ACTION PLAN 10-YR CELEBRATION: “Water-centric thinking, planning and doing have become more than just a vision,” says John Finnie, CAVI Past-Chair



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 third in a series of flashbacks featuring those who have played leadership roles in delivering the Action Plan.

Creating a Legacy - Vancouver-Island_Sep-2012_v2

CAVI – Leadership in Water Sustainability

2_John Finnie_2011__120p“It seems both a long and a short time ago since 2005 when a group of similar thinking individuals, who recognized the importance of water sustainability and the risks it faces, gathered in the City of Parksville to have a conversation about water sustainability on Vancouver Island,” recalls John Finnie, Past-Chair of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. He was formerly the General Manager, Regional and Community Utilities, with the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“Two Meeting of the Minds workshops were held in Parksville: the first one in September 2005; and the second in May 2006. Both times these events brought together approximately 35 participants from a range of agencies which have a water and/or wastewater focus. Both events were by invitation because we were proactively seeking the participation of individuals who are committed to action. The goal in convening was to build an effective long-term communications network.”


Meeting of the Minds

“Within a year, that initial Meeting of the Minds evolved into a movement, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island – Leadership for Water Sustainability (CAVI),.” continues John Finnie. “I was privileged to be the Chair of CAVI from 2006 to 2011.” Launched in 2006 at the Water in the City Conference held in Victoria, CAVI is a regional initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

CAVI_2007 brochure_trimmed cover page“When CAVI began, we established a goal that Vancouver Island would be well on its way to water sustainability by 2010.  CAVI has moved forward significantly and successfully promoted the message of water sustainability by engaging governments, developers and the community in water-centric thinking, planning and development activities.”

“There is much yet to be done but I believe we have succeeded in our goal and in fact exceeded our program expectations.  Water sustainability is now a common thread in discussions and decisions about land development, water use and water conservation.  Participants from governments, the development community, academia, consulting organizations, and others, understand the importance of water sustainability and incorporate water sustainability practices into their activities.”

“Water-centric thinking, planning and doing have become more than just a vision.  They are a reality on Vancouver Island and elsewhere in the province.  CAVI can take pride in being a driver in this accomplishment.”

“We are demonstrating what can be done through partnerships and collaboration.  CAVI continues to organize events that create opportunities to start conversations that lead to action.  CAVI’s signature Learning Lunch seminars created a multi-agency network that builds and educates on successful practices.  CAVI works because there is no pressure, no regulation, no must dos.  It is about people sharing ideas and successes with people,” emphasizes John Finnie.

“It all started with a conversation……..”


The Partnership for Water Sustainability is the hub for a “convening for action” network in the local government setting. The Partnership believes that water and watershed sustainability in the local government setting will be achieved by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices. How BC communities get there relies on a change in mind-set and “land ethic”. The mission of the Partnership is to help facilitate that change.

To learn more, click on ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP.