Environment Minister Barry Penner singled out the accomplishments of the BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee in delivering the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia through partnerships with his Ministry and others. The Minister’s recognition of the WSC set the stage for a half-day Action Plan session within the main conference program, organized by the WSC in collaboration with the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia
‘Convening for Action on Vancouver Island’ Resonates with Elected Officials at Qualicum Beach Conference
The pre-conference session addressed the question: how does a community weigh the benefits and liabilities of changes driven by demand for land use?
Commencing in 2003, the Ministry of Environment has provided core funding so that the BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee can develop and deliver the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. “Convening for Action pilot programs in the South Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Greater Vancouver are promoting water-centric approaches to community planning and land development,” stated Environment Minister Barry Penner.
“This workshop is the first one organized by the Ministry of Environment for the purpose of bringing together water resource specialists and planners at all levels of government. We hope that it will be the first in a series of annual events,” stated John Denesiger, Workshop Chair.
According to Eric Bonham, the consultation workshop, held as an adjunct to the Water in the City Conference in Victoria, provided a timely opportunity to test and validate an approach that can bridge the gap between talk (interest) and action (practice)in advancing a water-centric approach to community development.
“The Guide will fill a gap because what has been lacking is this – written information on green infrastructure that is written from the perspective of elected officials for elected officials. Before we can write a Communication Guide, we need to understand what elected officials already know plus what they would like to know about green infrastructure. Only then can we judge what level of information transfer will be useful to them,” stated Paul Ham.
“The landscape and livability of Vancouver Island is rapidly being transformed by settlement, economic growth and water supply pressures. This CAVI workshop provides the opportunity to participate in a real life process that has relevance to what Vancouver Island may look like in 50 years,thell.” stated Graeme Bethell.
BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee Partners with the Province to Deliver Water Sustainability Action Plan
“By drawing its members from a diverse range of disciplines and organizations, the committee functions across the boundaries and beyond the historical limits or constraints of the mandates, knowledge and expertise found in specific organizations. One of the criteria for membership is that individuals will feed back the WSC outcomes into their organizations”, added Ray Fung.
“Experience shows that big meetings don’t work in terms of creating change. The program design for Water and Cities is predicated on the realization that moving from talk to action starts with people having a conversation. Spontaneous communication in turn leads to dialogue; and it is dialogue that leads to consensus on what needs to be done,” stated Patricia Gallaugher.
“Here in the Okanagan we are facing our own water issues as a result of unsustainable forms of development that are now leading to unprecedented levels of habitat and species extinction. Equity of access to water is also an issue that is becoming more problematic as water becomes an increasingly scarce resource,” stated John Wagner.