Mike Donnelly – A Champion for Water & Watershed Sustainability in the Nanaimo Region

"The Regional District of Nanaimo’s water sustainability goals have meshed very well with those of the Partnership for Water Sustainability over the many years we have worked together. The working relationship enhances the ability of both organizations to reach their common goals in water sustainability while supporting each other. A highlight of that relationship was being part of the Inter Regional Education Initiative," stated Mike Donnelly.

INTER-REGIONAL COLLABORATION: In April 2017, the three mid Vancouver Island regional districts convened in Duncan to share their successes and challenges in protecting water resources

The Cowichan Valley Regional District hosted the Regional District of Nanaimo and Comox Valley Regional District. “As we look out into the future in a changing environment – our new normal - the richness and the depth of community participation can only help our region’s future resiliency. While we can build the tools and the technical backstops at a professional and technical level, at the end of the day we need to have everybody at the table," stated Kate Miller.

CONVENING FOR ACTION ALONG THE EAST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND: Cowichan Valley Regional District shares its successes and challenges in protecting water resources at inter-regional meeting in April 2017

For the past decade, the Cowichan Region has served as a provincial demonstration region for the whole-system, water balance approach. Methodologies and tools tested in the Cowichan Region have been replicated elsewhere. “The new normal - alternating floods and droughts - has prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground,” reported Brian Carruthers.

CONVENING FOR ACTION ALONG THE EAST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND: Regional District of Nanaimo shares its successes and challenges in protecting water resources at inter-regional meeting held in April 2017

In 2008, the RDN became the first regional government to create a drinking water and watershed protection service area with taxation. In 2012, the service area was expanded to include the municipalities within the regional district. They became active participants in the watershed function. “Sharing our experience with the other regional districts will hopefully assist them as they craft their own approach within their context,” concludes Randy Alexander.

CONVENING FOR ACTION ALONG THE EAST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND: Comox Valley Regional District shares its successes and challenges in protecting water resources at inter-regional meeting held in April 2017

In 2008, Comox Valley regional district restructuring opened the door to a collaborative process that led to a ‘regional team approach’. “The Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan is presented in a format which encourages ease of implementation. The collaborative process and its positive outcome is something that the Comox Valley is proud of, and we were honoured to be asked to share the details of our process with our neighbouring regional districts," stated Zoe Norcross-Nu’u.

2017 COMOX VALLEY ECO-ASSET SYMPOSIUM: Keynote Address by Bob Sandford on “The Hard Work of Hope: Sustaining Cooperation on Water Security & Climate Stability in a Post-Truth Trumpocene”

“We should also remember that – though it may not seem like it at the moment – great opportunity still very much exists not just to change the world, but to make it a better place," stated Bob Sandford. "If we just stay the course – and by our example help others to do the same – there is no question that – if we want it to be – this could be Canada’s moment; its chance to shine."

Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium: “Restorative development is within your grasp. You know what to do. Go do it,” urged Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security, United Nations University Institute

“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," stated Bob Sandford. "Investment must now be shifted towards restoration that uses the forces of nature itself to help build more efficiently integrated infrastructure."

Drainage Planning & Engineering: “We have a standard-of-practice that is generally accepted as not achieving what is best for the environment,” stated Jim Dumont at the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium

“So what is the nub of the issue? In standard practice, only surface runoff is considered, and this has led to degraded streams. The other pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are ignored,” explained Jim Dumont. “If communities are to truly benefit from use of nature’s assets to provide vital community infrastructure services, then we must change the engineering standard-of practice to one that is state-of-the-art and reflects real-world hydrology.”

Vancouver Island loses an environmental sustainability champion: Vic Derman (1944-2017)

Vic Derman engaged with people in a way that made them feel important and heard. He was a passionate steward and advocate for the environment, and always worked towards making the world a better place. In that regard, Vic led by example – something for everyone to aspire to. He was ahead of his time on so many fronts, understood the pending impacts of climate change and the need for sustainability solutions long before these issues were on the public’s radar.

“Water to Earth Month 2017″ in the Regional District of Nanaimo

Between March and April 2017, the RDN's Team WaterSmart is hosting several events to promote awareness about our water and our earth. The series kicked off with Parksville Water Day on March 12th. And the Partnership for Water Sustainability was there! "We engaged attendees in promoting the message of and strategies for water sustainability," reports John Finnie.