“One of the things that I have learned over the last two days is that something really good is happening in British Columbia,” stated Bob Sandford when he provided a closing perspective at the Comox Valley Symposium. “I travel widely, but I have never heard a conversation like what I have heard at the Symposium. And while I am often part of very positive conversations, what was unique (about the Symposium) was the atmosphere of possibilities and hope that I have witnessed here.”
The Symposium will introduce participants to a whole-system, water balance approach for restoration of watershed health. “The purpose of the Symposium is to build local knowledge and interest in how to apply eco-asset management principles at the local level,” stated Tim Ennis, Executive Director, Comox Valley Land Trust. “The Symposium is very much about setting in motion a mind-set change. It is therefore essential that everyone steps back and sees the big picture.”
"At the dawn of 2017, the purpose of this article is two-fold: take stock of our progress in 2016 to inform and educate; and foreshadow where we may be at year-end," stated Kim Stephens. "Other regions recognize BC as a leader. They perceive BC moving in the right direction with integration of watershed systems thinking and asset management. International exposure allows us to judge how BC stacks up against the rest of the world."
The influence of community-based community groups is expanding beyond the creek channel. “The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”
"Understanding leads to action. Getting to action is a step-by-step process to give practitioners the tools and experience to get the job done," stated Kim Stephens. "In addition, moving from understanding to implementation requires a sustaining commitment by local governments to implement ‘standards of practice’ that restore the desired watershed condition over time."
"A systems approach to watershed health and protection recognizes that actions on the land have consequences for the three pathways to streams and hence the water balance of the watershed," stated Richard Boase. "Local governments regulate how land is developed, drained and serviced," stated, This means local governments have the authority and ability to determine and implement watershed-based volume targets that would help to prevent drainage impacts in wet weather."
“Over the past year, we have begun to frame where we want to get to in British Columbia in terms of sustainable watershed systems. We are saying it is a three-step process, If you don't already have an asset management plan, then you cannot make that leap all the way to Step Three," stated Kim Stephens. “What the Partnership is trying to do right now is to get them ready in terms of where they need to be a couple of years down the road."
"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."
North Vancouver City is a case study for a UBC design course on integration of landscape architecture into urban rainwater management strategies. "The lecture by Kim Stephens was excellent and well-paced," stated Daniel Roehr, Associate Professor. "He provided clarity regarding a course objective, which is to design at different scales, using the reverse design strategy, site and details first before urban and regional scale."
“My objective in meeting with SILG was to plant seeds. Six months from now we will see whether and/or how the seeds have taken root," stated Kim Stephens. “Basically, the Partnership’s mission is to prepare local governments for Step Three on the Asset Management Continuum. Within two years, our goal is that local governments will understand WHY they need to transition to Sustainable Watershed Systems, and HOW they can accomplish this through asset management.”
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