Note to Reader:
Completed in 2010, the Bowker Creek precedent serves as a guide for implementing a ‘top-down and bottom-up’ approach that connects with the community and gets the vision right. The Bower Creek Initiative has gone well beyond any other plan in terms of how it has achieved consensus; and how it has galvanized commitment to move from planning to action on the ground.
A 100-Year Action Plan
The Bowker Creek Initiative in British Columbia’s Capital Region is a unique multi-jurisdictional effort. Four local governments, community groups, post-secondary institutions and private citizens are collaborating to implement A 100-Year Action Plan to Restore the Bowker Creek Watershed.
The Bowker Creek Blueprint demonstrates the power of a ‘top-down and bottom-up strategy’ – that is, major breakthroughs happen when champions in local government and in the community share a vision and align their efforts.
”The arts are an effective way to engage the broader community,” states Soren Henrich, a community leader whose personal passion is organizing pennant printing workshops to connect people with the watershed. “Community celebration events draw people out and bring them together. Our experience is that the community events are the forums for engagement.”
“People eagerly embrace the opportunities for engagement and education. They really want to share their thoughts and experiences. Residents have a stake in restoring watershed health. There is so much experience that we can mine. We who live in the watershed are the experts.”
Implementing a New Culture
The Bowker Creek Blueprint is referenced throughout Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia, released in June 2010.
There is now clear guidance for aligning local actions with provincial and regional goals to ‘design with nature’ so that British Columbians can create greener communities, live water smart and prepare for climate change.
It takes time to change the local government culture. British Columbia communities now have the tools and the case study experience to ‘design with nature’. British Columbia is at a tipping point. Beyond the Guidebook 2010 sets the stage for ensuring that future settlement change (development) is in balance with ecology.
To Learn More:
To download a PDF copy of the WaterBucket article that elaborates on this provincially significant initiative, click on Capital Region’s ‘Bowker Creek Blueprint’ demonstrates that “Outreach is a Powerful Tool”. And to access the Bowker CreekBlueprint homepage on Waterbucket, click here.