The first day of Fall is a few days away!
With the scent of changing leaves in the air and changing permitting processes at the forefront of conversation this season, one thing has been brought to the top of my mind again…
As I discuss in nearly every post, BC is in dire need of new housing options. This, of course, requires new development—which requires municipal planners to debate trade-offs & priorities.
This is the case with the current conversation around trees… or more specifically, the preservation of trees.
As a lover of the outdoors and wildlife, I’m not cavalier about the environmental considerations of new developments.
In fact, much of my work as a consultant has revolved around navigating environmental regulations and ensuring that projects can move forward in ways that respect environmentally sensitive areas.
However, when faced with something as serious as a housing crisis—we have to step back and make sure we’re asking the right questions. For example:
➡️Which has more inherent value for the public good: retaining a tree at its current location, or an apartment complex that could provide housing?
➡️In cases where difficult decisions must be made, which values will lead you to your ultimate decision? Trees vs. Housing? Trees vs. Active Transportation? How can municipal processes be streamlined so that municipal staff can make those decisions quickly?
➡️When a project review is held up by the arborist report (or lack of availability of arborists), how can we leverage technology and other tools to provide answers and keep the project approval moving?
In planning for new developments, we all know that we have to resist the temptation to fall into old ways of thinking and not allow “analysis paralysis” to take over.
Instead, we must:
💡Take one logical step at a time
💡Practice discernment in complex conversations (stay open minded!)
💡Consider how to leverage technology and other tools to find answers
In our current situation, that might involve *more than ever* taking inventory of your specific priorities.
Easy? Hardly. But it is essential that we stay open-minded and make thoughtful, rational, and positively impactful decisions to actively address the housing crisis.
To having hard conversations & making a difference,
PS – One particularly cool bonus note on tree preservation. While it’s true that trees have been a bottleneck to permitting, players in the AI space are working on an innovative and exciting solution! This solution would allow AI to measure the diameter of trees and discern whether a tree needs to be protected according to bylaws. Just one of the intriguing ways municipalities are looking at using AI to streamline their permitting processes.
PPS – Interested in the conversation around AI and permitting? Don’t miss next week’s blog, where I’ll be sharing some exciting news…