ACTION PLAN 10-YR CELEBRATION: “Bringing it all together – how highs came from lows,” reflects Derek Richmond, CAVI Chair


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Partnership Celebrates 10-Yr Anniversary of Water Sustainability Action Plan

Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provides a partnership umbrella for aligning efforts and implementing on-the-ground initiatives in the local government setting. Throughout 2014, the Partnership for Water Sustainability will be celebrating 10 years of successful Action Plan program implementation. This is the second in a series of flashbacks featuring those who have played leadership roles in delivering the Action Plan.

Launched in 2006 at the Water in the City Conference held in VIctoria, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island is a regional initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. The Comox Valley is a demonstration application of the 4Cs – collaboration, cooperation, communication and coordination.

2010 Comox Valley Developers Dialogue

“For me, the watershed moment for the CAVI-Comox Valley Leadership Team occurred in 2010,” recalls Derek Richmond, CAVI Chair. Formerly a senior manager in both the provincial and local levels of government, Derek’s passion lies in water resources and Derek-Richmond_Oct-2011_120pthe importance of public awareness in integrated basin planning and management.

“The first four years had seen significant progress towards developing, understanding and sharing water-centric principles and ideas through cooperation and collaboration. However, there was a hiatus in moving these ideas and principles to the next level.”

“At the end of 2010, the schedule for our regular CAVI-Comox Valley learning-lunch series had been impacted by circumstances. The planned postponement of the series to early 2011 left us with the risk of losing momentum and interest; hence, we decided to host a developer-dialogue session.”

Get It Right At the Front-End

“There was strong commitment amongst the interest groups and the collective municipalities, as well as a solid understanding of the importance of best management practices, the need for a reduction in the environmental footprint and the significance of balance between ecology and settlement. But, the reasons for all parties to make things happen on the ground didn’t come out until some frank dialogue took place at our developer-dialogue session.”

“Developers had been asking for goals and direction. Until the 2010 Comox Valley Developers Dialogue, the impetus had been elusive. The ‘ah-ah’ moment for all parties lay in recognizing the importance of getting things done right at the front-end; and that by aligning collective efforts on a watershed scale, a regional response to (minimizing) infrastructure liability could be achieved. The opportunity for converting potential infrastructure liability to asset management had been realized!”

“The 2010 Comox Valley Developers Dialogue was the turning point and catalyst that has since helped to propel the Comox Valley forward in its continuing development of its ‘Guide to Water-Wise Land Development’ and to enhance its participation in island-wide and inter-regional information exchange. The message is clear: get it right at the front-end for watershed sustainability,” concludes Derek Richmond.


Water sustainability in the local government setting will be achieved by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices. How communities get there relies on a change in mind-set and “land ethic”. The role of the Partnership for Water Sustainability is to facilitate that change in British Columbia.  The Partnership is the hub for a “convening for action” network in the local government setting.To learn more, click on ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP.