Note to Reader:
Bob Sandford is frequently a keynote speaker at ‘water events’ in British Columbia, including Feast AND Famine (Metro Vancouver, 2015) and FLOWnGROW (Okanagan, 2016). In March 2017, he spoke on Vancouver Island at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium: Climate Change, Nature’s Services and Thinking Like a Watershed.
Bob Sandford’s ongoing exposure to the sharing and learning that takes place at these events provides him with an observers’ perspective on the transformational impact of such ‘watershed moments’ and how watershed systems thinking is taking root in British Columbia.
“Something really good is happening in British Columbia,” observed Bob Sandford at Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium
The Comox Valley Symposium was one of two ‘watershed moments’ organized by the stewardship sector during the week of March 13th. The other was in the Metro Vancouver region and titled Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks – What Can We Do?
Showcasing of Whole-System,
Water Balance Thinking
The responses to both events widely exceeded expectations. Registrations had to be capped because of venue capacity limits – 160 in the Comox Valley and 100 in North Vancouver – and many people were reluctantly turned away. The Comox Valley Symposium attracted delegates from around the Georgia Basin and from as far afield as the East Kootenays region.
The North Vancouver workshop attracted participants from communities throughout the Metro Vancouver region, and on a Saturday afternoon!
A focal point for both events was the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. Led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, this inter-regional initiative is funded under a federal-provincial program. The initiative vision is that communities would integrate whole-system, water balance thinking and climate adaptation into drainage infrastructure asset management.
To Learn More:
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC has published the stories of both the Comox Valley and North Vancouver watershed events. Click on the links below:
What Happens on the Land Does Matter!
“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.”
Move from Awareness to Action
“I think it is important to say that you have not gotten everybody in yet. And, as was noted, you do not have full jurisdiction. But, as Emanuel Machado of the Town of Gibsons pointed out, success will require patience, over generations, one step at a time.”
“And we cannot forget that there has been a huge investment in what we now know is an unsustainable status quo. Investment must now be shifted towards restoration that uses the forces of nature itself to help build more efficiently integrated infrastructure that as much as possible maintains itself. What a gift to the world that would be.”
“If you want to live here in perpetuity, then you need to do this. Do not forget the urgency. You have an outstanding example before you in the Town of Gibsons. In my view, restorative development is within your grasp. You know what to do. Go do it,” concluded Bob Sandford.