Eco-Asset Action in the Comox Valley: A community prepares to unpave a parking lot and put up a paradise
The excitement and energy generated by the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium has helped to move forward the long-term vision for transforming a decommissioned sawmill site on the Courtenay River into a valuable habitat corridor that could also transform the city’s most troublesome flood liabilities into an eco-asset corridor for the whole community. “The Comox Valley is approaching a watershed moment in land restoration, and all of British Columbia can learn some important lessons here,” states Vanessa Scott.
Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) for Watershed Assessment
“By providing a value for the land underlying the stream and riparian zone, stakeholders have a much more realistic idea of the worth of the ecological services supplied by environmental assets,” stated Tim Pringle. “This form of financial information can then be used by local government to develop strategies guided by ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’.” A key message, he said, is to draw a distinction between maintenance and management.
Mimic nature, restore the water balance, adapt to a changing climate: The “sponge city” imagery resonates; people intuitively get it.
“In order to increase the resilience of a natural system, it is important to find solutions beyond the level of the city and even nation. I’m talking about a whole global system, in which we think globally but must act locally,” says Kongjian Yu. He is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design. In the process he has transformed some of China’s most industrialized cities into standard bearers of green architecture.
“Strategically packaging projects for multiple funders and investors can attract more money and accelerate implementation based on policy and investor priorities, such as – critical infrastructure resilience, business continuity, reduced operating and capital costs, disaster prevention, affordable housing, health, and habitat protection,” stated Steve Winkelman.
Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre – a new jewel in the crown of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system
“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”
Revolutionary new bottom-up approach would transform the way we assess and manage our water resources
“The detail revealed by the Systems Framework underpins the Natural Capital approach which incorporates ecosystems into resilience evaluation,” stated Peter Coombes. “In fact, the Systems Framework was developed out of the systems thinking at the root of the Natural Capital concept. The power and accuracy of the systems analysis has been dramatically increased by our bottom-up methods, and also by our use of discoveries from molecular sciences (around DNA processes) and economic decision theory.”
Storm Cunningham coined the term “Restorative Development” in his 2002 book, “The Restoration Economy”
“For the past 20 years, the focus of my work has been on bringing places back to life. I am always looking for commonalities – the factors that are present in the successes, or missing in the failures. Some issues seem to be fairly universal. Water is one them. The universality of water is apparent in the way that people renew their water, repurpose their waterfront, or reconnect to the water.”Water is a kind of magic revitalizer,” stated Storm Cunningham.
Benefits of Inter-Regional Collaboration: “Peer-based learning is motivating and powerful,” stated Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Office, Cowichan Valley Regional District
In April 2017, staff from the three mid-Vancouver Island regional districts met in Duncan. Their primary purpose in meeting was to inform and educate the Cowichan Valley Regional Board about a range of approaches to watershed management functions and watershed protection plans on Vancouver Island. “The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Comox Valley presentations to our Regional Board were of high quality and relevant,” stated Brian Carruthers. A year later, options for a potential establishment bylaw were presented to Board members.
REGISTER WHILE YOU CAN: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future on Vancouver Island (April 11-12)
Adapting to climate change requires commmunity empowerment and stewardship sector partnerships with local government. “Within our growing urban areas, as our community becomes more diverse, being able to reconnect through nature offers the chance to reconnect with each other. By working to restore our urban watercourses, new and old neighbours are building connections between our natural spaces that will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship in future,” stated Rob Lawrance.
Moving Towards Healthy Watersheds: Local government champions on Vancouver Island share the proverbial wheel, rather than reinventing it
Jody Watson, Nancy Gothard and Julie Pisani are examples of local government partners on Vancouver Island who bring strong enthusiasm and professional skill to fostering collaborative relationships for leveraged outcomes in their work in public education, local data collection, and policy improvements, to promote watershed health in their respective regions. “We each consider it a success when we can achieve more outputs with fewer inputs, and have committed to continue to adopt a sharing approach to their work,” states Nancy Gothard.