DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Role of the Community Leader as Catalyst” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC in May 2022


Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate; and embrace “design with nature” approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes. 

The edition published on on May 3, 2022 featured Ian Graeme, community leader and founder of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society in the Capital Regional District on Vancouver Island. His vision and energy inspired others and created the early momentum that galvanized support for implementation of the 100-Year Action Plan to daylight Bowker Creek.

The Right People at the Right Time

When interviewed in 2010 about the genesis of the Bowker Blueprint, founding Bowker Creek committee members Ian Graeme and Chris Jensen both emphasized the crucial role played by Rob Miller, former Supervisor of the Capital Regional District’s Stormwater Quality Program.

“Ian Graeme was the key community leader and Rob Miller the key government leader. Through their collaboration, they started the trickle which has led to the flood of momentum,” stated Chris Jensen.

“Collaboration works both ways. Rob needed community support to be effective in his job and Ian showed that there was a community voice. Together they worked to create the Bowker Creek Forum in 2002. This event was the start of the real coordinated effort.”

“Effective community engagement depends on involving people in decisions, sharing responsibility, and making them more accountable. This includes engaging generations, old and new. Our connection to the past should inform the future,” emphasized Ian Graeme.

An Interview with Ian Graeme

“In September 2021, the Partnership for Water Sustainability released Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Bowker Creek Blueprint is a Beacon of Inspiration. It is not a report. Rather, it is a short history of building bridges of understanding from the past to the present and future,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership for Water Sustainability Executive Director.

“The focus is on the champions – within local governments and in the community. These dedicated individuals provide leadership and motivate others to strive for the greater good. Without determined champions such as Ian Graeme, nothing gets started and nothing happens.”

“The Bowker Blueprint is the outcome of a unique multi-jurisdictional effort. The Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative (BCI) is a collaboration between local governments, community groups, post-secondary institutions, and private citizens to improve the stream and creekshed.”

“In the concluding section of A Beacon of Inspiration, Ian Graeme provided his reflections on the Bowker process and journey over three decades.”

Reconnecting kids with Bowker Creek

The Bowker Creek Blueprint is a 100-year action plan to peel back the pavement, daylight an historical creek, and restore nature within the Victoria urban region on Vancouver Island. There is no equal, anywhere, to the Bowker Creek Blueprint,” continued Kim Stephens.

“The 100-year action plan is about an intergenerational commitment to creating islands of nature within the urban environment and restoring a ribbon of blue. The players comprise government and community. All embrace shared responsibility.”

“Municipal parks tend to be manicured settings,” observed Ian Graeme during the interview. “However, there is an increasing recognition of the value of nature within cities as well. Bowker is an example of where, over time, communities can create an ‘emerald necklace’ running through the urban Greater Victoria region.”

“Imagine if kids could once again touch the creek and walk through it in their bare feet. And all within walking distance! The daylighting feasibility study shows what is technically possible in creating the emerald necklace.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story about Ian Graeme’s reflection, download a PDF copy  of “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Role of the Community Leader as Catalyst”, published on May 3rd 2022.