VANCOUVER GAINING GROUND SUMMIT: “When we gather it is for a purpose; there must be an outcome”, stated Kim Stephens when he explained the philosophy driving the Convening for Action in British Columbia, a program of the Partnership for Water Sustainability (October 2010)
Convening for Action at the 2010 Gaining Ground Summit
The 2010 Gaining Ground Conference was targeted to practitioners and advocates across a range of fields working to advance and accelerate urban sustainability- in Vancouver and North America.
The vision for Gaining Ground 2010 was to promote Vancouver’s green economy, vision, culture, and achievements, and in all ways to assist Vancouver to become North America’s first ‘eco-logical’ city – making it a front-runner in green practice and economy much as it has been in urban design and city-making for two decades.
In that regard, the conference was also designed to solidify Vancouver’s image as an urban sustainability transaction hub…the ‘head office’ for the exchange and presentation of green city knowledge and innovation.
The Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, a major sponsor of the Gaining Ground Conference series, hosted a reception on October 6 at the Segal Centre. Guest speakers were Anna Warwick Sears (Okanagan Basin Water Board) and Kim Stephens (Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC).
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Convening for Action in British Columbia
“Kim Stephens is an engineer-planner. His four decades of experience cover the spectrum of water resource and infrastructure engineering issues. He has had a leadership role in a series of Provincial initiatives in British Columbia related to water sustainability, rainwater management and green infrastructure,” stated Karin Kirkpatrick, Foundation CEO, when she introduced Kim Stephens.
“Kim has received international recognition for his pioneering efforts and has been invited to speak on ‘the British Columbia experience’ and make keynote presentations at forums in Australia and throughout North America.”
The Power of the Conversation
“One reaches a point in one’s career and one’s life when talk is not enough… it is the action, the outcome (that is important). Convening for action is our branding. When we gather, it is for a purpose. There must be an outcome,” stated Kim Stephens.
“Convening for action as a provincial initiative has evolved over the last five years. We started in the South Okanagan because there was a regional growth strategy and Smart Growth on the Ground in the town of Oliver. We experienced the power of the conversation and how people come together.”
“By 2006, we were ready to go a bigger scale. We said let’s take on a whole region. That became Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. We applied the lessons that we learned in the South Okanagan. We asked the question: what do we want this place to look like in 50 years?”
“It has been one conversation at a time. It is not ‘talking at’ people. It is about facilitating the conversation. Somebody has to provide an excuse to bring people together. Local government people started talking to each other and sharing. We started seeing ripple effects. The land ethic has started to change. It does not happen overnight.”
Watch the video to view the remarks by Kim Stephens in their entirety (6 minutes):