13 Ladysmith 0 Langley, Township  25 Maple Ridge 37 Sparwood 17 Powell River 13 Metro Vancouver 0 Maple Ridge 0 Langley, Township  32 Williams Lake 17 Nelson 9 Sooke 0 ____ mean score  38 Table 9. Times Implementation Criteria Coded Code Abbreviation # Of Plans w/ Item Consistency  3H The plan describes plan development process  24 79%  2A The plan has a detailed table of contents 22 96%  3D The role/purpose of the sustainability plan explained 22 92%  3J The local public was consulted during the plan development process 21 88%  3N The plan outlines the current, fact-based, local sustainability context qualitatively 21 92%  4A The plan describes a vision for the community 21 92%  5E The plan identifies specific policies levers* 21 63%  2D plan includes at least one graphic to reinforce information in the plan text 20 88%  3A The plan identifies who was involved in the plan formulation  20 100%  3E The plan intent is to guide the actions 20 71%  4B The plan lists goals/objectives that will move the community towards its vision 20 79%  5F The plan has specific strategies/actions/initiatives 18 88%  3C The political/legal/jurisdictional context in which the plan exists is explained 17 71%  5D The plan identifies a timeline 17 83%  3P The plan outlines the current provincial, national and/or global sustainability context 15 92%  5A The plan has an implementation section 15 79%  3B The plan identifies a plan champion/sponsor  14 75%  3Q The plan includes a definition of sustainability 14 83%  5B The plan discusses the importance of implementation early in the plan doc (At or before the Goals section, table of contents does not count) 14 75%  5S The plan assigns implementation responsibility of actions/initiatives 14 75%  3O The plan outlines the current fact based local sustainability context quantitatively 12 92%  5L The plan includes a call to action for all members of the community 12 88%  5I The plan ties specific strategies/actions/initiatives to each of the goals/objectives 11 83%  5V The capacity of existing community infrastructure to implement the plan is described* 11 63%  6H The plan monitors for effect  11 88%  5J The plan actions are prioritized 10 83%  3K The local business community was consulted during the plan development process 9 92%  3M The local non-profit community was consulted during the plan development process 9 83%  5W The plan discusses how the public will be engaged throughout the implementation process 9 71%  39  6A The plan outlines a monitoring/evaluation framework 9 79%  5P The plan commits the local government to aligning its internal operations with the sustainability plan contents* 8 67%  5Q The plan commits the local government to using sustainability as a frame for all decisions 8 79%  6I The plan commits to a reporting mechanism  8 71%  3I Preliminary drafts of the plan were provided for public feedback 7 83%  3L Neighboring local governments, the province and/or the Federal government were consulted during the plan development process 7 88%  4C The plan identifies community priorities/values 7 88%  5T Stakeholders who have a role in plan implementation participated in the plan development process 7 75%  6B The plan establishes indicators to measure each target 7 96%  1C The Plan identifies that it qualifies as an ICSP 6 92%  2C The plan has an executive summary 6 96%  3G The plan is the guiding document for all other local government plans 6 75%  5R The plan creates a governance network that facilitates cooperation between stakeholders in implementation 6 75%  2B The plan has a glossary of terms 5 100%  5C The plan champion/sponsor signals commitment to plan implementation 5 83%  5K The plan identifies 'low hanging fruit'/'quick win' actions 5 88%  5N The plan discusses funding opportunities and constraints 5 83%  6E The plan discusses how specific activities will are expected to result in specific targeted outcomes 5 75%  6K The plan commits to a timeline for the reevaluation or update of the plan 5 83%  1B The plan has been adopted by Municipal Council/Regional Board 4 88%  5H The plan includes strategies written in mandatory language  4 88%  6CThe plan establishes a baseline condition for each target 4 83%  6J The plan commits to a timeline for reporting 4 83%  6L The plan identifies the organization(s) responsible for monitoring specific indicators 4 96%  3F The plan intent is to act as a blueprint for action 3 88%  4D The majority of goals/objectives are written in mandatory language 3 71%  6D The plan establishes targets for each goal/objective or action 3 92%  5G The plan includes actions and/or initiatives written in mandatory language 2 83%  6G The plan monitors for compliance 2 88%  1A The plan has been received by Municipal Council/Regional Board 1 100%  4E The plan uses community priorities/values as a decision frame 1 92%  4F The plan identifies potential tensions/tradeoffs between sustainability priorities 1 96%  5M The plan includes cost estimates for near term 1 96%  40 actions/strategies/initiatives  5O The plan identifies committed funding for implementation of near-term specific strategies/actions/initiatives 1 96%  6F The plan identifies short-term targets to reach a long-term timeline 1 100%  5U The cost of implementation vs. non-implementation is considered 0 100% * Removed from analysis due to consistency below 70%  41 Section 4. Discussion It has long been acknowledged that successful implementation is directly related to plan formulation (Palumbo and Calista 1990). Bemoaning the lack of successful implementation is putting the cart before the horse. It assumes that plans are written to be implemented without actually evaluating whether they provide the necessary structures and supports to facilitate said implementation. If the various reasons that plans are not implemented are known then these factors need to be addressed during the plan-making process. If these factors are ignored, then it is fair to anticipate further lacklustre implementation, which either accepts the notion that planning as process is sufficient (Talen 1997) or begs the question of why we write plans at all. 4.1 Implications To appreciate the implications of the results presented above, we return to the research questions: What is included in existing local government sustainability plans? What implementation provisions are common in sustainability plans? Are sustainability plans putting the local government in a good position for implementation? Do sustainability plans include the strategic components that contribute to implementation? The answers to the research questions are explored below. 4.1.1 Sustainability In their 2000 study examining the concept of sustainable development in comprehensive plans, Berke and Conroy found that few plans had branched out beyond the traditional subject matter. They found that early sustainability plans did not successfully incorporate all sustainability principles, particularly equity, place-based economy, regionalism or polluter pays (Berke and Conroy, 2000 29). Thus, the relatively high scores on the equity and governance criteria are encouraging and suggest that the contents of sustainability plans have improved. That eighteen sustainability plans were scored on 10B Work with neighboring governments and act responsibly towards the region, engaging in responsible regionalism is encouraging.   42 As noted in the literature review, sustainability is a process, not an end point. Unfortunately, it is clear that as a group the sustainability plans do not adequately promote ongoing process. This is evidenced by the fact that only five of the plans specified a timeline for the reevaluation or update of the plan while less than half contained clear guidance to engage the public in implementation and only a quarter outlined a governance network.  Because many of the sustainability plans score quite well on the sustainability section of the evaluation protocol, this reinforces the importance of implementation to actually realize the promise of these plans. Substantively, sustainability planning is improving, however the success of the plans is limited by how well they are implemented. If the implementation does not occur then the quality of the plan contents is a moot point. 4.1.2 Implementation Of the implementation evaluation protocol categories, the top-scoring category was „Where are we now?‟, which had the highest score, the highest low score and the highest average. Alternatively, „How do we get there?‟ had the lowest high score. Taken together, this suggests that the best practices of implementation planning in the sustainability plans are weaker than the best practices for the other plan components.  In general, the top-scoring criteria of the implementation protocol are unsurprising. They show that the majority of plans: identified the role of the plan, which was to guide decision-making; engaged in public consultation; described the local context qualitatively; have a vision and goals/objectives; and have a table of contents and graphics, which reinforce plan content. The high scoring „How do we get there?‟ criteria show that most of the sustainability plans have a good idea of how they can be implemented however, the low scoring criteria suggest that there is little commitment and/or ability to take real action. Particularly, all criteria items dealing with funding for plan implementation were scored in less than 25% of the plans. This is worrisome, as a lack of funding has been identified as a significant barrier to plan implementation (Durlak and DuPre 2008).   43 As stated in the literature review, plans developed in response to a specific mandate from a higher level of government are consistently assessed as higher quality than non- mandated plans. While these sustainability plans do not respond directly to a mandate, they were developed with encouragement from both the provincial and federal governments, who in some cases also provided financial assistance and require these plans for subsequent funding. Given the relatively similar quality of the sustainability plans, compared to previous plan quality studies (Berke and Godschalk 2009) this suggests that plan quality may be more correlated with funding, rather than mandates. And, if this is the case, then it is reasonable to speculate that the quality of subsequent implementation will likewise be correlated with funding.  Only seven of the plans specified that stakeholders involved in the planning process would likewise be engaged in the implementation process. The governance framework criterion was scored in only six of the plans, consistent with low public engagement score, which highlights that the majority of the plans do not include robust implementation frameworks. Fourteen of the plans have a plan champion, however only five of those champions signaled a commitment to implementation, which suggests that over two-thirds of the sustainability plans face even greater implementation barriers. Taken together, these results do not point to a promising future for the plans. One of the more promising results is the fourteen plans that assign implementation responsibility to a specific organization(s). However, given the lack of a governance network that facilitates cooperation between stakeholders in implementation in most of the plans, it seems likely that the majority of the plans assign implementation responsibility to the local government only. This is problematic given the breadth of sustainability content in the plans, which likely requires action on a variety of fronts, many of which the local government has minimal control over, therefore necessitating action by a variety of organizations for the plan to be successfully implemented  Interestingly, there is a significant difference between the number of times 3N: Qualitative Context and 3O: Quantitative Context were scored, 21 and 12 times respectively. Quantitative context information is indicative of a more robust fact-base,  44 which the planning literature argues is an important factor in plan quality (Norton 2008; Baer 1997; Cherp, George and Kirkpatrick 2004) and thus, plan implementation. The three plans that did not score on the qualitative context criterion also did not score on the quantitative context criterion.  The third category, „Where do we want to go?‟ had the largest number of plans score below the mean. A closer examination of the results for this section reveals that a large majority of plans included a vision and goals/objectives in the plan document but did a poor job outlining the communities‟ values and including an explanation or rationale for those choices. This is a limitation, in that the plans fail to serve as an institutional memory of the rationale behind the prioritization process, which makes its contents seem arbitrary and therefore more easily dismissed by future users of the plan. Additionally, a conversation regarding community values and the trade-offs between sustainability goals puts the focus on what is most important to the community and thus builds increased support for subsequent implementation. The plan quality literature argues that mandatory language is an important component of plan quality (Berke and French 1994). However, the evaluation of the sustainability plans shows that very few include mandatory language. Instead, the plans frequently phrased their goal statements as expressions in the present tense „we are‟ statements, rather than „we will‟ statements (Figure 3). This may be because the sustainability plans do not have legislative requirements for their contents and are not necessarily legal documents, which makes less definitive language appealing.  The fifth section of the implementation evaluation protocol „Have we arrived?‟ has both the lowest average and the largest number of plans that fall below the mean score. This means that even if the sustainability plans were implemented, in many cases it would be difficult to show definitively. Interestingly, 6D The plan establishes targets for each Distinctive Arts and Culture Goal Statement “Our diverse arts, cultures and heritages are recognized and celebrated as integral to our community‟s identity, attracting new residents and visitors to Williams Lake. The Distinctive Arts and Culture of Williams Lake represents the people who live in the Community.” (Williams Lake 2010, pg 10) Figure 3: Williams Lake: Imagine Our Future Distinctive Arts and Culture Goal Statement   45 goal/objective or action was only scored three times. This is significant because funding from the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) was contingent on the inclusion of targets (Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2010). Only one of the plans that included targets – Comox Valley – also was a recipient of GMF funding. In addition, although eleven plans specify an intent to monitor for the effect of the plan only seven identify any indicators they will monitor and still fewer – four – establish baseline conditions.  Twenty of the plans indicated that they were meant to act as a guide for future actions, while three also indicated that they meant to also serve as a blueprint for action. This means that if we evaluate their implementation, for the majority we should do so from a performance perspective and for three from both the performance and conformance perspective. However, despite the fact that only three of the plans identified their purpose as a blueprint for action, 18 plans identified specific strategies and actions. This implied that there is an assumption that the plan will act as a blue print for action or begs the question, why would the plan identify specific strategies and actions, if they were not meant to be carried out? If the former, then the plan should more clearly articulate its purpose, to minimize ambiguity and avoid confusion. If the latter, given the cognitive dissonance of the result, it seems reasonable to speculate that the purpose of the plan was specified thusly to minimize expectations and political liability, should the plan not be implemented. And, if they are meant to  “Estimated population at build-out is 18,700(5,200 permanent residents and 13,500 temporary residents and visitors) based on a permanent resident population of 3,725 (in 2005) and building caps of 2,000 and 400 equivalent units for Red Mountain Resort and Redstone Alpine Golf Resort, respectively.   It will take 20 to 30 years to reach full build-out, considering that it is the market that will ultimately determine the rate of development.   Land values have risen sharply in recent years, making it more challenging for first-time buyers and young families to enter the real estate market.   More than 80% of the 1,656 dwellings in Rossland are permanently occupied, single detached homes. The remaining portion of the housing stock is comprised of rented dwellings, which are mostly low-rise (less than five storey) apartment buildings.” (Rossland 2008, p. 12)  Figure 4. Excerpt from the City of Rossland Strategic Sustainability Plan: ‘Where are we now?’ for the Land Management Focus Area  46 be carried out then we should place higher standards on the implementation framework of these plans. 4.1.3 Recommendations Based on the results of this study, there is room for the sustainability plans to improve their implementation provisions. However, within the sample there does exist best practices that can serve as a model for the rest of the province. There are a number of key improvements that if included in the plan documents, will theoretically support the implementation of sustainability plans in BC.  1. Increase the quantitative fact base. Each sustainability plan should include quantitative factual information about the community. Beginning with a solid fact base enables well- informed, appropriate goals and strategies to be developed. A good example of this comes from the Rossland plan, which includes a „Where are we now?‟ section with both qualitative description and quantitative fact for each focus area (Figure 4). In addition, a „situation assessment‟ is provided for each goal statement that describes the current situation for each goal. The City of Victoria plan also provides a good example of quantitative context information, where graphic quantitative context information provides a snapshot of the current situation for each subtheme in the plan (Figure 5).  2. Outline how goals and strategies were prioritized. Figure 5. City of Victoria Sustainability Framework Quantitative Community Context Information  47 Outlining how goals and strategies are prioritized connects the community‟s priorities to the implementation actions. By establishing systematic prioritization procedures, the plan is less arbitrary and therefore maintains greater credibility. The Rossland plan provides a good example. They incorporated prioritization into their strategic planning process by conducting an Actions workshop where “participants brainstormed Strategic Actions for each of the End-state Goals and prioritized the Strategic Actions into an initial list of short, medium and long-term priorities” (Rossland 2008, p. 5). The actions were prioritized with consideration to eight criteria:  Direct Impact  Leverage, Influence on Others  Financial Capacity  Practicality  Timeliness or Consequences  Resiliency and Adaptability  Potential Exists for Champions  Public Expectations  Synergy. In addition, the plan outlines a method for ongoing reprioritization as conditions change and implementation proceeds (Figure 6).  3. Develop an implementation governance network before the plan is complete (thus enabling it to be recorded in the plan) that includes all the stakeholders responsible for the plan‟s implementation.  A robust governance network or framework, outlined in the plan, will assist in maintaining partnerships and coordinating implementation actions. Following this recommendation ideally involves identifying who, when and how local stakeholders will work together to implement the plan. Formalizing this in the plan will give legitimacy to the implementation groups and enable implementation work to beginning immediately following (or during) the planning process. The Comox Valley plan provides a good Figure 6. City of Rossland Strategic Sustainablity Plan Strategy Prioritization Matrix   48 example. It outlines a governance structure with two elements, a multi- government steering committee and a multi-stakeholder committee for each area of the plan, which will coordinate to implement the plan (Figure 7).  4. Identify the organization or position (mayor, director of planning, sustainability coordinator or sustainability committee, etc) that will champion implementation efforts. Champions facilitate action. Therefore, having a champion should encourage plan implementation and thus the plan should identify who will be championing the implementation process. As the sustainability planning process is lead by the local government, the champion would logically be an individual within the organization or the organization as a whole. Williams Lake provides a good example of this, where the Mayor and Councillors signed a sustainability declaration that committed them “to creating the conditions necessary for a sustainable future. By seeking innovative and flexible solutions to the challenges that confront us, by sharing our knowledge, and by coordinating our actions…” (Williams Lake 2010, p. 8).  5. Identify how the public will be engaged in implementation on an ongoing basis. Having a plan for ongoing public engagement is key to implementation success because it helps to maintain support for the project, which will enable public decision makers to commit the resources required for implementation, and encourages local citizens to act in accordance with the plan. The City of Prince George successfully identifies this as key to implementation and works to incorporate public participation in the implementation process. In particular, the plan identifies five strategic keys to success (Figure 8), each Figure 7. Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy Governance Network  49 with actions outlining how the public will be engaged. For example, the Prince George plan will “Build broad cultural change over time” (2010, p. 74) by “develop[ing] shared resources and information tools to streamline education and collaboration” (2010, p. 75). The plan outlines a number of actions to achieve this objective (Figure 9).  6. Develop and include implementation cost and potential and committed funding information, including analysis of potential new funding sources (this is not meant to suggest that the contents of the plan should be fully funded, as this ignores the nature of a strategic plan and the timeline over which it is implemented). This recommendation could be followed in a variety of ways. The plans could: a. Outline the order of magnitude of the cost for the implementation of each action or strategy (e.g. projects: under $10,000, between $10,000 and $50,000, between $50,000 and $100,000, over $100,000, over $1,000,000 etc). This approach acknowledges the difficulty and resource-intensive nature of attempting to accurately Figure 8. MyPG Strategies “Develop a centralized information and referral service office with media campaign, beginning with a pilot project  Start with a limited number of agencies (e.g. Youth Around Prince George, City, Library, BC Hydro) Develop two mechanisms, each aimed to attract complementary users  a face-to-face service centre, e.g. a community and social health centre downtown; a “one-stop-shop” sustainability facility  develop a web portal, building on the myPG website  provide educational material, tools, networking and liaison functions, success stories Disseminate information through both mechanisms  Inform the public on incentives, programs available to them  Inform service providers about resources, programs and plans to facilitate alignment and coordination among them Include features that would draw locals to visit regularly” (Prince George 2010, p. 75) Figure 9. Excerpt from MyPG: Possible Actions to ‘Build broad cultural change over time’  50 calculate the cost to implement each action or strategy in a sustainability plan – information that would become outdated quickly as the plan is implemented over the long-term. b. Show which actions or strategies could reasonably be funded out of normal operating budgets versus those that will require special funding. c. Identify which, if any, of the strategies or actions have immediate implementation funding in place. d. Provide analysis of potential new funding sources such as user fees, development cost levies, etc and a timeline showing when they could be brought on-line or identify one-off funding opportunities such as grants, if plan implementation requires funding beyond normal operating budgets. 7. Identify indicators with a baseline and target for each. Outlining what will be measured reinforces what is important. However, monitoring is very resource intensive exercise that is often not completed (UN-Habitat 1994). By identifying indicators in the plan and establishing a baseline from which a target can be established, the plan authors are forced to narrow their focus to the essential indicators with available information, which will hopefully increase the likelihood that subsequent monitoring will occur. While no plan successfully ties all three: Figure 11. ImagineKimberley Indicator Example: Business Licenses and Employees Figure 10. Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy Community Participation Targets  51 indicators, baselines and targets together in a single document, a number of plans have good examples of a component. For example, the Kimberley Sustainability Plan identifies thirty-one indicators (Figure 11) while Comox Valley identifies targets for each of its objectives (Figure 10). 8. Schedule the review and update of the plan. In order to be a high quality plan, the plan must be relevant to the community. As time passes, the community context will evolve and the plan‟s relevance will likely diminish. Thus, the plan should be updated regularly and the plan document should indicate when the update would occur. It must be acknowledged that these recommendations all require additional commitments of resources, particularly the time required to develop a quantitative fact base, determine funding requirements, coordinate actions between organizations and develop and monitor indicators. However, if implementation is an afterthought of the planning process then its likelihood decreases substantially (Nutt 2007) and the initial planning stages, where sustainability plans are of a higher quality are for naught. 4.2 Future Work In planning, “our understanding of plan implementation is unjustifiably weak” (Talen 1996a, p. 80). This study is a first step in addressing this weakness by examining the efficacy with which plans plan for implementation. However, this study is limited in that it focuses exclusively on the sustainability plan documents and does not examine actual implementation. This means we cannot definitively assess the success of plan implementation in this study. Ideally, this would be the next step in the research process. Potential future work should aim to answer the following questions: Do the implementation provisions in the sustainability plans influence the actual progress towards implementation? and What purpose are sustainability plans serving for local governments and their citizens in BC?  Berke and Godschalk argue that plan evaluation is difficult in part because of “differing academic views about the purpose of plans” (2009, pg. 227). Are they tools for  52 deliberation or concrete plans, to be followed strictly? Current implementation evaluations have treated plans as blueprints for action in their evaluations (Talen 1996a; Laurian et al. 2004). However, if they are tools for professional deliberation, which the majority of this study sample self-identify as, then the academic community must investigate whether plans have been used as such. This may require a different methodology from what has been applied before.  It is doubtful that current plan evaluation methods are well suited to this type of evaluation. The next step would be to talk to planners working in the communities with sustainability plans. Because “the planning process rarely follows the „rational‟ model of a sequential cycle of formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation” (Cherp, George and Kirkpatrick 2004, p. 915) it seems probably that the plan‟s initial impact could be identified shortly after the plan document is complete. This would enable some early analysis of plan implementation – despite the fact that the sample plans are all relatively new, which limits the extent to which traditional implementation analysis methods (Talen 1996a; Laurian et al. 2004) can be applied.  53 Section 5. Conclusion “The implementation of plans is conditioned by several aspects of planning practice: … [including] the inclusion in the plan of provisions for implementation and of management techniques to implement plan polices” (Laurian et al. 2004, p. 472). As we have seen, the 26 sustainability plans from BC are in general quite strong from a substantive sustainability standpoint. However, the degree to which they include provisions for implementation varies greatly and overall leaves room for significant improvement. In particular sustainability plans should (1) provide a strong contextual information about the community, with particular attention to improving the quantitative information; (2) include robust a governance network, lead by a champion, that assigns implementation responsibilities to a variety of community organizations and facilitates public engagement; (3) outline funding requirements for implementation; (4) include a defined monitoring framework; and (4) commit to a re-evaluation of the plan at regular intervals or in conjunction with monitoring. In developing these contents, the planning process will more effectively encourage subsequent implementation, thus enabling planners to reasonably critique implementation efforts.  54 Section 6. References Alexander, E., and A. Faludi. 1989. Planning and plan implementation: notes on evaluation criteria. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (16): 127- 140.  Andrews, R.N. 1997. National Environmental Policies: The United States. In M. Jaenicke and H.J. Weidner (Eds.) National environmental policies: A comparative study of capacity building. New York: Springer Verlag: 25-43.  Baer, W.C. 1997. General Plan Evaluation Criteria: An approach to making better plans. Journal of the American Planning Association 63 (3): 329-45.  Beatley, T., & Manning, K. 1998. The ecology of place: Planning for environment, economy and community. Washington, DC: Island Press.  Beauregard,R. and A Colomina. 2011. More than a master plan: Amman 2025. Cities. 28(1): 62-69.  Berke, P., and S. French. 1994. The Influence of State Planning Mandates on Local Plan Quality. Journal of Planning Education and Research (13): 237-250.  Berke P., J. Crawford, J. Dixon, and N. Ericksen. 1999. Do cooperative environmental planning mandates produce good plans? Empirical results from the New Zealand experience. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 26 (5): 643–664.  Berke, P., and M. Manta-Conroy. 2000. Are We Planning for Sustainable Development? An Evaluation of 30 Comprehensive Plans. Journal of the American Planning Association 66 (1): 21-33.  Berke, P., M. Backhurst, M. Day, N. Ericksen, L. Laurian, J. Crawford, and J. Dixon. 2006. What makes plan implementation successful? An evaluation of local plans and implementation practices in New Zealand. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design (33): 581-600.  Berke, P., and D. Godschalk. 2009. Searching for the Good Plan: A Meta-Analysis of Plan Quality Studies. Journal of Planning Literature (23): 227-240.  Booth, P., J. Poxon and R. Stephenson. 2001. The Implementation of Strategic Land Use Policy: Lessons from the Lyon. Conurbation Regional Studies, Taylor and Francis Journals. 35(5): 479-485.  Brody, S., D. Godschalk, and R. Burby. 2003. Mandating Citizen Participation in Plan Making: Six Strategic Planning Choices. Journal of the American Planning Association 69(3): 245-264.  55  Brody, S., V. Carrasco, and W. Highfield. 2006. Measuring the Adoption of Local Sprawl: Reduction Planning Policies in Florida. Journal of Planning Education and Research 25(3): 294-310.  Brugmann, J. 1996. Planning for Sustainability at the Local Government Level. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. (16): 363-379.  Campbell, S. 1996. Green cities, growing cities, just cities? Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development. Journal of the American Planning Association. (62): 296-312.  Cherp, A., C. George, and C. Kirkpatrick. 2004. A methodology for assessing national sustainable development strategies. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy (22):913-926.  City of Hamilton. 2012. Vision 2020. City of Hamilton - Planning & Economic Development. City of Hamilton. http://www.hamilton.ca/ProjectsInitiatives/V2020. Accessed: November 21, 2011.  City of Vancouver. 2005. Policy Report: Social Development. City of Vancouver. Vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20050524/documents/p1.pdf  Conroy, M. and P. Berke. 2004. What makes a good sustainable development plan? An analysis of factors that influence principles of sustainable development. Environment and Planning A (36): 1381–1396.  Curley, K. and L. Gremillion. 1983. The role of the champion in DSS implementation. Information and Management 6(4): 203-209.  Dalton, L. and Burby, R. 1994. Mandates, plans and planners: Building local commitment to development management. Journal of the American Planning Association (60): 444–461  Du Plessis, C. 2009. Urban Sustainability Science as a New Paradigm for Planning. Van den Dobbelsteen, Van Dorst and Vanlanning Timmeren (eds.) 2009. Smart Building in a Changing Climate. Amsterdam: Techne Press. pp. 31-46  Durlak, J. and E. DuPre. 2008. Implementation Matters: A Review of Research on the Influence of Implementation on Program Outcomes and the Factors Affecting Implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology (41):327–350.  Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2010 . What We Fund. Accessed: October 10, 2010. http://gmf.fcm.ca/Funding-Opportunities/What-we-fund.asp   56 Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2012a . Welcome to the Green Municipal Fund Approved Projects Database. Accessed: March 16, 2012. http://gmf.fcm.ca/Search/Search/Search.aspx?lang=e  Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2012b. Plans. Accessed: March 16, 2012. http://www.fcm.ca/home/programs/green-municipal-fund/what-we-fund/plans.htm  Federation of Canadian Municipalities. 2012c. What we fund. Accessed: March 16, 2012. http://gmf.fcm.ca/Funding-Opportunities/Funding-plans.asp  Government of British Columbia. 2007. Capacity Building and Integrated Community Sustainability Planning: A guide to fulfilling local government commitment to Capacity Building/ICS Planning projects under the Canada – British Columbia – UBCM Agreement on the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenue (Gas Tax Agreement).http://www.ubcm.ca/assets/Funding~Programs/GasTax/Resources/ics p-framework-guide- 200712.pdf#search=%22capacity%20building%20integrated%20community%20 Sustainability%20plans%22  Hoch, C. 2002. Evaluating Plans Pragmatically. Planning Theory. 1(1): 53-75.  Jacobs, M. 1999. Sustainable development as a contested concept in Dobson, A. ed Fairness and futurity. Essays on environmental sustainability and social justice Oxford University Press, Oxford 32  Kaiser, E., D. Godschalk, and F. Chapin. 1995. Urban Land Use Planning. 4th ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.  Laurian, L., M.Day, M. Backhurst, P. Berke, N. Ericksen, J. Dixon and S. Chapman. 2004. What drives plan implementation? Plans, planning agencies and developers. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 47(4): 555-577.  Legg, Ruth. 2012. Personal Email. Percent Agreement Results. March 1, 2012.  Miles, M., and Huberman, A.M. 1994. Qualitative data analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.  Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development. 2012a. Regional Growth Strategies. Government of British Columbia. http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/planning/growth_strategies.htm. Accessed: March 4, 2012.  Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development. 2012b. Official Community Plans. Government of British Columbia. http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/planning/official_community_plans.htm. Accessed: March 4, 2012.  57  Norton, R. 2008. Using content analysis to evaluate local master plans and zoning codes. Land Use Policy. 25: 432–454.  Nutt, P. 2007. Examining the link between plan evaluation and implementation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change (74):1252–1271.  Palumbo, D.J and D.J. Calista (Eds.) 1990. Implementation and the Policy Process: Opening up the black box. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT  Pressman, Jeffrey L., and Aaron Wildavsky. 1973. Implementation. University of California Press.  Redclift, Micheal. 2005. Sustainable development (1987–2005): an oxymoron comes of age. Sustainable Development Special Issue: Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development. 13(4):  212–227  Roseland, Mark. 2005. Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments. Revised Ed. New Society Publishers. Gabriola Island, BC.  Talen, Emily. 1996a. After the Plans: Methods to Evaluate the Implementation Success of Plans. Journal of Planning Education and Research. (16): 79.  Talen, Emily. 1996b. Do Plans Get Implemented? A Review of Evaluation in Planning. Journal of Planning Literature. (10): 248.  Talen, Emily. 1997. Success, failure, and conformance: an alternative approach to planning evaluation. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. (24) 573- 587.  Tang, Z., S. Brody, C. Quinn, L. Chang, and T.Wei. 2010. Moving from agenda to action: evaluating local climate change action plans. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 53 (1):41-62.  UN-Habitat. 2005. Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning- Volume 2: Manual. United Nations-Human Settlements Programme.  United Nations. 1987. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm Accessed: June 27, 2011.  United Nations. 1992. Conference on Environment and Development. Agenda 21. New York: United Nations.  UN Division for Sustainable Development. Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Johannesburg Summit. 2002.  58 http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/WSSD_POI_PD/English/WSSD_PlanI mpl.pdf  Wheeland, C. 2003. Implementing A Community-Wide Strategic Plan: Rock Hill's Empowering the Vision 10 Years Later. The American Review of Public Administration 33(1): 46-69.    

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.310.1-0102556/manifest

Comment

Related Items