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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” (public presentation)

“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."

2017 COMOX VALLEY ECO-ASSET SYMPOSIUM: Keynote Address by Kim Stephens primed audience for workshop sessions – “What Happens on the Land Does Matter!”

The purpose of the Symposium was to build local knowledge and interest in how to apply eco-asset management principles at the local level. “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 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."

2017 Comox Valley Symposium: Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” – What would eco-asset management look like in practice, on the ground, through a local government lens?

“The mandate of economics is how to allocate scarce resources to their best and highest use. Economics does not generally include nature or natural services in the discipline. The latest version of the discipline was developed in the 1930s. At that time, ecology was not a very developed discipline," stated Michelle Molnar. “Today we recognize that nature has grown scarce, that natural resources are hitting limits, and the time is right for nature to be incorporated into economics."

At the “Meeting of the Minds” in Parksville (Sept 2005), there was a consensus: Build a communications network to address the issues facing the water and wastewater industry within the Vancouver Island region

It was clear that there was widespread interest in holding a workshop that would provide an opportunity for the exchange of information, and to explore the possibility of establishing a communications network for the Vancouver Island Region. At the workshop, "It was agreed that the group was the start of a 'network' for Vancouver Island and that the overall process might be replicated in other regions throughout the Province," reported Kerry Elfstrom.

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 reflects real-world hydrology.”

Governments of Canada and British Columbia fund Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative

"The BC Framework encourages local governments to manage their natural assets in the same way they manage their hard engineered assets. The program goals for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative are aligned with this strategic direction. Successful implementation provincewide of 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management', would represent an evolution in how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented and maintained in British Columbia,” stated Minister Fassbender.

GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE: “Collaboration is leading to precedents for integrating watershed systems with land use and infrastructure decisions,” stated Jon Lefebure, Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

“The CVRD has been an active partner for over ten years and has benefited from the tools, professional development and working relationships made possible through our membership in the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC," stated Jon Lefebure. "The IREI enables local governments to leverage resources for common activities such as education, research and policy development.”

GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE: “Understanding leads to action. Getting there is a step-by-step process,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

“The IREI was launched in 2012. A year ago regional district partners recommitted through 2021. The current IREI program focus and goal is: Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management," stated Ted van der Gulik. "Presently, we are creating awareness. Early uptake of the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems has exceeded our expectations. There is clearly interest and an appetite to learn more. It is an idea whose time has come."

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.