Land Champion - Carol Newell

The REFBC’s Land Champion is honoured for outstanding work in sustainable land use in the province. Ms. Newell has strategically invested her wealth to conserve millions of hectares of land . On Cortes Island, she worked with the local community to make land available for housing, parks and trails, and conservation.

Ms. Newell's innovative approach to philanthropy and investment has provided BC residents with a lasting legacy through her work in conserving land of high ecological, cultural and recreational value. For that reason, we are proud to name her as the 2013 Land Champion. See Video.

Private Sector Finalists

Winner: Net Positive Housing Project – Lanefab Design/Build

Laneway housing presents an alternative to suburban expansion and development by creating small scale high performance houses built on laneways and behind existing homes. Following a City of Vancouver bylaw change in 2009, LaneFab developed both the city’s first laneway house and its first solar powered laneway house. LaneFab continues to work to advance green building practices in the sector. See Video.

Tinhorn Creek Compost Program – Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
As Canada’s only carbon neutral winery, Tinhorn Creek identified a need to sustainably manage waste from their Miradoro Resturant when it opened three years ago. The approach took into consideration neighboring properties and wildlife as well as methods to divert waste from landfill. The result is a program that combines food, grape/filtration and landscape waste as compost that is then used on the vineyards; it serves as a model for wineries all over the world. See Video.

Non-profit Sector Finalists

Winner: Recycled Shipping Container Housing Project – Atira Women’s Resource Society

Atira Women’s Resource Society recycled shipping containers to build 12 self-contained studio suites on a small lot in downtown Vancouver. An environmentally sensitive solution to the need for affordable housing, the use of repurposed shipping containers also reduces construction costs and timelines. See Video.

Kin Park Youth Urban Farm – Cowichan Green Community Society
Cowichan Green Community Society transformed underutilized green space at North Cowichan Kinsmen Park into the region’s first ever youth led urban farm. The farm has transformed a public space into a social enterprise that increases access to local food and engages and educates the community in sustainable food production. See Video.

Shifting Growth – Shifting Growth Garden Society
Shifting Growth works with landowners, developers and neighbourhood residents to transform vacant urban land into temporary community gardens. The projects work to address the issue of underutilized land and brownfields and the growing demand for community gardens and greenspace. Shifting Growth now manages over $21 million worth of vacant land and community engagement ensures that the gardens are at full capacity when they open. See Video.

Public Sector Finalists

Winner: Solar Colwood – City of Colwood

Solar Colwood aimed to demonstrate whole community change in reducing energy consumption and costs, and creating clean energy solutions. The project, working with 14 partner organizations, includes, for example, home energy retrofits, electric vehicle charging stations, and public education programs. This model is influencing other municipalities that are seeking to reduce energy costs and invest in renewable resources. See Video.

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund – Regional District of East Kootenay
In 2008, residents in the regional district and local municipalities voted to create the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund. The newly created bylaw requires property owners to pay a parcel tax each year towards a dedicated fund for conservation projects in the area. This provides a sustainable funding model for projects, which can be replicated in other regions. See Video.

Frequent Transit Development Areas Initiative – Metro Vancouver
Through the regional growth strategy, Metro Vancouver developed the concept of Frequent Transit Development Areas, that is, areas that support higher density, mixed use development. Municipalities are working with Metro Vancouver to identify these areas in their own plans in order to coordinate transit improvements with overall community development. This will allow more people to live close to employment and services, reducing transportation costs and carbon emissions. See Video.