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BC First Nations map out their future through Comprehensive Community Planning

(NC) First Nations in British Columbia are becoming increasingly involved in comprehensive community planning (CCP) as a way of embracing change and planning a better future for their communities.

Comprehensive community planning is a holistic process that enables a community to build a roadmap to sustainability, self-sufficiency and improved governance capacity. CCP enables the community to establish a vision for its future and implement projects to achieve this vision. It helps ensure that community projects and programs are thought through, make sense and are the best use of resources. A CCP also integrates and links all other plans the community has produced.

“Planning is an opportunity to empower our community and our people,” says Gwen Phillips from Ktunaxa Nation. “It strengthens our connection to our inner selves and to the outer world.”

CCP is a community-led approach to planning, where the process is driven and owned by all community members rather than by a small group or committee. Processes that are driven by the community, for the community, are more likely to result in positive change. That's why the CCP process is inclusive and represents the perspectives of all members including Elders, youth, and family representatives. Everyone can offer unique and valuable perspectives on community needs, values and priorities.

Each community requires a unique approach to planning that can be adapted to their culture and traditions — it can help individual First Nations make a positive difference in addressing the specific issues of their own communities.

“Comprehensive Community Planning is about using theories and principles from outside and incorporating our world view, to carry forward as our ancestors would have wanted,” says Lydia Hwitsum of the Cowichan Tribes.

A CCP addresses key planning areas, all of which are interrelated and interdependent: governance, land and resources, health, infrastructure development, culture, social issues and the economy. Consideration of all key planning areas through one unified process defines community planning as a holistic and integrated exercise that can lead to sustainable development. “A Comprehensive community Plan has to touch every part of us,” adds Gwen.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has been providing funding to support CCP for First Nations in BC since 2006.

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Attention editors: This article is for distribution in BC only

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