Category:

Outreach Presentations

KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): "Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the ‘regional team approach’


“The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination.”

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KEYNOTE AT REGIONAL WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY NORTH SHORE STREAMKEEPERS (March 2017): "Redevelopment of neighbourhoods creates opportunities to ‘get it right’ the second time and restore watershed health," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Our region is hemmed in by the mountains, the sea, the US border and the Agricultural Land Reserve. This means population growth will be accommodated through redevelopment, and this involves redevelopment of watersheds. This is what gives us the second chance to get it right,” stated Kim Stephens. “As the housing stock turns over, there is a window of opportunity. We get one window every 50 years. Will local government take action in time?”

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KEYNOTE AT ‘RISING TO THE CHALLENGE’ CONFERENCE IN AUSTRALIA (August 2016): “Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period have allowed me to view our evolving British Columbia situation in a comparative context,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our “whole systems” approach to water balance management,” observed Kim Stephens. “BC is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2014: Metro Vancouver elected representatives were informed that UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly coined the phrase “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” to explain why environmental degradation is incremental


“Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss. You can have a succession of changes. At the end you want to sustain miserable leftovers. And the question is, why do people accept this?,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “The BC Process for moving from Awareness to Action, and achieving the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, is founded on alignment, collaboration and partnerships,” stated Kim Stephens at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium (March 2017)


“In British Columbia, we have this unique model called top-down, bottom-up. It is the synthesis that results when you have an over-arching provincial policy framework and then all the players embrace shared responsibility,” stated Kim Stephens. “If we can change the ethic, so that the land ethic becomes the water ethic, then the key is establishing precedents for doing things differently. Once you establish the precedents for designing with nature, then they can be replicated in other communities.”

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KEYNOTE ADDRESS: How the Water Sustainability Act is Already Influencing Water Management in British Columbia (Landscape Architects Annual Conference – Shifting Currents, April 2016)


The keynote address was a co-presentation by Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “Licensing 20,000 wells initially seemed daunting when a provincial group met in mid-2015 to brainstorm an approach to this immense task. The team had to solve the challenge of HOW to help groundwater users reliably quantify their annual water licence volumes. Suffice to say, the brainstorming resulted in an Aha Moment and a solution took shape,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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British Columbia vision for implementation of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” introduced to Australian audience at national stormwater conference (Aug 2016)


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our ‘whole systems’ approach to water balance management,” stated Kim Stephens. “I introduced Australians to three ‘big ideas’ that underpin where we are heading in BC, namely: Primacy of Hydrology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome, and Cathedral Thinking.”

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“Communities and cities are all about choices – much will depend on getting the choices right for integrating water balance solutions in land use decisions,” stated Kim Stephens in his presentation to municipal engineers at the 2016 Annual APEGBC Conference


Communities would benefit from shifting their definitions of community infrastructure to include entire watersheds. “We invited Kim Stephens to be our lead speaker because we’re very interested in the work that he and the Partnership are doing around asset management and sustainable watersheds,” explained the City of Campbell River’s Sara Brodie. She is on the APEGBC Municipal Engineering Division executive.

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“Within two years, our goal is that local governments will understand WHY and HOW to transition to Sustainable Watershed Systems, through asset management,” stated Kim Stephens at a meeting of Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (Nov 2016)


“The project ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ describes a whole-system, water balance approach to community development and infrastructure servicing,” stated Kim Stephens. “As understanding grows, local governments will progress incrementally along the Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery. Step Three is Sustainable Watershed Systems.”

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“It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes ‘Water-Resilient Communities’ possible in British Columbia,” Kim Stephens explained to a local government audience in Parksville


“Kim Stephens was able to communicate concepts in a way that made sense to the class. They understood him perfectly,” observed Todd Pugh, sessional instructor for Capilano’s Local Government Administration Certificate program. “It is such a mix of people – there were some who would have liked to hear more about the science behind what he presented, and for others it was more science than they’ve experienced since elementary school. So on the whole, I think he hit the right mix.”

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