Overcoming Fear and Doubt to Implement Changes in Infrastructure Standards


Kim Stephens provided historical context at UBC conference

In 2007, the University of British Columbia (UBC) led a national initiative that was intended to create a network of experts that collaborate and share their UBC logoexperiences related to rainwater management. Funded by the Canadian Water Network, the kick-off event was held at UBC from June 20 through 22 in 2007 and comprised a pre-conference workshop, conference and field tour.

Building Consensus and Implementing Change

The conference day concluded with this question being posed to a panel of practitioners: Obstacles to innovations; how to introduce changes into stormwater management?

In responding to the challenge posed by this question, Kim Stephens (Program Coordinator, Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Kim stephens (120pixels)Columbia) stated: “Actually, in British Columbia we have moved beyond that question. It symbolizes where our mind-set was during the 2000-2001 period when we literally had to overcome fear and doubt in order to move ahead with projects such as the East Clayton Sustainable Community in Surrey, and UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain.”

“In 2000 and 2001, we were literally hanging on by our fingernails,” explained Stephens. “At the time, it was Patrick Condon who said…”if we fail, it will be a generation before anyone will even have the opportunity to try again; so we must not fail”…Well, we did not fail! And because we succeeded with East Clayton and UniverCity, those hard-fought successes have ultimately made it possible to hold this conference and talk about current successes.”

UBC conference - guidebook cover (180pixels)Stephens drew on the case study content from Chapter 11 in  Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia  to illustrate what is involved in overcoming barriers and accomplishing institutional change. For the complete story on the historical perspective that Stephens provided,  click on Overcoming Fear and Doubt to Implement Changes in Infrastructure Standards.