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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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COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Comox Valley 2020 postponed until October 20-21-22


“The directive from British Columbia’s Chief Medical Health Officer is to cancel events where more than 50 people would be attending. The anticipated registration for Comox Valley 2020 (CV20202) was trending to about 200. In light of that directive, the CV2020) has been postponed until October. We are pleased to announce that the organizing team has secured venue dates at the Filberg Centre,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series, on March 16, 2020.

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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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COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP & CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through the Portage Inlet Cutthroat Initiative.  Do not be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals,” stated Heather Wright, Research Coordinator, World Fisheries Trust


The catalyst for grass-roots action in Portage Inlet was the continuing decline in cutthroat and coho numbers in the Colquitz River and Craigflower Creek. Both systems flow into Portage Inlet and Gorge Waterway in the heart of Victoria. “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through PICI and will continue to be as we progress into the future,” stated Heather Wright. “Each partnership we have has brought something to the table, be it money, expertise or that one connection we were missing to get the job done. The moral of this article is: don’t be afraid of partnering with others to achieve your goals!”

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FRESH WATER SUSTAINABILITY IS IN OUR HANDS: “Collaborative leadership conceptualizes leadership as shared among members, rather than turning to one heroic leader to guide and be the expert. It flows. It changes shape,” stated Dr. Kathy Bishop, School of Leadership Studies, Royal Roads University, on the 10th anniversary of the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ (June 2020)


“Water is a great metaphor for collaborative leadership. It overcomes obstacles with its constant presence; moving over, around or wearing down. Today our world is facing some big challenges, economically, socially, environmentally, politically. Yet it has taken the global tsunami of COVID-19 for us to potentially wake up. In times of crisis, although difficult, beauty can emerge. An opportunity exists in the space between what was and what will be. What will this be for us in British Columbia? Well that depends on every one of us,” stated Kathy Bishop.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: Release of “Re-Inventing Rainwater Management in the Capital Region” was announced at the Bowker Creek Forum by Calvin Sandborn, Legal Director of the Environmental Law Clinic, University of Victoria


“It was both timely and relevant that the UVIC Environmental Law Clinic released Re-Inventing Rainwater Management on the same day that the Bowker Creek Forum was held at UVic. The day forced us to ‘think watershed’ and transcend jurisdictional boundaries. The politicians are listening. Geoff Young, CRD Chairman, stated that ‘cross boundary problems make managing rainwater more difficult, but some of the ideas they have put forward are ones we have started talking about’,” stated Eric Bonham.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “We need to completely reinvent how we deal with storm water. The leaders of the Capital Regional District must take action and establish a rainwater management strategy,” wrote Calvin Sandborn in an Op-Ed published in the Victoria Times-Colonist


“The 21st-century green city is possible. Instead of relying heavily on pipes and concrete, this new approach relies upon soil, trees and open space to naturally absorb, store, evaporate and filter rainwater. This low-impact development approach mimics the natural water cycle,” wrote Calvin Sandborn.

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STITCH TOGETHER ALTERED LANDSCAPES: “We build on the passion and actions of champions by building a culture of stewardship,” states Paul Chapman, Chair, Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series


“The Symposia programs are built around success stories – inspirational in nature, local in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. In short, these precedents can be replicated and/or adapted in other communities. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we look beyond short-term responses and figure out how we will learn from these success stories; and build a sustaining culture of stewardship so that communities do adapt to the new normal caused by COVID 19,” stated Paul Chapman.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY: “Story of the Bowker Creek Forum” – a compendium of six articles provide insight as to why the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-Year Action Plan for restoration of natural function in an urban watershed is precedent-setting and unique; and how it demonstrates the power of collaboration between the local government and stewardship sectors in BC’s Capital Region (February 2010)


Located in the urbanized heartland of the Capital Regional District, the Bowker Creek watershed is shared by three municipalities – Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich. “A desired outcome in holding the Bowker Creek Forum was to share information about successful approaches, so that they could be replicated in other jurisdictions. The forum was a chance for regional organizations, businesses and community members to learn about and celebrate the accomplishments of the Bowker Creek Initiative,” stated Tanis Gower.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “Campbell River’s Rising Seas strategy is our roadmap for coping with a climate change impact. Throughout the planning process, youth outreach was a central pillar,” states Chris Osbourne, Acting Manager of Long Range Planning


“The youth of Campbell River cannot be held responsible for any of this. Yet it is they who will live longest with the ever-worsening effects, and their unborn successor generations yet more so. For this reason we thought any discussion on sea level rise probably ought to include these youths. Backed by a Council policy that states that at least 10% of public input on City projects should be from youth we set out to do just that. The City’s Youth Action Committee was involved at several points,” stated Chris Osborne.

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THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN US TIME TO PAUSE, REFLECT AND SEIZE THE MOMENT: “The French word ‘prevoyant’ has no English equivalent. It is the power of a prepared mind to act upon chance events in a world of deep uncertainty,” wrote George Hanson, President & CEO, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance


“Being ‘stuck in the past’ has always been a liability. Now, as the pace of everything accelerates, it is logical to expect disruption. It is prudent to be nimble and responsive. Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David Hackett Fischer wrote that prevoyant is also ‘learning to make sound judgements on the basis of imperfect knowledge; taking a broad view in projects of large purpose; and thinking for the long run’. It has been said that ‘providence favours a prepared mind’. In business, in life, in community, it has always been beneficial to look ahead. ” stated George Hanson.

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BOWKER CREEK FORUM: Program Overview for an Integrated Approach to Urban Watershed Management – “A rousing opening address by Eric Bonham set the tone for the day. His inspirational ‘call to courage’ was framed around the Mission Possible theme,” stated Kim Stephens, Forum co-organizer (February 2010)


“Over a long period of time, the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI) has demonstrated how to apply a ‘regional team approach’ to urban watershed restoration in the Georgia Basin. The players driving the BCI have brought their shared vision to fruition through development of the Bowker Creek Blueprint.The Bowker Creek Forum on February 23, 2010 was a celebration of the Bowker Creek Blueprint. Because the Blueprint accomplishment is of province-wide significance, the Forum was also an opportunity for inter-regional learning,” stated Kim Stephens

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FLASHBACK TO THE 2010 DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO: The story of Leadership Vancouver Island’s creation and sustenance is a story of leadership in action


Leadership Vancouver Island (LVI) was founded in 2005 in response a growing need for increased leadership capacity within Vancouver Island businesses, organization, and local government. “Our mission is to seek out and cultivate potential and emerging leaders. The program goal is to prepare community leaders across BC to take an active role in moving their communities forward by working with them to foster a better understanding of how the issues impacting their communities are interconnected and by forging stronger relationships among community and regional leaders,” stated Patrick Ross.

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