FLASHBACK TO 2009: Penticton Forum showcased “Smart Planning and Living Water Smart: Approaches and Tools for Doing Business Differently in British Columbia”


Note to Reader:

In April 2009, the Penticton Forum showcased three regions — Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver — where communities are ‘convening for action’ and embracing a ‘regional team approach’ to make a difference. Each regional initiative is developing a vision and road map to change the way that land is developed and water is used.

The Forum was held as an adjunct to the Annual Conference of the BC Water & Waste Association, and was hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board and three provincial ministries (Environment, Agriculture, and Community Development). The Forum attracted close to 80 participants from communities around the province, including a contingent of Okanagan elected representatives.

Build a Vision, Create a Legacy

“In 2009, our Convening for Action vision in organizing the Penticton Forum was that this flagship event would prove to be a transformational event that inspires participants to do better. Creating a lasting legacy requires sustained commitment to make things happen. The Penticton Forum was not the be-all and end-all; rather, it was an important milestone in advancing a regional team approach that aligns local actions with provincial goals for the common good,” recalls Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

“The over-arching theme for the BCWWA conference was Working Together – Encompassing Communities. So, Patrick Condon and Vic Derman, two respected British Columbians, were invited to share their sustainability visions with Forum participants. They provided the book-ends for the day, with Patrick opening and Vic closing. Both were compelling in addressing this question: What do we want British Columbia to look like in 50 years and beyond?”

To Learn More:

The Forum program comprised four modules. For an overview, click on Lesson Plan – Outline of What We Want to Achieve

The program overview is complemented by an explanatory document that tells a succinct story about each module in order to provide the reader with context. To download a copy, click on A Set of Mini-Abstracts for Penticton Forum Modules.

For more specific program details about the educational objectives and desired outcomes for each of the four modules, click on A Mind-Map for Sharing and Learning at the Penticton Forum to download a matrix that elaborates on: Objective / What Do You Know? / What Do You Want to Know? / What Have You Learned?

Flagship Event Showcased Partnerships, Collaboration, Innovation and Integration

The Penticton Forum showcased how partnerships, collaboration, innovation and integration are helping local governments in three regions (Vancouver Island, Okanagan and Metro Vancouver) make the best choices for living water smart. Communities are ‘convening for action’ and embracing a ‘regional team approach’ to make a difference. Each regional initiative is responding to this challenge:

How do we align our efforts at three scales – provincial, regional and local – to do business differently, prepare communities for change, and choose to be water smart?

The Penticton Forum also showcased web-based provincial tools that have been developed to help communities achieve water sustainability through truly green development. These tools include the Waterbucket Website, Water Balance Model, Water Conservation Calculator, Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, Irrigation Water Demand Model, and Okanagan Irrigation Management Tool.

Regional Team Approach

“The Province’s Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives have provided a framework and direction for convening for action in the Okanagan, on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver. Each regional initiative is developing a vision and road map for achieving settlement in balance with ecology,” stated Glen 2008 learning lunch pilot - glen brown (120p)Brown when announcing that three provincial ministries and the Okanagan Basin Water Board would be co-hosting the Penticton Forum. He is an Executive Director with the Ministry of Community Development and the Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.

“The forum program was organized as four modules, and was built around two themes that were intertwined, namely: ‘creating our future’ and ‘doing business differently’. While each module was stand-alone, they awee linked. First, we defined the challenge. Then we told the stories of what was already taking place on-the-ground in the Okanagan and Georgia basins. We concluded by presenting a blueprint for action.”

“Released in June 2008, Living Water Smart encourages local governments to do business differently, prepare communities for change, and choose to be water smart,” added Lynn Kriwoken, the Province’s lead person for implementing Living Water Smart. In 2009, she was the Director for Innovation and Planning in the Water Stewardship Division of 2008 learning lunch pilot - lynn kriwoken (120p)the Ministry of Environment. She is now an Executive Director.

“A key message in Living Water Smart is that green development makes sense. New thinking about development leads to new benefits. These include more green spaces, more water and fish in the streams, improved community vitality, reduced demand for water, and reduced expenditure on infrastructure.”

“Creating a lasting legacy means bringing together those who plan and regulate (local government), those who build (developers), those who provide the legislative framework (the Province), those who do research (universities and colleges), and those who advocate conservation of resources (the stewardship sector). We describe this as the regional team approach,” emphasizes Kim Stephens.

The Story of the Penticton Forum

Leading up to the Forum, a series of downloadable documents were published on the waterbucket.ca website. These stories progressively connected the dots and described the elements of the Forum program in order to establish participant expectations. Briefly:

The six are consolidated in a stand-alone document titled Convening for Action and Making Green Choices in British Columbia: The Story of the 2009 Pentiction Forum.