Beringia’s Project History

Since 1998, Beringia Community Planning has completed over 50 projects with First Nation communities, groups and related agencies across the country. Most of our relationships have been with First Nations but Beringia has also worked for with municipalities, territorial, provincial and federal government, non-governmental organizations and small businesses. The scope of our work has spanned from tiny remote communities to entire regions or major urban centres. Much of our policy and training work is National in scope, and Beringia has also worked beyond our borders in Mexico and Vietnam.

The nature of topics addressed by past projects have ranged from:

  • Comprehensive community planning
  • Land use
  • Community economic development
  • Housing
  • Sustainability
  • Cultural and governance
  • Capital and infrastructure planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Health and healing
  • Safety and justice

Beringia’s  team has delivered over 200 workshops on a diversity of topics including: youth engagement in planning, community engagement, participatory planning and cross cultural planning. In addition, Beringia’s principal planner Jeff Cook has published 4 publications on First Nations planning and has diverse volunteer experience at home and abroad.

Below are several sample projects that illustrate the depth of experience. Contact Jeff Cook for more information on any of these projects.

Comprehensive Community Planning

Skowkale First Nation: Phase 1 CCP Process (2014)

Who: Skowkale First Nation (SFN)
Where: Chilliwack, BC
Scope: Urban Reserve
Focus: Comprehensive Community Plan

As part of SFN’s CCP process, Beringia Community Planning helped support the Phase 1 community engagement process. Beringia helped facilitate the training of a Youth planning team tasked with planning and facilitating a CCP Community Open House and designed community engagement activities and tools.

Gwa-Yas-Dums Village: From Crisis to Hope (Hith-Alsi-Lax-Gwa-Yas-Dums) (2008)

Award Winning: Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence (2007)

Who: Kwick’wasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation (KHFN)
Where: Guilford Island, BC
Scope: Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Comprehensive Community Plan

The KHFN in collaboration with EcoPlan and Beringia completed a two phased comprehensive community plan (CCP) based on collaborative, community-driven planning. Phase one targeted the physical dimensions of the community and established integrated and sustainable short-, medium- and long-term plans for four key areas: site planning, housing, energy and solid waste, water/sewer. Phase two explored the community’s culture and history, health and wellness, governance, and lands and resources. Planning methods included socio-economic research and community profiling, community surveys, research, boat tours, coffee table chats, house visits and a design charette. This process showed innovation by adopting a learning-based partnership approach and by incorporating traditional, ecological and local knowledge.

Community Health

Working It Out Together. Pikangikum First Nation’s Community Health Needs Assessment (2013)

Award Winning: Canadian Institute of Planners Awards for Planning Excellence (2014)

pikangikumWho: Pikangikum Health Authority
Where: Pikangikum, Ontario
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Health and wellness

Pikangikum First Nation (PFN) is undertaking an unprecedented process of coming together to strengthen community health through a two-phased planning initiative:  a Community Health Needs Planning Assessment (CHNPA) and a Comprehensive Community Health Plan (CCHP). The phase one result is an innovative and comprehensive CHNPA, entitled “Working It Out Together”, which sets a new standard and fresh approach to Aboriginal community-based health planning based on capacity building, learning by doing, widespread participation, and empowerment as a path to community health and healing.

Can You Hear the Drum Beat? Our 10 Year Vision for Health and Wellness (2010)

can you hear the heart beatAward Winning: Canadian Institute of Planners Awards for Planning Excellence (2011)

Who: Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society
Where: Watson Lake, Kaska Region,  Yukon
Scope: Northern, rural region with 5 Kaska Nations
Focus: Health and wellness
Can You Hear the Drum Beat

The Liard First Nation (LFN) under the project leadership of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society (LAWS) launched a regional community-based process to design a culturally-relevant, local healing system delivered by the local communities to address critical health issues. Five communities of the Kaska Nation and the citizens and Municipality of Watson Lake, Yukon collaborated to address social sustainability from a comprehensive, holistic and interdisciplinary approach. Beringia Community Planning was hired to assist with planning facilitation, training, research, analysis and documentation. The process demonstrated innovation in participation and empowerment of local people through their active role in the plan’s initiation, research, design, decision analysis and implementation with a particular emphasis on capacity building and youth engagement. The final products included a number of highly visual tools including a long and short version of the final strategy, appendix binder and resource CD.

Community Planning – Physical Development Plans

Taku River Tlingit First Nation 5 Year Physical Development Plan (2013)

salmonWho: Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN)
Where: Wenah (Townsite) and tiyatì x` à Jighe (Five Mile) Reserves, Atlin, BC
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Physical Development Plan

The TRTFN initiated a community planning process in October 2012 to review and update their 2004 five-year physical development and capital plan for the Wenah (Townsite) and tiyatì x` à Jighe (Five Mile) Reserves. This process expanded on the experiences and tools developed during the 2004 planning process (also facilitated by Beringia Community Planning). The TRTFN process brings an innovative community-based, participatory, and culturally-relevant approach to physical development planning.

Teaching, Mentorship & Training

Nisichawanis logoyasihk Cree Nation- Land Use Planning Workshop (2014)

Who: Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation
Where: Nelson House, Manitoba
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Land Use Planning

Beringia Community Planning developed and delivered a two-day training workshop in the community on Land Use Planning. The training adopted an experiential learning and empowerment approach to learning which helped kick-start Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation’s Land Use Planning process.

Waskaganish First Nation – Getting Ready: Preparing for our Comprehensive Community Plan (2012)

Who: Waskaganish First Nation
Where: Waskaganish, Q.C.
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Comprehensive Community Plan

Beringia Community Planning developed and delivered a three day training workshop in the community on Comprehensive Community Planning. The workshop also laid a strong foundation for Waskaganish First Nation’s CCP by identifying steps to prepare for and support the development of their CCP process.

Gaining Momentum: Sharing 96 Practices of First Nations Comprehensive Community Planning (2009)

ccpimageWho: New Relationship Trust
Where: North Vancouver, BC
Scope: National
Focus: CCP Best Practices Research
Gaining Momentum Web Link

This timely research documents a comprehensive list of best practices in First Nations Comprehensive Community Planning. This practical, practitioner-based planning guide fills an enormous gap in First Nations planning education which was identified in consultation with First Nations. The results of this best practices research respects a long tradition of planning practice by documenting process, procedural and substantive knowledge in ways that can empower communities to increase their self-governing planning capacity. This document identifies, collects and validates a comprehensive list of First Nations best practices, and related methods, tools, templates and examples. The research included a comprehensive methodology which used a diversity of methods to include a diverse set of practitioners and communities engaged in a variety of CCP experiences from across Canada. The final report was released in a long (120 pages) and short (70 pages) format and is currently being promoted throughout Canada.

“Breaking New Trail: CCP as a Tool for Youth Self-Reliance.” (2009)

Who: Indian Affairs & Northern Affairs Canada, B.C. Region
Where: British Columbia
Scope: Regional
Focus: CCP Training

A summary report and workshop model for engaging and empowering Youth with comprehensive community planning (CCP). This report was the result of a participatory research exercise with Aboriginal Youth in B.C. and presents recommendations and a youth engagement and capacity-building model.

“Comprehensive Community Planning: ‘How To’ Workshop and Participant Report.” (2007)

Who: Indian Affairs & Northern Affairs Canada, Yukon Region
Where: Whitehorse, Yukon
Scope: Regional
Focus: CCP Training

Jeff Cook developed and facilitated a three day participatory CCP training workshop for INAC – Yukon Region and community members from 14 First Nations.

Safety Protocols

Yukon Women’s Transition House Society and RCMP Safety Protocol (2014)

Who: Yukon Women’s Transition House Society
Where: Whitehorse, Yukon
Scope: Urban Centre
Focus: Safety and justice

Beringia Community Planning was invited to facilitate a collaboration Protocol between the Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society (YWTHS) (as coordinator of 7 Whitehorse Women’s groups) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Whitehorse Detachment. This protocol formalizes both the RCMP’s and the Whitehorse Women’s groups intent to work together to improve the safety of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Whitehorse.

Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society and RCMP Safety Protocol (2013)

Who: Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society
Where: Watson Lake, Yukon
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Safety and Justice

Beringia Community Planning was invited to assist in the facilitation of a collaboration Protocol between the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Safety Protocol reflects a mutual desire by the RCMP in Watson Lake, and the Kaska Women of Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society (LAWS) to address violence against Kaska women.


Taku River Tlingit First Nation – Reconciliation Project (2012)

Who: Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN)
Where: Atlin, Vancouver, Kelowna, Prince George, BC; Whitehorse, Yukon
Scope: Northern Rural First Nations Community
Focus: Community relationships and governance

Building on past planning collaborations in which Beringia facilitated a five year capital plan and participation model, Beringia is supporting the Taku River Tlingit First Nation’s effort to collectively explore the concept of reconciliation and governance. This unique project will involve a number of phases, including a broad community engagement strategy in which the TRTFN citizenship will explore what the term reconciliation means to them.

City of Campbell River – Sustainable Official Community Plan and Governance Project (2011)

Award Winning: Union of BC Municipalities Excellent Awards for the Category of Civic Engagement (2011)

Who: City of Campbell River
Where: Campbell River, BC
Scope: Urban Centre
Focus: Collaborative Governance

As a First Nations planning advisor to the City of Campbell River, Beringia is completed a review of its Sustainable Official Community Plan (SOCP), including facilitating a Governance and Partnership Strategy with three local First Nations and the City of Campbell River.  This exciting process brings together five governments to build new relationships and ways of working together.

Conference Design, Facilitation and Public Speaking

“Local Communities: Building Knowledge & Capacity to Do Comprehensive Community Planning.” (2006)

Who: Environment Directorate, Indian Affairs & Northern Affairs Canada; Yukon First Nations
Where: Whitehorse, Yukon
Scope: Regional
Focus: CCP Training

For this three day First Nations Planning Workshop & Conference in February 2006, Jeff Cook designed and provided Lead Facilitation.