Towards Water Sustainability on Vancouver Island
Water in the City Conference includes Convening for Action Workshop
A major conference, Water in the City, to be held in Victoria September 17- 20, 2006, will have a broad appeal to those interested in water sustainability issues in their community. The conference, national and international in scope, will be of particular interest to local government officials and senior staff, the development industry, academic sector and community leaders on Vancouver Island.
Under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, a pre-conference workshop is being held on Sunday afternoon, September 17. Titled “Towards Water Sustainability on Vancouver Island”, this workshop is a continuation of a “Convening for Action” initiative on Vancouver Island addressing water and wastewater sustainability issues.
“Attendance at the workshop is by invitation and will have a Vancouver Island focus with the purpose of developing, through dialogue, a Water-Centric Sustainability Audit Checklist to be used by local governments to assess urban development projects”, explained Raymond Fung, Chair of the Water Sustainability Committee of the BC Water & Waste Association (BCWWA).
The workshop is building on the initial success of the “Meeting of the Minds” workshops, which were designed to spark the move from talk to water-centric action on Vancouver Island. This outcome will be achieved through an island-wide communication information exchange network. To launch the networking process, the first “Meeting of the Minds” workshop was held in Parksville in September 2005.
To Learn More:
The second in the series was held in May 2006, again in Parksville. For the complete story, click on Meeting of the Minds forum provides focus for aligning regional efforts.
According to Graeme Bethell, a member of the Steering Committee that spearheaded Meeting of the Minds and is organizing the Convening for Action workshop, “The landscape and livability of Vancouver Island is rapidly being transformed by settlement, economic growth and water supply pressures. This workshop provides the opportunity to participate in a real life process that has relevance to what Vancouver Island may look like in 50 years.”
The workshop will be of particular interest to politicians, regulators, developers, engineers, planners, educators and communities who wish to learn firsthand about what Convening for Action in British Columbia is accomplishing on the ground.
“The purpose of the provincial Convening for Action initiative is to inform governments and others by engaging with ‘communities of interest and place’ on the topic of water stewardship and sustainability”, added Raymond Fung,
“The workshop will be a consultation opportunity for Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. Participant feedback will become input to a proposed Water-Centric Sustainability Audit Checklist and Performance Requirements that will be developed during the workshop and hopefully shared with conference delegates before they leave Victoria.”
“The workshop will incorporate roundtable discussion to facilitate an interactive dialogue”, continued Graeme Bethell, “It will be structured in three parts to address these defining questions: How will Vancouver Island accommodate a doubling of the population? What are communities doing to achieve water sustainability? What can new developments do to integrate and harmonize the development footprint within the watershed context and achieve water sustainability as a condition of land development approval?”
Water Sustainability Action Plan
The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provides a partnership umbrella for an array of on-the-ground intitiatives that promote a ‘water-centric’ approach to community planning. Through a partnership with the Ministry of Environment, program delivery for the Action Plan is being carried out by the Water Sustainability Committee. The Committee is providing the leadership, facilitation and organizational services necessary for successful program implementation.