The district of North Vancouver’s landslide management strategy: role of public involvement for determining tolerable risk and increasing community resilience
This paper examines the public involvement processes contained within the Landslide Management Strategy for the District of North Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Following a fatal landslide in the Berkley neighborhood in 2005, the District of North Vancouver convened a community-based Natural Hazards task force to establish risk-tolerance criteria for natural hazards. This paper describes the community task force approach and evaluates it against four criteria for successful public involvement: representative participation; early involvement; information availability; and impact on policy. It is identified that the District could have incorporated a broader understanding of risk, allowing public perspectives to influence the initial framing of the risk issue before charging the Natural Hazards task force to arrive at quantitative risk-tolerance criteria. The District could also have sought to engage a somewhat more representative portion of the population to serve on the Natural Hazards task force, seeking to incorporate a broader set of public values and types of knowledge. Notwithstanding, the Natural Hazards task force successfully utilized social, legal, and scientific information for informed decision-making, and their recommended risk-tolerance criteria were enacted into policy by the District of North Vancouver as a result of the process. The paper also investigates the District’s ongoing public involvement and education efforts with respect to landslide risks, considering information accessibility and its usefulness for increasing individual capacity and community resilience. Overall, the District’s ongoing, dynamic approach to risk management promises to empower individuals and foster resilient communities in the aftermath of the tragic Berkley landslide.