‘Convening for Action on Vancouver Island Partnership’ reaches out to First Nations
We are all connected by water
The Creating Our Future Workshop set the stage for building on success to move Green Value from concept to practice on Vancouver Island. Held on June 3rd as a shoulder event to the Gaining Ground Summit Conference in Victoria, the workshop was high energy from start to finish. It achieved its objective of creating a common understanding of a vocabulary hierarchy for green value, designing with nature, green infrastructure and water sustainability.
Hosted by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia under the umbrella of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island partnership, the workshop was by invitation. Attendance was capped at 50. “The event attracted elected officials and senior managers from 19 local governments; and a balanced mix of representatives from provincial ministries, First Nations, the private sector, the real estate industry, and academia”, reports Tim Pringle, Executive Director of the Foundation,
Connected by Water
According to John Finnie, CAVI Chair, “The Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations were represented by Michael McCarthy. We are excited that Michael has offered to facilitate lines of communication between First Nations and CAVI.”
In reflecting on the workshop afterwards, Michael McCarthy observed that: “All of us on Vancouver Island are connected by water; in my language we have a word, “hee-shook-ma-tswak,” which means we are all one. At the recent Creating Our Future Workshop in Victoria, I talked about First Nations communities being on the threshold of major changes insofar as land and economic development is concerned. I’m from Ucluelet and we are about to ratify our constitution, and then we will move to ratify our treaty in the fall. In BC there are many First Nations in various stages of the treaty process; governments are faced with new people to work with in partnership.”
“We have to look for opportunities in light of the needs of aboriginal communities on Vancouver Island that need to be covered, i.e. food, shelter, clothing, and employment. Memoranda of Understanding, Best Practices, Teaming Service Agreements (to name a few) are working to some extent, but we can best help each other “from the ground water up” to respect land and attain sustainable water practices, or make LEED developments on traditional lands held in the new treaties. This is an exciting time for all of BC: we are all one and we can work together to make water sustainability happen”, added Michael.
The strength and momentum of the CAVI message are founded on the principles of collaboration and consultation as agents of change. “We are excited by Michael’s involvement and enthusiasm; he brings the concept of hee-shook-ma-tswak that resonates with the fundamental importance of rainwater to all of us”, notes Jay Bradley, a member of the CAVI Leadership Team and Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Balance Model Coordinating Team. “We look forward to the many opportunities facing First Nations communities as we work together towards sustainable, results-based rainwater management”, adds Bradley.
Creating Our Future Workshop
For an overview of the workshop program and to access the set of workshop presentations, as well as to access links to other stories about Creating Our Future, please click here. Designed to inform decision-makers in local government, the workshop was structured in three parts:
1. Defining a common vocabulary
2. Roundtable sharing
3. Convening for Action on Vancouver Island case studies
The focus was on case studies that demonstrate how “green value” approaches are being adopted in planning for and accommodating settlement growth. To learn more about green value, please click here.
The CAVI Partnership includes the British Columbia Water & Waste Association, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the provincial Ministries of Environment and Community Services, and the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
According to CAVI Chair John Finnie, “If we are to control our destiny and create our future, then we need to challenge our fellow Vancouver Islanders to visualize what they want Vancouver Island to look like in 50 years. We have identified two desired outcomes in Convening for Action. First, we wish to influence Vancouver Island local governments to adopt Design with Nature as the preferred process of approving land development applications. Secondly, we intend to facilitate the move from awareness to action in changing the way that land is developed and water is used on Vancouver Island.”
Posted June 2007