The mission of the Water Sustainability Action Plan is to facilitate the move toward a more sustainable approach to water resource management. “In 2006, a notable highlight was conducting a consultation workshop to launch ‘Convening for Action on Vancouver Island’,” wrote Ray Fung, Chair.
“In moving towards water sustainability, we envision that developers that balance settlement and ecology will be rewarded. Because time is money, we believe that environmental environments can be paid for through money saved as a result of faster approval times”, stated Graeme Bethell. “Because we believe that Vancouver Island has all the ingredients in place for success, we believe that it will emerge as a water sustainability pilot for North America.”
“The CAVI vision is that water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. The CAVI role is to provide venues which create opportunities to start conversations that will ultimately lead to action. CAVI is facilitating the move from awareness (interest) to action(practice) in changing where and how land is developed, how water is used, and how water runs off the land,” stated John Finnie.
2007 Creating Our Future Workshop organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan
The workshop addressed this question: how does a community weigh the benefits and liabilities of changes driven by demand for land use? “What will determine the long-term wellbeing for a community or region? In a nutshell, ‘wellbeing’ is about sustainability of what communities allow or prevent happening on the land. Wellbeing is about balancing settlement activity…or change…and ecology,” stated Tim Pringle.
2007 Metro Vancouver Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan
Events were hosted by Delta, Langley Township and UniverCity. “When you have examples of what can be done, and projects are being built, you can then wrap your mind around the green infrastructure vision and say to yourself: what’s the big deal….this is really common sense….if we can do this, then we can do more,” stated Mayor Lois Jackson. “The Showcasing Innovation Series is a major priority for me because this is where it happens. Later this morning I will be chairing a meeting of the Metro Vancouver Board, and I will tell them about where I was this morning. And I will get them excited about hosting showcasing events in their municipalities too.”
2007 Vancouver Island Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan
“Like most other areas on Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley is at a major cross-roads as to how we will develop and still maintain the natural beauty of our community. This is a real challenge.We are experiencing phenomenal growth. So we are really depending on the practitioners to keep us grounded and realistic so that growth will be sustainable,” stated Starr Winchester, Chair of the Comox-Strathcona Regional District. ““Local government leaders are telling our staffs that we want to be a sustainable community tomorrow,” she stated. “We are not being so unrealistic as to ask for this yesterday.”
“The conference provided an opportunity to broaden awareness within BCWWA of how the committee is implementing its work plan through partnerships with the Province and other organizations. Desired outcomes for water sustainability and green infrastructure are common to both, and can be achieved through infrastructure standards that reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water,” stated Kim Stephens. “The WSC and Green Infrastructure Partnership collaborated to organize the Action Plan session because desired outcomes for water sustainability and green infrastructure are common to both.”
“The objective when ‘convening for action’ is to influence practitioners to learn about and use practices that better balance the necessary relationships of settlement activity and ecological assets in local and regional landscapes. A critical issue is where to put the settlement so there will be the least damage to ecological assets,” stated Tim Pringle. “The CAVI program, for example, will integrate with other groups, move ‘green value’ from concept to practice, and encourage the introduction of a ‘design with nature’ way of thinking into local government decision processes.”
Working Towards Sustainable Communities: Green Infrastructure Partnership and Water Sustainability Committee Collaborate at 2007 BCWWA Annual Conference
“The British Columbia landscape is being transformed by settlement and economic growth. While the province has been experiencing enhanced social and economic well-being, the need to mitigate pressures on land and water resources has provided a driver for a ‘green infrastructure’ movement that is water-centric and is founded on a natural systems approach,” stated Paul Ham. Infrastructure design is changing. Cumulative benefits are achievable, one property at a time, through changes in the policies, programs, practices and standards that determine how land is developed and water is used.
Minister of Environment Praises Accomplishments of Water Sustainability Committe at 2007 BCWWA Annual Conference
“As Minister responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities, I place a high priority on fostering water stewardship and individual responsibility. By sharing information, promoting water awareness and supporting communities, I believe we can develop a culture of water conservation across the province. Under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan, 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 Barry Penner, BC Minister of the Environment.