Creating Our Future Message: Celebrate and build on Vancouver Island successes
June 2007 Consultation Workshop held in conjunction with the Gaining Ground Summit
The “Creating Our Future Workshop” that was held on June 3rd in conjunction with the Gaining Ground Summit in Victoria was a consultation opportunity for Vancouver Island local governments that are interested in implementing infrastructure practices and regulation that result in green value.
The workshop was also about celebrating and building on success. Case studies encompassed a range of situations, urban and rural, from the shoreline to the watershed, and from the development site to the municipality. Designed to inform decision-makers in local government, the workshop was structured in three parts:
- Defining a common vocabulary
- Roundtable sharing
- Convening for Action on Vancouver Island case studies
For background on how the workshop came about and what it hopes to achieve, please click here.
“There are a lot of good things happening throughout Vancouver Island. In many cases, people in local government are simply not aware of the innovation that is taking place in neighbouring municipalities. It is essential that we celebrate successes so that we create momentum that is self-fulfilling in achieving water sustainability”, notes Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
Defining a Common Vocabulary
There is a plethora of ‘green’ vocabulary that we now hear on a daily basis. At the end of the workshop, the intent is that participants will be much more comfortable with terms such as ‘designing with nature’ and ‘green value’ and have a better understanding of ‘water sustainability’ and ‘green infrastructure’. According to Tim Pringle, Executive Director of the Real Estate Foundation and in the context of the urban environment:
- Green Valueis an over-arching concept; and encompasses market, social and environmental values.
- Design with Natureis one approach to achieve Green Value, and is supportive of community goals that relate to building social capacity.
- Green Infrastructureis the on-the-ground application of Design with Nature standards and practices.
- Water Sustainability is achieved through Green Infrastructure practices that reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water.
The Real Estate Foundation is one of the organizations that comprise the Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI) partnership. Along with the Province, the Foundation is providing funding for the Water Sustainability Action Plan.
In the morning session, participants were asked to share their green infrastructure experiences – who is doing what, and what has worked (or not).
Vancouver Island Case Studies
According to Kim Stephens, “The objective was that the case study presentations would stimulate a roundtable-type of dialogue with the audience that goes beyond a conventional Q&A session.” There were four presentations in the afternoon session, with the primary focus being on:
- Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan: ‘Water for Life and Livelihoods’ – from awareness to action — No one wants to run out of water. That us why the Cowichan Basin Water Management Forum has been working to establish a basin-wide Water Management Plan. The plan will ensure that there is enough water – for people and ecosystems – now and in the future. Tom Anderson, Manager of Development Services for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, explained why the vulnerability of supply is a driver for changes in the way water is managed at a watershed scale and used at the site scale.
- City of Langford: Managing Risk, Learning by Doing, and Adapting — From its incorporation in 1992, the City of Langford embraced a philsophy of managing risk and learning by doing. This has become the corporate culture. John Manson, City Engineer, explained how a corporate culture that is willing to accept and then manage risk with regards to infrastructure standards can open the door to creativity, innovation – and its rewards. The Langford experience is a case study application of how to implement Adaptive Management as envisioned in Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.
In the second part of the afternoon session, the focus shifted to these two Vancouver Island programs:
- Green Shores: Brian Emmett explained why and how the Green Shores project is developing a voluntary rating and certification program to encourage sustainable approaches to shore development, avoiding cumulative impacts resulting from seawall construction and disruption of coastal sediment processes.
- Nature’s Revenue Streams: Patrick Lucey explained how this 3-year public-private partnership will link rainwater infrastructure to the restoration of stream and watershed function. The principle underpinning this program is ‘time is money’ – Patrick provided examples of ‘turning green into gold’ by expediting the development approval process for environmentally responsible organizations. The savings on financing costs are used to fund stream restoration work. Everyone wins.
To learn more about those who spoke, refer to ‘Creating Our Future Workshop’ Presentation Team,
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.
Previously, the CAVI Leadership Team made a presentation at the 2007 Annual Conference of the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities which was held in Qualicum Beach. For more on that story, please click here.
Posted May 2007