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State of the Basin Report - 2016

The State of the Basin Report is the product of an interregional initiative to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework intended to track progress on matters which are important to the Okanagan Valley as a whole. Partners in this initiative include the Regional Districts of North Okanagan (RDNO), Central Okanagan (RDCO), and Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS).

Preparation of the State of the Basin Report was made possible with funding assistance provided by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The partners also acknowledge and appreciate the professional consulting services provided by EcoPlan International Inc. and assistance provided by the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program, the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program, the Interior Health Authority, and numerous other agencies and individuals who contributed their time and expertise to this project.

State of the Basin Report - 2016

Policy Areas:

  1. Urban Containment & Rural Protection
  2. Agriculture
  3. Water Stewardship
  4. Environment & Natural Lands
  5. Economic Development
  6. Transportation & Infrastructure
  7. Housing
  8. Climate Change & Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  9. Community Health and Wellbeing
  10. Governance & Shared Services

The 36 indicators represented in this report are supported by data from a variety of sources to identify trends, commonalities, and distinctions evident between the three Okanagan regional districts. The results reveal both successes and policy areas that may benefit from
additional attention.

As this is the first concerted effort to establish a uniform series of measures applicable across the three Okanagan regional districts, several indicators are populated with ‘baseline’ data representing a single point in time. Over time, as data for each indicator is gathered year to year, baselines will be replaced with comparable data and trends will be revealed.

The results presented in the State of the Basin Report should not be interpreted as a 'scorecard' of performance as each Regional District is impacted by a multitude of variables, many of which are beyond local government control. However the results are intended to help guide local government decision-makers as they consider priorities for further attention in their communities.

Conclusion

The State of the Basin Report is the outcome of a collaborative effort undertaken by the three Okanagan regional districts together with invaluable participation from various agencies, organizations, and individuals.

The framework of indicators established in this report represent policy areas generally consistent with the North, Central, and South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategies. The purpose of this initiative was to provide consistent measures by which the three Okanagan regional districts could evaluate their progress towards achieving the goals of their Regional Growth Strategies. As the results reveal both successes and challenges, the report will assist Okanagan local governments to identify policy areas requiring attention and to set priorities for action.

The results presented in the State of the Basin Report should not be interpreted as a ‘scorecard’ of performance. Each Okanagan regional district is impacted by a multitude of variables many of which are beyond local government control. In general, the Okanagan as a whole is doing well in aspects of agriculture, water stewardship, active transportation, and housing diversity, while challenges remain in areas such as economic development, housing affordability, community health and wellbeing and impacts on the natural environment and air quality.

As a tool to guide decision-making, this report has immediate value to local governments throughout the Okanagan Valley. However it is not intended to remain static and its value over the longer term can only be maintained if the indicator data is collected and reported on an ongoing basis for future iterations of this report. Consideration should be given to updating the State of the Basin Report in 2018 to incorporate the 2016 Census data once it has been fully released. Looking ahead, given the timing of the release of Canada Census statistics, consideration should be given to initiating the next comprehensive update of the State of the Basin Report in 2022-23 in order to access 2021 Census data.

As a key component of the project team, EcoPlan International Inc. provided consultant services which helped to guide process, define the indicators, gather data, and produce the graphics and final document. Funding assistance from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and the Okanagan Basin Water Board helped to make this project possible.

The State of the Basin Report should be shared with local governments, service agencies, community organizations, and the public for information and for consideration within future planning processes.