Convening for Action is a “made in BC” framework for building consensus and capacity by creating a picture of what the future can look like, and then showing how to create that future through implementation of design with nature infrastructure regulations and practices. Convening for Action is grounded in the world of local government, recognizes that local government is the level of government that controls land use, and aligns federal/provincial infrastructure programs with local needs.
”In my view, British Columbians truly are innovative. There is a lot happening throughout this province, but the word has not been getting out. People have not been telling their stories. One of the Action Plan outcomes is to celebrate the successes that are happening on the ground,” stated Kim Stephens.
The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provides a partnership umbrella for an array of on-the-ground initiatives that promote a ‘water-centric’ approach to community planning. “I value the important role this partnership is playing in promoting awareness and supporting communities to integrate water management practices with local land use planning and development programs. The ministry continues to provide core funding to support implementation of this Action Plan,” stated BC Environment Minister Barry Penner.
When the British Columbia Water & Waste Association hosted a regional meeting of the American Waterworks Association in September 2006, Kim Stephens was invited to make a presentation on the accomplishments of the Water Sustainability Committee in delivering the Water Sustainability Action Plan. He provided an overview of how the Water Sustainability Committee is facilitating change through collaboration and partnerships with a range of organizations that have an interest in the Action Plan, and especially through a partnership with the Province of British Columbia.
The City of Dawson Creek hosted a workshop titled “Sustainable Planning and Development for Small Communities”, a program developed by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation to help small communities. According to Mayor Calvin Kruk, the workshop was attended by municipalities from throughout the Peace River region.
“Under the Convening for Action banner, stakeholder sessions were held in the South Okanagan to promote water stewardship and to encourage a ‘water balance’ way of thinking within Growth Strategies initiatives,” reported Ray Fung. “A workshop with representatives of the Greater Vancouver Regional Engineers Advisory Committee in May, 2005 was followed by an outreach and education program to promote and showcase local examples of green infrastructure will be conducted in 2006
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) organized and the City of Dawson hosted a workshop on sustainable development in December 2006. “The audience was diverse and represented a broad cross-section of the region,” observed Lance Jakubec. “We had elected officials from the four municipalities. In addition, we had municipal staff and community representatives such as the Dawson Creek Senior Citizens Association, Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Environmental Action Team, and Dawson Creek Beautification Committee.”
Soft Path to Water-Centric Sustainability showcased at the inaugural Building SustainAble Communities Conference
“Sustainability is a buzzword. We hear it daily, but what does it mean in the community context? The conference provided a timely opportunity for three leading British Columnbian proponents of water-centric sustainability to collaborate in explaining what it means to move along the “soft path” of water use in neighbourhoods and communities,” stated Joanne deVries.
Showcasing the Soft Path to Water-Centric Sustainability at the Building SustainAble Communities Conference
“Sustainability is a buzzword. We hear it daily…but what does it mean in the community context? The Building SustainAble Communities conference, held in Kelowna, provided a timely opportunity for three leading British Columnbian proponents of water-centric sustainability to collaborate in explaining what it means to move along the “soft path” of water use in neighbourhoods and communities,” stated organizer Joanne deVries.
“While climate change will be the challenge of this generation — water will be THE critical resource for the 21st Century. We must protect, restore and enhance our understanding of this most fundamental resource. The era of water-centric planning is upon us. Now it is up to all of us to begin balancing our water budget,” stated Oliver Brandes.