Vancouver Island Water

The island is a demonstration region for the ‘regional team approach’. Communicate. Cooperate. Coordinate. Collaborate. Share resources and learn from each other. CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island-Leadership in Water Sustainability, started with a conversation in 2005. Formally launched in September 2006, and funded by government, the form of the initiative has evolved over the years. The program has demonstrated what can be done through partnerships and collaboration.

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“CAVI” is moving forward under a new name – The Partnership on Vancouver Island: Leadership in Water Sustainability

“The VI2065 initiative envisions a Vancouver Island based on long-term sustainability and water resiliency models that involve innovative partnerships. The results guide us towards effective land and water management practices. Water is an entrance point for the discussion on climate change, for the connection on this complex issue is clearly understood in light of the increase in floods and droughts,” states Eric Bonham.

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DOWNLOAD POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS: A Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (April 11-12, 2018)

Feedback on the Nanaimo Water Symposium is represented by this testimonial from Craig Wightman, Living Rivers: “I want to congratulate and thank the members of the Organizing Committee for their sterling efforts in organizing and staging the joint NALT/Partnership Symposium on Wednesday-Thursday. I thought it was very professional and well-received by a large audience of VI water stewardship leaders. I know there was no formal feedback form for attendees, but also think you’ll be receiving many kudos either personally or by email over the next few days.”

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A vision for restorative development that revitalizes watershed function and health provides a philosophical backdrop for the Nanaimo Water Symposium – “The process of restoring our planet and revitalizing our communities is finally becoming a rigorous discipline, with the proper education and tools,” says Storm Cunningham, author & futurist

The term ‘restorative development’ was coined by the writer Storm Cunningham in his first book ;The Restoration Economy’, published in 2002. Because he has made multiple presentations to British Columbia audiences over the years, and has a particular affinity for Vancouver Island, the Symposium program caught his long-distance attention. On the eve of the Symposium, Storm Cunningham shared his reflections in an interview. His insights provide useful context regarding the challenge of moving from awareness to implementation.

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DOWNLOAD: “Changing the way we do business” in urban watersheds requires that local governments partner with the stewardship sector to “get it right” (synopsis document released at the Nanaimo Water Symposium, April 2018)

Anecdotal evidence suggests a groundswell of heightened awareness of the watershed context for ‘the creek that flows through my backyard’. “Within our growing urban areas, as our community becomes more diverse, being able to reconnect through nature offers the chance to reconnect with each other. By working to restore our urban watercourses, new and old neighbours are building connections between our natural spaces that will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship in future,” stated Rob Lawrance.

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Benefits of Inter-Regional Collaboration: “Peer-based learning is motivating and powerful,” stated Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Office, Cowichan Valley Regional District

In April 2017, staff from the three mid-Vancouver Island regional districts met in Duncan. Their primary purpose in meeting was to inform and educate the Cowichan Valley Regional Board about a range of approaches to watershed management functions and watershed protection plans on Vancouver Island. “The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Comox Valley presentations to our Regional Board were of high quality and relevant,” stated Brian Carruthers. A year later, options for a potential establishment bylaw were presented to Board members.

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DOWNLOAD PROGRAM HERE for “Convening for Action in Nanaimo” at a 2-day water stewardship flagship event (April 11-12, 2018): Field Trip, Public Lecture & Symposium

“Communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration – have you thought about the power of the 4Cs? When all four are in play, good things happen,” states Derek Richmond. “Are you also aware of the beneficial outcomes that are flowing from collaboration between local government and the stewardship sector in the Nanaimo region? A groundswell of heightened awareness is translating into involvement and empowerment to make a difference. Join us on April 11-12 to learn more.”

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A Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (April 11-12, 2018): “The Organizing Committee structured the Nanaimo Water Symposium as three modules to provide the audience with a mind-map,” stated John Finnie, Chair

“The program is structured as three modules to enable the audience to have an informed conversation,” stated John Finnie. “Context is everything. Hence, two co-keynote presentations in Module A will set the context and prime participants for a town-hall sharing and learning session in Module B about restorative development. In the afternoon, a set of four reflective presentations will introduce building blocks for achieving Sustainable Watershed Systems.”

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Theme for Panel & Town-Hall Segment at Nanaimo Water Symposium: Community Empowerment & Sustainable Partnerships with Local Government

“Until we stabilize the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, phenomena such as atmospheric rivers are likely to cause greater flooding and related economic damage widely – forever making sustainability and adaptive resilience a moving target. So what will we do?” asks Bob Sandford. Adapting to climate change requires a paradigm-shift in how we perceive watershed worth and service land. The audience will be asked to reflect on this question: How will communities ‘get it right’ through collaboration as land develops and redevelops?

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Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: Richard Boase brings an inter-regional perspective to his moderator role at the Nanaimo Water Symposium (April 12, 2018)

Over the past decade, Richard Boase has been a key member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability team for training workshops and “sharing and learning” sessions in Metro Vancouver, Capital Region, Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley and Nanaimo Region. “The time has come to assertively push our politicians to make the hard decisions now for the benefit of our future generations; and to follow through with policy, regulations and bylaws that require simple, landscape-based, outcome-driven solutions so that we can start watershed restoration now,” said Richard Boase in 2010.

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KEYNOTE PRESENTATION AT NANAIMO WATER SYMPOSIUM: “Sponge Communities: A Water-Resilient Future Despite Floods & Droughts?” – Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia

“All one need do is reflect on what British Columbia has experienced in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Impacts are magnified by human interventions. We have arrived at a fork in the road,” says Kim Stephens. “The situation calls for a whole-systems approach to managing the water balance distribution where people live. The risks are too high, and the margins for error too small, to view water and watersheds only through narrow technical lenses. Adapting to changes in the water cycle and restoring the water balance starts with rethinking our relationship with nature.”

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“Natural asset management is a cost-effective, sustainable way forward, and Courtenay’s efforts could potentially be used as a model for other communities dealing with similar challenges,” stated CAO David Allen

The City of Courtenay has been chosen to participate in a national pilot project that supports local governments in their efforts to integrate natural asset management into core asset management and financial processes. “We’ve already seen the effects of several floods in low-lying areas in recent years, and it makes sense to maximize the potential of our natural environment to reduce the potential impact of these events on residents and businesses,” stated David Allen.

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