In developing it‟s recommendations to governments, the recently appointed, Southwestern Bay of Fundy Marine Advisory Committee (MAC), is mandated to utilize the previously constructed Communities Value Criteria matrix( CVC).
Further defining and implementing the Communities Value Criteria matrix was an action item of the Marine Resource Planning (MRP) process. This matrix/ decision support tool is briefly described in was Southwest New Brunswick Planning advisory‟s committee report the “Preferred Future of the Bay”. This decision support tool was derived from the committees consultations held from 2004 to 2010.
The community values criteria has been designed to provide proponents, users and decision makers, with criteria for using the marine space and resources within the defined planning area. The criteria have been developed to reflect the social, economic, cultural and ecological values recorded and endorsed by the communities who participated in the planning consultation process.
The criteria are intended to minimize subjectivity during discussions leading to recommendations by the Advisory Committee. Proponents may use the criteria to determine what information will be used to review their application before submitting their development proposal, leading to greater predictability and reducing conflicts in the planning area. (Preferred Future of the Bay)
During the initial phases of the MRP, the group conducted a public survey in 2006 which summarized an extensive list of the values, areas of concern and aspects to protect in the marine region from the survey respondents. The Committee felt that this document should be the foundation on which an advisory committee should focus their recommendations.
Since the list was so large, a technical subcommittee took on the task to try to consolidate the list, ending up with 4 Categories and 16 individual values, encompassing as many of the items reported in the document as possible. These were to be assessed as part of the committee discussions. As part of the development process, variations on this theme were evaluated including more or less values, adding weighted multipliers to perceived critical values and the addition of a scoring index. Later modifications in the mandate, to consider policy rather than actions an or individual projects, led to further changes in the questions of policy impacts on community values. After several trial versions and in- house testing this version was thought to represent the optimum for „BETA‟ testing by the Marine Advisory Committee (MAC). Critical components will require a comprehensive background information package( format to be developed and refined over time) of the policy, strategy, and or activity and appropriate homework by members to ensure considered and community inclusive value ratings.
It is hoped that use of the CVC will be utilized by both potential developers and policy and final decision makers. As a result they would all incorporate strategies to maximize community values in their plans.
The Community Values Criteria (CVC) is presented as a table in “The Preferred Future of the Bay” document as Appendix 7.1. It is also available in Excel format for use on a computer. Each column of the table represents one value of the community (CV). The rows below each value are:
There has been much debate on how this table should be used. Its main purpose is to keep discussion focused on the major values to the community rather than individual or special interest priorities. To meet this objective the table was developed to be used at different levels of involvement in the consensus building process as required by the MAC.
At its most basic level the process would work as follows:
Levels of adaption would include:
Note: This was intended to be a preliminary version of the CVC. It will need real life cases at the committee level to provide feedback as to its strengths and weaknesses. With this feedback the CVC can be adapted to the needs of the MAC.
Depending on the level of use of the CVC the results are to assist with MAC consensus building. If the MAC wanted to include the score in any recommendation they would have to establish the subjective pass/fail line for each case and rationalize that decision.
It is recommended that the MAC develop a few trial scenarios to test the CVC on before developing the appropriate protocols for its use. While adaption of the CVC will be necessary to optimize its use by the MAC, it is recommended that once protocols are established they remain consistent to ensure that all issues are dealt with equally.
Important note: Even though the CVC is identified in the terms of reference of the MAC as a key decision support tool, the committee should not feel limited or constrained to making its final recommendations based solely on the use of the CVC matrix.
The Southwest N.B. Bay of Fundy Marine Advisory Committee encourages and supports all input from members of the community relative to policies or other items from meeting agendas or issues considered to be of significant public concern. Click Here to send us your comments