2010 ANNUAL UBCM CONVENTION: “The philosophy behind the Water Sustainability Action Plan is quite simple: bring local and regional stakeholders together where there is a desire and energy to make some form of change,” stated Glen Brown when he provided a provincial perspective on a ‘top-down & bottom-up’ strategy for urban watershed restoration (September)
Note to Reader:
Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia introduced a framework for building partnerships and demonstrating what can be achieved through a ‘top-down & bottom-up strategy’ that aligns efforts at the provincial, regional and local scales to respond and adapt to a changing world.
2010 was a ‘watershed year’ for the Water Sustainability Action Plan, with outreach taking place at 10 major events in three regions, to provide peer-based learning for Living Water Smart, Building Greener Communities, and Adapting to a Changing Climate. The fifth of these events was a study session in September 2010, hosted by the Union of BC Municipalities at its annual convention. held in Whistler ……
The convention theme was “Forging Gold Standards” in keeping with the spirit of the Winter Olympics earlier in the year. A half-day water-centric study session that addressed climate change adaptation attracted 188 Mayors and Councillors. Three provincial initiatives were profiled:
- BC’s Water Act Modernization Process
- Provincial Drought Response Plan
- the Water Sustainability Action Plan.
This gathering of elected representatives commenced the formal rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia, with Glen Brown and Ray Fung providing the provincial and local government perspectives, respectively.
To Learn More:
Download a copy of the Agenda for the study session on Sustainability Planning and Practices.
To read the complete story of stories posted elsewhere on the Convening for Action community-of-interest, click on 2010 UBCM Annual Convention
Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia
The Partnership’s outreach spotlight in 2010 was on the release and rollout of the second in the Beyond the Guidebook series of guidance documents for rainwater management and restoration of hydrologic function in urban watersheds.
Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in June 2002, laid the groundwork for ‘designing with nature’ to create greener communities, live water smart and prepare for climate change. Beyond the Guidebook 2010 built on the Guidebook foundation and illustrated how breakthroughs happen when decision-makers in government collaborate with grass-roots visionaries in the community.
Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how a ‘convening for action’ culture has taken root in British Columbia. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. Their action-oriented focus has resulted in ‘how to do it’ examples that help decision-makers visualize what ‘design with nature’ policy goals look like on the ground.
To Learn More:
Key Message #1: Embracing Shared Responsibility Leads to Outcome-Oriented Actions
Beyond the Guidebook 2010 synthesized a set of ten guiding principles that provide a framework for a successful local government implementation process. Ray Fung spoke to these principles in his part of the integrated presentation.
Shared responsibility is a foundation piece for Beyond the Guidebook 2010. The law and policy component of the Outreach & Continuing Education Program described in the document produced a decision support tool that was branded as the Shared Responsibility Matrix.
“So, what we mean by shared responsibility is that everyone has a role, and everyone can act…. all levels of government, developers, regulators, bureaucrats, consultants, planners, engineers…. we all have a role,” stated Ray Fung.
Key Message #2: Action Plan provides neutral forums for advancing a ‘Regional Team Approach’
The Province of British Columbia has provided a ‘design with nature’ policy framework that enables local governments to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with ecology. A key message in Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is that the future desired by all will be created through alignment of federal, provincial and local policies and actions.
“The philosophy behind the Water Sustainability Action Plan is quite simple: bring local and regional stakeholders together where there is a desire and energy to make some form of change,” explained Glen Brown when he elaborated on the ‘regional team approach’.
“As we move forward with the Action Plan, it is making sure that we provide the people on the ground with the tools and resources that they need to help support action at the local level.”
“A top-down approach does not work. It is all about being bottom-up… that is to say, the regional team approach. When a community shows interest or a desire to move something forward, that is when we mobilize. The Action Plan purpose is to engage, listen, understand and support the local interests in moving forward. That is where we have been successful.”