"The passion of the regional team came through in their individual presentations. Their enthusiasm infected the audience in a good way. The moment everyone broke into discussion groups one could feel the energy in the room. At the workshop conclusion, it was clear that the session had achieved a transformative outcome," observed Kim Stephens, workshop facilitator.
“Healthier watersheds can handle high and low rainfall better, and are therefore more resilient to the coming changes," stated Kris La Rose. "From the regional perspective, mitigation of flood risk, water conservation and restoration and protection of our streams and rivers are all key priorities. The increase in extreme weather is highlighting the need to build better resiliency into the natural systems that we all rely so heavily upon."
"This gave us a 20-year window to measure the impacts of land use on sensitive ecosystems that were intact in 1992," stated David Stapley. “So why does it matter? Our communities face the double whammy of aging infrastructure and climate change. Healthy watersheds naturally manage rainfall. Protecting and restoring streams and wetlands through water wise development has many benefits.”
“So, our goal was to begin to brand the story and to make it visible in the various regulatory agencies in the Valley. To depict visually that we were developing a consistency in expectations in how development would address environmental concerns. Having it available on every front counter and every website is a first step," stated Nancy Gothard.
"Soil is alive. It does have value. It is a very important rainwater management asset when seen as a whole on the landscape scale," stated Nancy Gothard. "One person's yard may not seem to matter much. But when we look at all the yards adding up on a watershed scale, soil is very critically valuable. It is not we have a specific tool in each jurisdiction. Rather, it is a recognition that soil plays a valuable role in rainwater management."
Trees provide many benefits including beauty, shade, habitat and rainfall interception and storage. “We talk about Tree Protection Bylaws, but it really is about Tree Protection,” stated Judith Walker. "Only recently have we started to actually account for the economic value of the benefits provided by trees. Over the long term, the cost is significantly less than that for hard infrastructure, and with the added benefit of a much longer replacement cost cycle."
When sites get the topsoil part right, other parts of the water sustainability equation are easier to attain. "One tool that we hear a lot about is rain gardens. Topsoil and/or amended soil is key for water retention, and that is one feature of rain gardens that makes them so effective for water storage," stated Judith Walker. "Soil depth creates a sponge which can limit runoff during wet weather; and reduce water need during dry weather."
“Slow it – Sink it – Spread it. This simple saying summarizes the means by which we can manage Rain Water to alleviate both drought and flooding. This saying also summarizes the purpose behind the Water Balance Model Express,” stated Glenn Westendorp. "The Express allows home owners and small developers the ability to explore the means by which they can compensate for their effects on the environment and our aging infrastructure."
“We see there is a gap in practitioner education and professional development. Our objective is to create a pool of trained and qualified practitioners of the Water Balance Methodology. From a local government perspective, you have to know what it is you want so that you know that you are getting the right stuff. And you need that assurance that what you are getting in the way of analyses is being completed correctly," stated Kim Stephens.
“The workshop concluded with a group activity which provided everyone with the chance to brainstorm about they had learned from a series of presentations by members of the Comox Valley-CAVI regional team,” explains Alexandra Hitchcock. “Out of this process came a selection of ideas and suggestions to implement ‘collaboration communication’ sessions.
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