FLASHBACK TO 2007: “Practitioners in local government are not necessarily aware when they are being innovative and are not often aware of innovation in other municipalities,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island

Note to Reader:

The projected growth of Vancouver Island and resulting cumulative impacts are drivers for reassessing where and how land is developed, and water is used. To promote a new way-of-thinking related to infrastructure policies and practices, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island organized Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series.

CAVI was supported by the Green Infrastructure Partnership in undertaking the Series. The 2006 pilot program was held in Metro Vancouver. In 2007, parallel series were held on both sides of the Georgia Basin on alternating Fridays during the September/October period.

The 2007 Series was launched in Nanaimo and co-hosted by the Regional District of Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo. 

Context for Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation

“There are a lot of good things happening in communities throughout Vancouver Island, but those stories had not been getting out,” stated Kim Stephens in 2007. At the time, his role was Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. Today, he is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

Through many one-on-one conversations, we found those stories; and then we pulled together a partnership of three regional districts and their member municipalities to host a series of one-day events on Vancouver Island.

“The goal in showcasing innovation and celebrating successes is to promote networking, build regional capacity, and move ‘from awareness to action’ – through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned as an outcome of designing with nature.”

Connecting People: It Starts with a Conversation

“There are indeed a lot of good things happening throughout Vancouver Island,” stated John Finnie in 2007 at the launch event of the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series. At the time. he was the General Manager of Regional and Community Utilities at the Regional District of Nanaimo. He was also CAVI Chair (2006-2011).

“Yet practitioners in local government are not necessarily aware when they are being innovative and are not often aware of innovation in other municipalities. Because people are so busy in their own worlds, it takes a third party to connect them. That is the role that CAVI plays.

“The CAVI vision for Vancouver Island is catching on. There is increasing interest. The turnout today is an indicator of the interest. We had a wait list for seats on the bus.”

“We believe a key to the success of CAVI is that we are talking to people, not preaching at them. Our approach is to inform and educate. We do this by creating situations for  people to have conversations. Like today.

“The CAVI role is to plant seeds and start the conversations that will lead to action,” concluded Finnie, “We are encouraging people to move from conversations to dialogue, and to learn from the experience of each other.”

2007 Series attracted local governments and other stakeholders from Campbell River south to Victoria

Each event comprised presentations in the morning and a tour of project sites in the afternoon. Each event was unique.

“The Showcasing Innovation Series creates pride and enables local governments to tell their stories in a way that no other forum currently provides,” observed Kim Stephens in 2007. “A Showcasing Innovation event is not a conference. Neither is it a workshop nor seminar in the conventional sense. Rather the purpose of the presentations is to whet the appetites of participants for the site tour that follows. The quality one-on-one conversations take place on the bus and when we go for a walkabout.”

To Learn More:

Download Summary Report on Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series