At Metro Vancouver we make decisions that impact the 2.5 million residents that live in our region. Metro Vancouver regularly consults with municipalities, businesses, stakeholders, and the general public when initiating major facility or planning processes, capital projects for water, solid waste and sewerage and drainage, and other projects including regional parks and housing.
Public involvement, also called public participation, community engagement or public engagement, can take many forms, from online surveys to open houses to Public Advisory Committees. By participating in our engagement opportunities, you can help us make better decisions on projects or plans that affect you and your neighbours. Your input can maximize the benefits of a project, minimize the impacts, and provide new ideas or initiatives for your community.
The format of our engagement depends on the nature of the project and the level of decision-making needed. For example, a small project with minimal public impact may only need a notification of work via a letter or notice to your home, or an advertisement in the local newspaper (say, a temporary traffic detour). While a larger, longer-term project with significant impacts and duration in a community may call for ongoing public meetings and working groups (like designing and building a new water treatment plant). Below, a spectrum of public participation* demonstrates how Metro Vancouver communicates and consults based on the needs and goals of a project.
A spectrum of public participation
*This spectrum is adapted from the International Association of Public Participation
(IAP2), which seeks "to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that affect the public interest in nations throughout the world".
While public involvement engages residents and other stakeholders to minimize impacts and develop better projects, it can often go further than that. Other outcomes that have come from talking with the public include a desire for community enhancements or interpretive features that allow residents to explore and learn about a service.
Additional benefits of public involvement include strengthening relationships, informed dialogue, sharing information on the interconnectivity of our systems, the resiliency of our major utilities, educating on water conservation and source control to protect the environment, and providing education to K-12 students and teachers
and beyond through our many public events, tours and programs