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Leading Change

Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley


“It does not matter how far away you live or build from a creek, lake, bog or the ocean – you are in a watershed. The Comox Valley consists of 26 watersheds. Each of us has a role to play to ensure these watersheds remain healthy for generations to come,” stated Judith Walker, Village of Cumberland planner. “The four local governments in the Comox Valley are striving for consistent application of outcome-oriented actions.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2012: "Partnership for Water Sustainability is doing what government views as good work," stated Cairine MacDonald, former Deputy Environment Minister, when commenting on British Columbia's 'Beyond the Guidebook Initiative'


“The Ministry celebrates the Partnership’s latest success in bringing together four regional districts through an Inter-Regional Education Initiative,” stated Cairine MacDonald. “The Ministry looks forward to aligning efforts with the Partnership to further advance implementation of the ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ initiative. Collaboration across regional districts is the pathway to a consistent approach to water sustainability and green infrastructure policies and practices.”

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Beyond the Guidebook 2015: “This is a true gift to everyone, individually and writ large,” says Erik Karlsen


“This is superlative work. It records so much in visual and conversational ways that everyone who reads it will see how changes are informed and guided towards collaborative action to achieve real results. You have connected the dots enabling those who were part of the stories to see how they have contributed in so many meaningful ways for themselves and their communities of place and practice,” stated Erik Karlsen.

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Delta’s rain garden experience is informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI)


“It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years,” stated Mayor Lois Jackson.

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“Integrate water balance strategies with existing infrastructure strategies to visualise what a ‘resilient future’ would look like," says Australia's Peter Coombes – Systems Thinker, Scientist, Engineer, Problem Solver and Policy Analyst


“A history of top down management of water in Australia was challenged by drought. Concerned citizens called for implementation of bottom up strategies and inclusion in the decision making process. It was an emerging insight that there were no ‘silver bullet’ single solutions for water management. Both bottom-up and top-down approaches were needed,” wrote Peter Coombes.

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Looking at Rainfall Differently: Town of Gibsons "Eco-Asset Strategy" Incorporates Natural Capital in Infrastructure Management


“Natural capital assets, such as green space, aquifers, foreshore area and creeks, can be as effective as engineered (or grey) infrastructure in water management. When considering the civil function that many of our natural assets perform, in many instances at a fraction of the cost of engineered assets, it makes good sense to recognize and manage them in a manner that reflects their true worth,” concluded Dave Newman.

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Design with Nature: Leading change in development practices starts with an understanding of "How We Think"


A key finding of new research by Dr. Iain McGilchrist is that we need to re-learn basically ‘how we think’, using both the Right and Left hemispheres of the brain, to achieve a viable balance between the two types of thinking processes. THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE ‘sees the big, long term picture’ of the world, and THE LEFT HEMISHERE finds ways of putting these ideas gained from the Right Hemisphere, into practice.

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Cowichan Valley 'rainwater brochure' informs and educates property owners about building blocks to healthy watersheds


“Our community is deeply committed to watershed management and stewardship. However, often they are missing the specific tools and information to transform that commitment to concrete actions they can take in their own lives. This often means simple changes to how they develop or care for their properties,” stated Kate Miller. “The purpose of the rainwater brochure is to inform and educate property owners as to how their properties can act like a watershed.”

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Towards a Watershed Health Legacy in the Georgia Basin: Five regional districts collaborate to “Integrate Natural Systems Thinking Into Asset Management”


“The initiative is a unique format for Georgia Basin local governments to learn from each other by sharing approaches and successes in managing our water resources. The program will integrate natural systems and climate change thinking into asset management, as well as demonstrate how local governments can progress along the ‘asset management continuum’ to achieve the goal of sustainable service delivery for watershed systems,” stated Brian Carruthers.

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Application of "Whole Systems Approach" – Watershed protection starts with an understanding of how water gets to a stream….


“When the watershed goal is protection of aquatic resources, two decades ago Richard Horner and Chris May proved that it is necessary to first mitigate ‘changes in hydrology’ – that is, changes in how rainwater reaches streams. The Water Balance Methodology addresses flow path differences, and leads to solutions that would maintain watershed health,” states Richard Boase.

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