The early and strong support of Debra Oakman for demonstrating the benefits of the ‘regional team approach’ in the Comox Valley was a key to the success of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. Her support helped to lay the foundation for successfully launching the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative in 2012. Comox Valley activities and successes have stimulated interest and action in the vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”.
“The Regional District of Nanaimo’s water sustainability goals have meshed very well with those of the Partnership 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, an excellent forum for learning and passing on hard won experience,” stated Mike Donnelly.
Through collaboration, the four Comox Valley local governments are striving for a coordinated approach to watershed-based rainwater management in the Comox Valley and across boundaries. There is region-wide commitment to develop Watershed Blueprints. Kevin Lagan’s leadership helped make this possible. Kevin played an important role in building credibility in the local government setting for the CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, initiative. This credibility was a critical consideration in the decision to incorporate the Partnership as a not-for-profit society in November 2010. The City of Courtenay is a charter member.
Dale Wall embraced the long term benefits of a new idea. In essence he was supportive of innovation with potential, as he saw it, both within and outside of government. In particular, his staunch support and timely participation in the Green Infrastructure Partnership provided the ‘convening for action’ initiative with credibility. “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward.,” stated Dale Wall in 2008.
Under the stellar leadership of John Finnie as Chair of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, the success of the CAVI initiative built a practitioner network and the credibility with local government that in large part made it possible to incorporate the Partnership for Water Sustainability as a not-for-profit society in November 2010. “We envision development carried out in a manner that harmonizes the footprint within the watershed to achieve water sustainability as an integral component of land development,” stated John Finnie.
Under Paul Ham’s leadership, the Green Infrastructure Partnership achieved a great deal – for example, the Showcasing Innovation Series helped local government practitioners immeasurably by creating forums for them to share their experiences and lessons learned. This created a ripple effect that spurred even more innovation. “Because people are so busy in their own world, it takes a third party to connect them. That was the role the Green Infrastructure Partnership played in organizing the Showcasing Innovation Series. The goal was a simple one: build regional capacity,” stated Paul Ham.
Erik Karlsen has had a distinguished 40-year career of public service in British Columbia. In the early 2000s, Erik Karlsen crafted a series of ‘think-pieces’ that shone the spotlight on what it means to convene for action and move from awareness to practice. He had the ability to assess the situation as it is and develop a roadmap for going forward based upon realistic assumptions. The Partnership continues to use the language that he crafted – in particular, the CREATE A LEGACY frame of reference still resonates. Erik encouraged everyone to think in terms of influencing choices by individuals and organizations.
John’s experience covers the full range of engineering practice, from developing master plans and municipal design criteria to implementing both piped and natural drainage systems. He walks the talk. He re-landscaped his own property to restore the absorptive capacity of the ground. His hands-on experience provided invaluable insights when the Green Infrastructure Partnership was developing the Topsoil Primer Set, and John made a material contribution. Thanks to the leadership provided by the Okanagan Basin Water Board, the Primer Set then morphed into a provincial guidance document titled the Topsoil Bylaws Toolkit.