Note to Reader:
The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is facing a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems (that have been degraded over time by land use activities). It is feast AND famine!
In March 2017, the 22 environmental and ratepayer groups comprising the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership hosted a symposium to explore ‘design with nature’ solutions.The symposium spotlight was on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy.
Kim Stephens delivered the keynote address on the day of the Symposium. His task was to prime the audience so that they would be mentally ready for the workshop sessions that were the focus of the program. To watch his presentation, click on the image below. It links to a YouTube video.
Symposium is a “Watershed Moment” in a Journey
Kim Stephens is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. In 2003, he was asked by the provincial government to develop the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, released in 2004.
Ever since, Kim Stephens has been responsible for Action Plan program delivery and evolution. This program includes leading the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative. Five regions representing 75% of BC’s population are partners in the initiative.
To Learn More:
Download What Happens on the Land Does Matter! – Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” to view the storyline for the keynote address by Kim Stephens.
Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems
“Too often we talk about water and land as silos,” stated Kim Stephens in his opening remarks. “But what happens on the land does matter! It is whether and how we respect the land that really affects what happens with water. That is a key message. It is why we are moving forward with Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management.
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability has been supporting the Comox Valley for the past decade. In 2007, the Province and the Real Estate Foundation co-funded an initiative on Vancouver Island called CAVI. In 2007, we asked the regional districts to partner with their largest municipalities to co-host the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series. This was the start of the current journey.
“The Symposium is about celebrating the past 10 years, and beyond that, and then springboarding to the future. In 2007, we began the process of building collaboration among local governments.
“The significance of the Comox Valley in this process was in bringing together local governments and the stewardship sector at the same table, to work together to align efforts and collaborate to work towards a shared vision.”
Convening for Action
“Convening for action means what will you do after you leave this room. But I also want to introduce three big ideas that provide a backdrop for the journey ahead. Again, this is a journey. This symposium is but one step in that journey. It is a pretty significant moment, but it is only part of the journey,” continued Kim Stephens.
“Shifting baseline syndrome, whole-system thinking, and cathedral thinking – those are the three thoughts that I hope you will leave with in your head.”