John Finnie, CAVI Chair, named inaugural winner of ‘Leadership in Water Sustainability Award’
Convening for Action on Vancouver Island
The British Columbia Water & Waste Association (BCWWA) has honoured John Finnie with the first Leadership in Water Sustainability Award. The award recognizes his contributions, both as Chair of the Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative (known by the acronym CAVI), and as General Manager of Regional and Community Utilities with the Regional District of Nanaimo.
John Finnie’s Leadership
“As CAVI Chair, John has provided strong and effective leadership for more than three years. His personal/professional credibility has been a key ingredient in establishing the legitimacy of CAVI in the minds of local government politicians and staff. John has been consistent in his vision and input,” stated Jack Bryden, a recent Past-President when he introduced John Finnie at the awards ceremony held in Whistler in May 2010.
“John made it possible for BCWWA to enter into Memoranda of Understanding with the Regional District of Nanaimo, Capital Regional District and Cowichan Valley Regional District for the purposes of these three local governments acting on behalf of BCWWA/CAVI to secure provincial funding from the Smart Development Partnership for the CAVI program.”
Nanaimo Region: Action for Water
“As a member of the RDN Leadership Team, John has been responsible for bringing the RDN’s vision for a Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Action Plan to fruition. To make this a reality, the RDN adopted a new service to coordinate a Region-based drinking water and watershed protection action plan.”
“This is one example of John’s leadership and ability to champion initiatives that support integration, collaboration and sustainability. Because of John’s role, the RDN is now seen as a provincial leader with respect to development and implementation of sustainable water services,” concluded Jack Bryden.
CAVI: Facilitating a Change in Mind-Set
“When we launched CAVI in September 2006, we identified several goals. First and foremost, that by 2010 Vancouver Island would be well on the way to achieving water sustainability”, John Finnie stated afterwards. “Reflecting on what has been accomplished since 2006, the pieces of the puzzle are now in place to make a shared Vancouver Island vision tangible.”
“CAVI defines water sustainability in terms of how we use water, and how water drains off the land. Water sustainability will be achieved by implementing Green Infrastructure policies and practices.”
“The CAVI vision is that we will build and/or rebuild our communities in a way that achieves water sustainability over time. How we get there relies on a change in mind-set. The CAVI role is to facilitate that change.”
Under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan, Convening for Action in British Columbia was formally launched at the Okanagan Conference on the Future of Water, held in Kelowna in February 2005.
By October 2005, the Action Plan had partnered with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to ‘convene for action’ at a sub-regional scale. The partnership enabled the South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy to establish a provincial precedent: the strategy is water-centric.
Starting in September 2006, South Okanagan experience has been successfully adapted by the CAVI initiative. This demonstration program is facilitating change at a regional scale.
Georgia Basin Regional Team Approach
“Over the past three years, CAVI has been effective in getting the message out about the need for a shared vision for Vancouver Island communities; and a consistent Island-wide approach to green infrastructure policies and practices,” states John Finnie.
“Flagship events such as the Bowker Creek Forum, held in Victoria in February 2010, have provided a platform to advance a regional team approach throughout the Georgia Basin. The Bowker Forum drew attention to five watershed-based initiatives in five regional districts. All five are keyed to integration of water and land planning. Each one has established a provincial precedent.”
About the Leadership in Water Sustainability Award
According to Daisy Foster, Chief Executive Officer of the BCWWA, “the purpose of the Leadership in Water Sustainability Award is to recognize those who are leading the way and demonstrating overall commitment to water sustainability in their governance, administration, operations, education, culture and outreach.”
Water Sustainability Action Plan
Leadership in water sustainability must be demonstrated in any or all of four areas that correspond to the four elements of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia:
Innovative Products and Tools
Networking and Outreach
Education and Training
The award was initiated by, and is sponsored by, the Water Sustainability Committee of the BCWWA. “We wish to recognize leadership in water sustainability that is taking place at all levels, from the household to the province. The award is NOT restricted to BCWWA members. It is open to businesses, non-profits, community organizations, utilities, individuals, schools and government agencies,” states Glen Brown, WSC Chair.
Posted May 2010