To understand where we are heading, we need to understand where we have come from. Historical context is important. The ‘design with nature’ paradigm is borrowed from the seminal book by Ian McHarg because it captures the essence of climate change adaptation. His 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning. Adaptation is about responding to the changes that will inevitably occur. Adaptation is at the community level and is therefore about collaboration. Since 2004, the Action Plan has championed the way-of-thinking and acting embodied in the phrase ‘design with nature’.
Turning Ideas Into Action
“Convening for Action is our mantra. When we gather, it is for a purpose. There must be an action item or an outcome. Our aim is to move from talk to action by developing tools, building capacity, and providing training,” states Ray Fung. He was Chair of the Water Sustainability Committee when it developed the Action Plan in partnership with the Province. The Convening for Action vision is that water sustainability in British Columbia will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies, practices and standards.
“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.
“Settlement and ecology are equal values and they must be as much in balance as possible for wellbeing of human and natural systems. Settlement is human actitivity of any kind upon the land. It is habitation. Ecology is natural systems. It is water, climate, flora and fauna…and their relationships. While we are very good at measuring settlement, mainly in financial terms, we have not been that effective in quantifying the ecological impacts. This disconnect in measuring what matters has historically resulted in an unbalanced approach when making development and infrastructure decisions,” stated Tim Pringle.
2010 UBCM Annual Convention provided forum for reporting out on implementation success of Water Sustainability Action Plan
“Because our vision is to advance water-centric green infrastructure, it was essential that we have high-level political endorsement. In 2003, UBCM provided us with a high-profile platform at its Urban Forum.,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “Seven years later, the 2010 UBCM Annual Convention provided us with a platform to showcase we what have accomplished on the ground under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. Glen Brown and Raymond Fung provided the provincial and local government perspectives, respectively.”
Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia: ‘ISMP Course Correction Series’
“Cities are all about choices – choices that become reality very quickly, with lasting consequences. Over the 21st century -the urban century – much will depend on getting the choices right,” stated former Premier Mike Harcourt. The 5-part series is designed to inform local governments and others about the paradigm-shift to landscape-based ‘RAINwater’ from pipe-and convey ‘STORMwater’; and what this means for watershed-based planning. The series highlights insights gained by local government leaders who have ISMP experience.
“The rolling 6-month average exceeds 4000 visits per month. We attribute this large jump to the cumulative enhancements that we have been systematically implementing over the past two years. These enhancements encompass both technology fixes and content evolution,” states Mike Tanner, Chair. “Google Analytics has enabled us to monitor how our target audiences respond to weekly e-news releases. We are always learning and adapting based on feedback from the user community.”
“Convening for Action is a framework that brings stakeholders together, supported by the province, but led by local government. Collaboration and integration is a true bottom-up approach that identifies the issue and then seeks to address it through the alignment of all stakeholders, with emphasis on local government needs,” stated Glen Brown. “The philosophy behind the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC is quite simple: bring local and regional stakeholders together where there is a desire and energy to make some form of change.”
Moving Toward a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in British Columbia: Vision and Mission for Achieving Water Sustainability
“The vision of the Partnership is that water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. The Partnership mission is to facilitate change,” stated Tim Pringle, President. “The Partnership is a legal entity. This opens the door to new opportunities to build on the foundation provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.”
Moving Toward a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in British Columbia: Goals and Objectives for Achieving Water Sustainability
“Establish partnerships with those who share a vision to add the 'water dimension' to community planning and land development, and to promote change at four scales – region, neighbourhood, site and building,” said Kim Stephens. “Build support for a paradigm-shift in British Columbia that, over time, will result in water being at the heart of decision-making for human activities. Promote an ecosystem approach to protecting water resource health that recognizes that what the cell is to the body, the site is to the region.”