Outreach is a Powerful Tool: Tell the Story of the “Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint”
Note to Reader:
In Metro Vancouver, the spotlight is on a “course correction” in the way Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (i.e. “ISMPs”) are developed and implemented. The Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint is a demonstration application of the “ISMP Course Correction”. North Vancouver is showing how to leverage more with the same resources.
ISMPs are a regulatory requirement as spelled out in the Metro Vancouver region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan. When the Environment Minister approved the plan in May 2011, he also imposed requirements that link land use planning to the direction provided by the ISMPs. The conditions of plan approval focus attention on the how the degree, type and location of land development can affect the long-term health of watersheds.
A Communication Goal: Generate Awareness of Watershed Vision
“Currently, we face a communications challenge. The public is unaware that there is a regulatory requirement to develop ISMPs. And the Hastings Creek Streamkeepers is the only community group that is proactively involved and contributing to Blueprint development,” states Susan Haid, Manager of Sustainable Community Development.
“The consultation process around ‘form options’ for the Lynn Valley Town Centre therefore provides the District with a timely opportunity to connect dots. We have a magic moment when we can generate awareness of how all the puzzle pieces in the Watershed Vision fit together.”
Capture Attention & Engage the Community
“The Hastings Creek Blueprint provides the tools to tell a story and share information with our residents. This is important because there are so many items competing for people’s time which is a finite resource. We want to be able to share information and engage the community”, continues Julie Pavey, Section Manager for Environmental Sustainability.
“One of the ways to foster more sustainable behavior and the protection of watersheds such as Hastings Creek is to engage residents so that they feel connected personally to their watershed. It is not a matter of only saying what the District can do for the watershed. Rather, it must be all the stakeholders. We have started the process with collaboration with the Streamkeepers who are already engaged.”
“Looking forward, the District has established policies which will enable development review and approval processes to play a key role in implementing the Water Balance Model Express. If we get the big picture right, we can all work together through a series of smaller actions that over time will make the vision for Hastings Creek watershed a reality,” concludes Julie Pavey.
Tell the Story of the Hastings Creek Blueprint
“It is important that we seize opportunities to tell the Hastings Creek story,” adds Gavin Joyce, the District’s General Manager for Engineering, Parks and Facilities. “It is also essential that we communicate why and how we are being successful. If we all tell the story, then people will become energized in the re-telling.”
“In telling the Hastings Creek story, a key message is that redevelopment of the watershed represents an opportunity to make things better and restore hydrological and ecological functions,” concludes Susan Haid.
To Learn More:
To read the context for what Julie Pavey has to say about the Hastings Creek experience, click on Reflect and Look Ahead to download Section 9 of “A Watershed Blueprint for Hastings Creek”.
To download and read the complete document, click on A Watershed Blueprint for Hastings Creek: Creating the Future in the District of North Vancouver.