Kevin Lagan: A legacy of rainwater management leadership and innovation in the Comox Valley


Kevin Lagan (centre), retiring City of Courtenay City Engineer, receives Lifetime Membership in the Partnership from Kim Stephens (right) while Courtenay CAO David Allen (left) observes


A Champion for “CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island”

In June 2013, Kevin Lagan retired from local government after 20 years of service with the City of Courteny as Director of Operational Services. His professional career commenced in England and spanned 47 years. To learn more about his career, click here to download a newspaper article.

“I have welcomed the opportunities the City has offered me over the years, and I enjoyed being part of an excellent team of local government employees and City Council elected officials. I am grateful to have been able to live and work in the Comox Valley and serve the public during the past 20-year period,” stated Kevin Lagan.


Vision for Settlement, Ecology & Economy in Balance

“Kevin Lagan was an early champion of both the Water Balance Model and CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiatives in 2003 and 2007, respectively. The success of each has contributed to the success of the other,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“Commencing with the 2007 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series, his vision has guided collaboration of local government staff in the Comox Valley. Their collaboration is now formalized as the CAVI-Comox Valley Leadership Team.

“Kevin’s ability to align the CAVI vision with pragmatic ‘on the ground’ solutions has been much appreciated by the CAVI team and community alike, contributing as it has to the adoption of long term sustainability planning in the Comox Valley,” adds Eric Bonham, a former Director in the Ministries of Environment and Municipal Affairs, and a founding member ofthe CAVI Leadership Team.

“The essence of the Comox Valley story is that the collaboration among four local governments and the stewardship sector has taken the CAVI mantra ‘settlement, ecology and economy in balance’, and has made it real to people.”


Water Balance Model Leadership and Innovation

“Inspired by what he learned in 2003 at the inaugural Water Balance Model training workshop for local government Partners, Kevin Lagan was responsible for two subsequent precedents that helped to advance the Water Balance way-of-thinking in BC,” recalls Ted van der Gulik, Chair ofthe Water Balance Model Partnership (and Senior Engineer with the Ministry of Agriculture.

“In early 2004, the City of Courtenay was the first BC municipality to adopt an ‘absorbent soil policy’ for capturing rain where it falls. This was an important foundation piece in a process that eventually culminated in development of a Topsoil Bylaws Toolkit, a provincial guidance document released in 2012.”

“Also in 2004, the Home Depot project in Courtenay was one of the earliest applications of the Water Balance Model. Home Depot established a BC precedent when it implemented a deep deep-well system for injecting rainwater runoff and recharging the underlying groundwater aquifer.”


To Learn More:

Click on Innovation in the Comox Valley: First Wal-Mart, Then Home Depot, posted on the Water Bucket in October 2007 — The Wal-Mart development in the City of Courtenay precipitated the beginning of a major change in how the City administers the zoning/development/approval process, collaborates with other agencies and also manages the rainwater resource.

To mimic the Water Balance, the Home Depot in the City of Courtenay has a deep well injection system designed for the first 20mm of rainfall


Showcasing Green Innovation on Vancouver Island

“In early 2007, Kevin’s enthusiastic support was crucial to getting the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series off the ground,” continues Kim Stephens. “The CAVI Leadership Team had a concept for bringing together three regional districts – Comox-Strathcona, Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley – to co-host a showcasing day with member municipalities. Kevin did not hesitate. He committed immediately.”

“The rest is history. The success of the 2007 Showcasing Series was the springboard for all that has followed. The Showcasing Series established the credibility of CAVI in the eyes and minds of local government. That made it possible for us to build a peer support network on Vancouver Island.”




A Water-Centric Approach to Land Development in the Comox Valley

“Through collaboration, the four Comox Valley local governments are now striving for a coordinated approach to watershed-based rainwater management in the Comox Valley and across boundaries. There is region-wide commitment to develop Watershed Blueprints. Kevin’s leadershiphelped make this possible,” states Derek Richmond, CAVI Chair and Manager of Engineering with the City of Courtenay.

“In a very real sense, Kevin’s ultimate legacy resides in the soon-to-be released A Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley. He has imparted his vision to others, and this reflected in the Guide. It establishes expectations for watershed management and identifies initiatives and tools to achieve watershed goals.”



City of Courtenay – Charter Member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

“Kevin has played an important role in building CAVI credibility in the local government setting. This credibility was a critical consideration in the decision to incorporate the Partnership as a not-for-profit society in November 2010. The City of Courtenay is a charter member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability,” emphasizes Tim Pringle, Partnership President.

“Looking ahead, we wish Kevin well in his retirement from the City of Courtenay, and we hope that he will choose to continue ‘the mission’ and be proactively involved in the CAVI program so that future generations will have the opportunity to benefit from his experience and wisdom.”

“We have Kevin on a YouTube video in 2010 at the Nanaimo Region Water Pricing Workshop when he stated his desire to continue his CAVI involvement after retirement. We have reminded him of that pledge!,” concludes Kim Stephens. 


To Learn More:

Kevin Lagan is passionate about what he does, and about the future. “I see local government being at a major crossroads. There are magnificent opportunitesKevin lagan (120p) waiting for us, now and for 10, 20 years in the future,” stated Kevin at the conclusion of the 2010 workshop.

To learn why Kevin believes this to be the case, click on a local government perspective on creating a legacy and view a 2 1/2 minute video clip of Kevin Lagan speaking from the heart.