COVID has changed and challenged how we do outreach and peer-based education. In the age of COVID, how does one inspire an audience over a computer? Addressing this existential challenge was the starting point for re-imagining the third in the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Symposia Series as a virtual event. David Mackenzie stepped up and opened minds as to what could be. This is the moment, he said, to leverage technology and reach far beyond those in the symposium room. Be bold, he urged.
“This award is really recognition of our staff, in particular our CAO, and the work that he and others have done in this very important area. The current Council was elected in 2018 and we are continually being educated in terms of natural assets and natural assets management. It is a true feather in the cap of the Town of Gibsons that we are getting recognition outside the community. At some point, I hope that (the Town’s accomplishments) will be recognized as strongly within the community. There is still work to be done in that area,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish.
The long-term support provided by Mayor Darrell Mussatto contributed to the effectiveness of the Partnership for Water Sustainability as the hub for a ‘convening for action’ network in the local government setting. As Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Utilities Committee, there were several pivotal moments when the support of Mayor Mussatto and the Utilities Committee meant that the Partnership for Water Sustainability could carry out its capacity-building mission.
Design with nature, a whole-system approach, learn by doing and adapt. These three phrases capture the essence of how the Township builds neighbourhoods. “There are many staff members that have made this happen,” stated Mayor Jack Froese. “Council makes policy and we approve policies. And then it is our wonderful staff that carry out the policies. And so, I certainly want to recognize the work that they have done.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is recognized for the leadership that its Drinking Water & Watershed Program is providing. Success is helping to foster a new ‘land ethic’ among land and water practitioners in the region. Bill Veenhof (photo), RDN Chair, thanked the Partnership’s Kim Stephens for providing the RDN Board with an appreciation of how the RDN program is helping other regions overcome the disconnect between information and implementation.
“It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years,” stated Mayor Lois Jackson.
“This category recognizes agencies and organizations whose support is vitally important because that is what enables the Partnership to develop tools and deliver programs under the umbrella of Convening for Action in British Columbia. Their demonstrated commitment to achieving a shared vision for water sustainability allows the Partnership to carry out our mission,” states Kim Stephens,
“I really believe that the key to the success of the Ministry’s relationship with the Partnership and its evolution over the years has been our shared vision for water stewardship. Also, I have a really strong belief that senior governments can’t do it alone…can’t do it nor should senior governments do it alone…when there is such a wealth of knowledge and innovation and ideas at the local level,” stated Lynn Kriwoken.
“On the North Shore, people are passionate about their creeks. Protection of salmon habitat and stream health is important to us. We all can make a difference by designing with nature. The change starts with rain gardens. A single rain garden will not make a material difference to stream health. But 1000 rain gardens would be a different story. Restoring stream health requires a long-term commitment,” states Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
“There is no question that all of Council relishes Champion Supporter recognition. We strive to make sure that our watersheds work properly. We have a number of committees that are aimed at improving the health of the watershed and the health of the river – everything from sand and gravel operations to the way in which stormwater management takes place adjacent to city streets, the kinds of initiatives we have undertaken and continue to undertake,” stated Mayor Richard Stewart