Vancouver Island Water

The island is a demonstration region for the ‘regional team approach’. Communicate. Cooperate. Coordinate. Collaborate. Share resources and learn from each other. CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island-Leadership in Water Sustainability, started with a conversation in 2005. Formally launched in September 2006, and funded by government, the form of the initiative has evolved over the years. The program has demonstrated what can be done through partnerships and collaboration.

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CAVI-CONVENING FOR ACTION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “In 2015, with past successes as a foundation and some fresh ideas to guide the way forward, the scope of CAVI as a regional initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC was redefined,” stated John Finnie, Past-Chair

“It started with a conversation. In 2005 a group of similar thinking individuals, recognizing a need to balance economy and ecology with the increasing settlement on Vancouver Island, and the critical importance of water in that equation, gathered in Parksville to have a conversation about water sustainability on Vancouver Island. Within a year, that initial meeting evolved into a movement, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island – Leadership for Water Sustainability, known widely by the acronym CAVI,” stated John Finnie.

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EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN: Comox Valley 2020 Symposium on climate change, collaboration and landscape restoration is the outcome of collaboration involving three non-government organizations that share a vision for reconnecting hydrology and ecology – the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT), the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, and the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership (Join us in the City of Courtenay on April 23-24, 2020)

“The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend Comox Valley 2020,” urges John Finnie, Past-Chair, Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate. “The series is a building blocks process: Nanaimo in 2018; Parksville in 2019; and next, the Comox Valley in 2020. Each event builds on the last and points the way to the next.”

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DOWNLOAD PROGRAM BROCHURE for “Comox Valley 2020: Third Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate –– Climate Change, Collaboration and Landscape Restoration” (April 23-24, 2020)

“In April 2020, the third in the series will further open eyes and minds as to ‘what can be’ – because the Comox Valley has emerged as an incubator region for provincially significant precedents. Collaboration, across sectors and among rightsholders and stakeholders, is essential in order for communities to: mobilize and respond effectively to the present climate emergency; reconnect hydrology and ecology; and demonstrate that restorative land development is attainable,” states Kim Stephens.

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WHOLE-SYSTEM THINKING & ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT: “The only way to approach such a period — where uncertainty is very large and one cannot predict what the future holds – is not to predict, but to act inventively and exuberantly in diverse, adventures in living and experiment,” stated British Columbia’s Buzz Holling (1930-2019), one of the world’s leading ecologists

Buzz Holling had profound and far-reaching influence during his lifetime, having made major contributions to the theory of predation, the concept of ecological resilience, the concept of panarchy, and adaptive management. “The only way to approach such a period — where uncertainty is very large and one cannot predict what the future holds – is not to predict, but to act inventively and exuberantly in diverse, adventures in living and experiment,” said Buzz Holling.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Home Depot in the City of Courtenay established a BC precedent when it implemented a deep deep-well system for injecting rainwater runoff and recharging the underlying groundwater aquifer,” stated the City’s Kevin Lagan when he shared the story with a provincial audience at the ‘From Rain to Resource Workshop’ hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board

“In 2003, the Home Depot development application in the City of Courtenay was to build a store and parking lot covering 90% of a four hectare second growth coniferous forest property,” stated Kevin Lagan. “The City required that post-development rainwater and stormwater flows leaving the site were equal to or less than the pre-development flows. For this property that was effectively zero.” Kevin Lagan described how the developer met this requirement of replacing a forest with impervious areas, and that the solution was successful.

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COMOX VALLEY CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP: “One common forum to promote and advocate for innovative local government policies, strategies and initiatives that support transformative change towards environmental sustainability,” wrote David Stapley and Tim Ennis (Announcement #2, November 2019; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM on April 22-23-24, 2020)

“The Comox Valley conservation and stewardship (ENGO) sector operates in a space outside of government and industry that is firmly rooted in the social fabric of the community and is deeply connected to the land and waters of the Comox Valley through ‘boots on the ground’ experience,” stated David Stapley. “The Comox Valley experience highlights a coordinated approach by the ENGO sector under the umbrella of the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership (CVCP) that brings together over 20 local ENGO and ratepayers associations into one common forum.”

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CALL TO ACTION IN THE GEORGIA BASIN: “Shall we continue with ‘Business as Usual’ or implement ‘Wise Use’?” asks Dr. Howard Macdonald Stewart, author of ‘Views of the Salish Sea: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Change around the Strait of Georgia’ (published in 2017)

“It is not mere coincidence that two-thirds of the population of British Columbia occupies lands bordering its great inland sea, the Strait of Georgia, and connected waterways collectively known as the North Salish Sea,” wrote Howard Macdonald Stewart. “If this precious sea is to be passed to future generations with any semblance of its inherent richness and diversity intact, then it will need to be effectively managed and vigorously defended. The first step is to understand the complex story of the region.”

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COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM ON WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE (April 23-24, 2020): An inter-regional perspective on why the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is viewed as an incubator region in British Columbia for collaboration precedents (Announcement #1, November 2019)

“Our model as a conservation partnership is very unique in British Columbia,” states Tim Ennis, Executive Director, Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. “There are at least six other conservation partnerships, but to the best of my knowledge we are the only one that focuses on local government. The Comox Valley Conservation Partnership brings together 23 different local groups and associations in one common forum to work proactively with local governments.”

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REGIONAL TEAM APPROACH IS FOUNDED ON PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION: “The Comox Valley regional team was ahead of the curve when, in 2011, we turned our minds to tackling the challenge of articulating a regional response to infrastructure liability,” stated Derek Richmond in his 2017 presentation to the Comox Valley Regional Board, and honouring the contribution of CAO Debra Oakman

Debra Oakman served as Chief Administrative Officer of the Comox Valley Regional District from 2008 until mid-2017. Her early and strong support for demonstrating the benefits of the ‘regional team approach’ in the Comox Valley was instrumental in helping to lay the foundation for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. Comprising 5 regions within the Georgia Basin, the IREI is a unique mechanism for sharing and learning among local governments; and for building understanding to implement a whole-system approach to land development.

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FLASHBACK TO 2017: Climate Change, Nature’s Services & Thinking Like a Watershed—the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium was an energizing moment; ripple effects included being the catalyst for an inter-regional conversation that resulted in the launch of the “Vancouver Island Symposia Series: Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate” in 2018

“The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values. With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices,” stated David Stapley. “The Eco-Assets Symposium promoted measures that capture the value of ecological assets to address infrastructure and climate change issues by integrating them into land use planning and practice.”

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