Water Sustainability Action Plan provides umbrella for “Convening for Action in British Columbia”

“All of us have attended workshops, seminars and conferences where we simply sit and listen all day. And at the end of the day, we go back to our offices and we carry on doing what we were doing. Convening for action…when we are convening in a forum such as the Showcasing Innovation Series, however, it is not just for the sake of listening. Rather, when we leave the forum  we want to use what we have learned so that we can take action and make a difference in our professional lives. That difference is to change the way we develop land,” stater Ray Fung.

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2009 Resilient Cities Conference included a module on the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

Sustainability imperatives, the call for climate action, and the pressure for new approaches in almost every urban system have North American cities scrambling to manage the shift toward ecological practices and greater resilience. “BC is a living laboratory for many of the conference themes at Resilient Cities. This unique two-and-a-half day gathering addresses the challenges that all cities, whether large or small, urban or rural, are facing”, stated Glen Brown. “It includes a module that showcases the Water Sustainability Action Plan for a partnership delivery vehicle for the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives.”

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2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan

Hosted by the City of Surrey, and organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan, the program was built around the HOW question as it pertains to green infrastructure: HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver? “We envisioned that the Surrey Forum would be a transformational event and a catalyst for action. One of our goals is to implement an educational program in Metro Vancouver that would be modelled on the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Series,” stated Raymond Fung.

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2009 Penticton Forum organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan

“The Penticton Forum showcased three regions where communities are ‘convening for action’ and embracing a ‘regional team approach’ to make a difference. Each regional initiative is developing a vision and road map to change the way that land is developed and water is used. The Penticton Forum also showcased web-based provincial tools that have been developed to help communities achieve water sustainability through truly green development,” reports Kim Stephens.

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Creating Our Future: Convening for Action in British Columbia

“We would like to shift the paradigm from boundaries to areas of commonality. The desired outcomes will include inter-departmental collaboration, inter-municipal sharing, and regional alignment. A key message is to view ‘planning’ not as land-zoning function but as a multi-faceted and iterative process that embraces the concept of truly integrated water-centric planning,” states Derek Richmond. “The essence of the regional team approach is that all the players will set their sights on the common good and challenge the old barriers of jurisdictional interests.”

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2009 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Series organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan

“The spotlight is on how to implement the regional team approach – that is, a unified approach from all levels of government. At the end of the day, water is the underpinning of the community, and an integrated watershed approach to settlement is essential,” states Kevin Lorette. “The Comox Valley is demonstrating a ‘regional team approach’ because a convergence of interests has created an opportunity for all the players to set their sights on the common good.”

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