Planning for Regional Recovery

The changing climate has created a host of potential threats to the Metro Vancouver Region, including floods, fires, disease, and more; recognizing that any one of these events may cause damage to the very systems that the region depends upon for daily life inclusive of people and communities, infrastructure, economy and environment. The Metro Vancouver Region has created a holistic draft pre-disaster Regional Recovery Planning Framework with post-disaster recovery considerations in mind to help guide continuity of operations in the face of a major disaster. This draft regional recovery framework takes into account non-climate related scenarios such as a major earthquake. By focusing on a high-level approach to recovery planning, local government in the Metro Vancouver Region can evaluate potential impacts to built infrastructure, businesses and people. This all-of-society approach to pre-disaster recovery planning is still relatively new in Canada, but has been embraced by Australia, Japan and parts of the United States. The draft framework aims to build a more resilient future for the Metro Vancouver Region. The Integrated Partnership for Regional Emergency Management in the Metro Vancouver Region is a partnership between the Government of British Columbia and the Metro Vancouver Regional District on behalf of 21 municipalities, one Treaty First Nation and one electoral area, to lead and coordinate regional emergency management planning initiatives across the region.

Understanding and Assessing Impacts

This project was conceptualized as an all-of-society approach that sought to address a multitude of gaps identified within recovery planning for disasters with four main sectors in mind. The project incorporated several facilitated discussions through coordinated workshops with all levels of government, regional organizations, and non-government organizations within the Metro Vancouver Region. The project further includes input from academia to inform impacts through hazard scenarios resulting in a coordinated approach to regional recovery and informing the development of the draft Regional Recovery Framework. As lead for the project, the Integrated Partnership for Regional Emergency Management in the Metro Vancouver Region collaborated with a multitude of practitioners from emergency management, business, finance to academia. The Metro Vancouver Region is affected by both climate-related disasters (e.g. landslides from rainfall, windstorms, Sea Level rise, etc.) and non-climate related disasters (e.g. earthquakes).

Identifying Actions

In 2017, the Planning for Regional Recovery Project was initiated. As part of this project and to support the development of a draft pre-disaster Regional Recovery Framework with post-disaster recovery considerations, three workshops were held with emergency management practitioners, academics, non-government organizations and critical infrastructure partners. The project also sought to enhance understanding of disaster resilience concepts and principles among stakeholders and decision makers, as well as, identify the responsibility of critical partners and establish expectation about timelines for recovery.

Implementation

A holistic approach that increases resilience at every level is necessary to address and mitigate prolonged impacts of hazards events. Recognizing the scale, scope and consequences of potential disasters and the limited resources available, it was determined that the most productive course of action was to focus on establishing effective linkages and partnerships with various groups, from local government, businesses, non-government organizations and government agencies, so that a network of post-disaster recovery efforts could be effectively and efficiently coordinated in the wake of an event.

Outcomes and Monitoring Progress

The existing work has produced a draft pre-disaster Regional Recovery Framework, which could be used to inform other recovery plans and disaster risk initiatives. The Framework is further informed by the Joint Municipal Regional Disaster Debris Management Operational Plan for the Metro Vancouver region and members. These two initiatives highlight the vast number of interconnections that emergency management planning has with recovery and the need for collaborative efforts with a variety of subject matter experts when undertaking regional planning initiatives. Recovery is a major component following a debris generating emergency that will require cooperation between organizations.

Next Steps

The partnership continues its efforts to build and strengthen relationships between the Province, First Nations, local government and other stakeholder organizations, seeking to enhance regional disaster preparedness in the Metro Vancouver region. While the draft Regional Recovery Framework has not been fully developed, further completion and validation of the framework will be required to reflect the learnings from disasters since it was under development.