DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Team Sunshine Coast – A Regional Approach to Water Security” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in October 2022

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart in British Columbia: The Series vision. The edition published on October 11, 2022 featured an interview with outgoing Town of Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish. He shared his perspective on passing the baton to the next Council as well as the importance of the Sunshine Coast Watershed Dialogue, held in November 2021, as an inflection point in a journey.

Team Sunshine Coast – a regional approach to water security

In recent years, the Town of Gibsons has received accolades for being an innovator, pioneering a way forward for “natural asset management”, and inspiring other local governments to embrace responsibility to do more.

In 2014, for example, Gibsons established an accounting precedent that helped change the local government conversation in British Columbia. The Town added an auditor’s note to its Annual Financial Statement recognizing nature as part of the Town’s infrastructure system. Such a simple action, yet so profound in marking a paradigm-shift.

Transformational Moments, Past and Recent

To appreciate the full extent of Town of Gibsons contributions to provincial policy and outcomes over time, one must travel further back in time, to 1999. That was the year the Town co-hosted the Sunshine Coast Forum on Smart Development and Stormwater Management. It was the second in a series of four provincial forums held between January 1999 and March 2001.

Because it was a transformational moment for re-thinking how land is developed, the Sunshine Coast Forum was the lynchpin for a process that led to release of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in 2002. The Guidebook is a foundation piece for the ongoing Beyond the Guidebook initiative that the Partnership for Water Sustainability leads.

Water, our most important natural asset: Fast forward from 1999 to November 2021. The Town organized the Elphinstone-Gibsons Watershed Dialogue. The dialogue brought together a comprehensive group of stakeholders, and included participation by the Partnership, to address security of water supply challenges on the Sunshine Coast. This was a major undertaking, and with a clear call to action.

“The water challenges on the Sunshine Coast affect the overall sustainability of the Sunshine Coast and are expected to worsen for Gibsons. This situation calls for action to protect our most important natural asset, the Elphinstone-Gibsons Watershed and Aquifer,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish when the Town convened the Watershed Dialogue.

What We Do Next:

The watershed and groundwater aquifer that serves the Town of Gibsons is subject to the policies of six different permitting agencies, as well as the multiple land-use decisions made at every touchpoint of a waterdrop’s journey to the ocean. Download a copy of the Mayor’s Note to learn about the set of proposed actions flowing from the Watershed Dialogue.

IMAGE CREDIT: Emanuel Machado, CAO, Town of Gibsons


To read the complete story published on October 11th, 2022, download a PDF copy of “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Team Sunshine Coast – A Regional Approach to Water Security”.