Action Plan on Innovation, the Environment and the Economy

Working on the Pacific Coast Collaborative for a year was an amazing experience — in the sense that we were building a set of new relationships that crossed all sorts of boundaries.  We knew that the end-game needed to be actionable items in a format that the leaders could sign-off on and that the public services could implement.  That meant engaging not just the Premier’s office and the Governors’ offices — but the key players in all the jurisdictions.

Our first step as part of building the relationships was to visit each jurisdiction and canvas for ideas in response to the question:

If you had 4 Governors and a Premier in the room – what would you want them to do in terms of removing barriers, putting forth ideas and making our Pacific Coast region work better?

We asked this question of a whole range of stakeholders — government, business, ngo and academia and compiled the numerous responses into an “ideas” matrix.   It was out of this matrix that came the framework of the Actions Plans that the leaders signed off on last week.

This was a process of finding consensus — we weren’t about sorting out all the problems — but looked instead for what made sense to each jurisdiction building on what we shared.

The person key to the success of this process and its ongoing life is Bryant Fairley — from the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat in the Premiers Office.  We were fortunate to second Bryant from his role as Director of US Relations and put him in the drivers seat to pull all the jurisdictions together.  Bryant cut his teeth on international trade in the Agriculture Ministry (and its various forms) so he is masterful at working across borders.  Bryant warned me, quite rightly, to keep my expectations in check in terms of what we could accomplish in the way of “detail” in the Actions Plans.

I think we were all surprised and pleased at the level of agreement we actually found amongst the partners.  The Action Plan on Innovation, the Environment and the Economy can be found on the web site:  www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org

The Actions are organized under the following headings:  Renewable and Low Carbon Energy, Energy Conservation, and Transportation.

Some of my favourite are:

  • Harmonize definitions of low impact renewable resources, started with hydropower [MQ comment:  so many of this issues we heard up and down the coast were about “harmonization” of regulations, definitions and so on.  Let’s make sure we can plug our hybrids into the same plug in all jurisdictions]
  • Collaborative on a vision to establish “net-zero community energy” homes and buildings.
  • Share information on efficient standards in building codes.
  • Work with government agencies and private sector partners on further study into high-speed passenger rail from San Diego to Vancouver BC.  [MQ Comment:  HURRAH!]
  • Build a Pacific Green Highway through continued support for transformation of I5/Hwy99 corridor to establish infrastructure for alternative fuels
  • Collaborate on public fleet vehicle purchases to maximise purchase leverage.

To me — these are just examples of the myriad of collaborative action that this group can take.  The next steps are critical — and they are ones that are not just involving government.

In my last blog I mentioned Paul Irwin as holding the pen on the Vision 2030 Paper.  Paul was our “sector relations” lead which really meant that he and I worked to engage business, academia and NGOs in the possibilities that surround the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

We just began the process during the year of the Commission (July 08-June09) but many of these actions require the assistance of various stakeholder groups.  Now that the Action Plans are public, we look forward to further engagement with the various sectors.

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