Support for Vancouver Island Series on Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation starts at the top
Chairs of three regional districts make opening statement at each event
CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island is a regional pilot program that is being implemented under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. The genesis for CAVI was ‘Meeting of the Minds’, a grass-roots initiative that started out as a communications network for water and wastewater practitioners.
CAVI aims to bring together those who plan and regulate land use (local government), those who build (developers), and those who provide the legislative framework and system support (the Province).
The CAVI Program
“The focus of CAVI is on how to plan for sustainable water resources in the context of burgeoning settlement activity,” explains Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan.
“The CAVI program of outreach and continuing education includes Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island; The 2007 Series,” adds John Finnie, CAVI Chair, “The CAVI vision is that water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies, practices and standards.”
The Showcasing Innovation Series comprises three one-day events. Each is co-hosted by a regional district and one or more member municipalities.
At each event, the Chair of the host Regional District has made an opening statement, underscoring the support that CAVI has garnered from the elected representatives of Vancouver Island. In two of three events, the Chair is also the Mayor of the largest member municipality.This support from the top has translated itself into a partnership with the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities to co-host a Green Infrastructure Leadership Forum on December 3.
Showcasing Innovation in the Nanaimo Region
In his welcoming remarks, Joe Stanhope, Chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo, provided context for the day when he described how he has applied design with nature principles to achieve a water and energy saving home. “On a personal note, my house could very well have been included on the tour today because it demonstrates what CAVI is about. It costs me only $10 per year to heat my house.”
“In the Regional District of Nanaimo, the elected representatives are providing direction through the Regional Growth Strategy. Our actions show that the Board members believe in sustainability,” Stanhope added, “Through the Urban Containment Boundary, we have avoided urban sprawl and we are doing our best to do what is right; and that is why the RDN Board is both supporting and partnering with CAVI. As a Board, we believe it is our job to protect the quality of life values that attract people to Vancouver Island.”
Showcasing Innovation in the Cowichan Basin
Mayor John Lefebure touched on the need for collaboration in his opening remarks: “As both the Mayor of North Cowichan and Chair of the Regional District, I am really pleased to see the involvement of both staffs in the Showcasing Innovation Series. This is really good because I need you both working together.”
“Water in the District of North Cowichan is a huge concern,” the Mayor continued, “The Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan is having a certain amount of challenges on the political side. But the Plan is such an important regional initiative that we simply must follow through….because there are major issues around water supply, and I relate those issues to how land is developed.”
In elaborating on the implications of the current water situation, the Mayor introduced his vision for a path forward in these terms: “I believe and hope we can use the limitations of the water resource to plan our future better. As an elected representative, I find myself continually in a state of contradiction. As local government, we have been responsible for growth. That’s been our business. Looking back, we never anticipated that one day we might actually conclude that there are limitations.”
Building on the theme of limitations and planning for the future, Mayor Jon Lefebure noted there is an engine of development. “We have to think about how to operate that engine differently,” he stated, “We must focus on preserving what we have that provides our qualtiy of life. As a group, politicians tend to be conservative. This means we tend not to be as forward looking as perhaps we should be. Moving foward from today, I would like the political leadership of Vancouver Island to be more proactive. I am therefore pleased and excited that CAVI is partnering with the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities to co-host a Green Infrastructure Leadership Forum on December 3.”
Showcasing Innovation in the Comox Valley
Mayor Starr Winchester City of Courtenay, is also chair of the Comox Stratchcona Regional District. In her welcoming remarks, she referred to the Premier’s call for action at the recent annual conference of the Union of BC Municipalities. “Local government leaders are telling our staffs that we want to be a sustainable community tomorrow,” she stated. “We are not being so unrealistic as to ask for this yesterday,” she added with a twinkle in her eye.
“Like most other areas on Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley is at a major cross-roads as to how we will develop and still maintain the natural beauty of our community,” she continued, “This is a real challenge.”
Mayor Winchester explained that: “We want to keep our rural areas rural, yet we are faced with many people coming into the valley, especially now that we have an international airport.”
“We are experiencing phenomenal growth,” she continued, “So we are really depending on the practitioners to keep us grounded and realistic so that growth will be sustainable.”
Mayor Winchester concluded by referring to the position of her Council on sustainability: “Two years ago we made a resolution to raise the bar, and that’s why you are here today…to help us further raise the bar so that we can ensure a sustainable future for the Comox Valley.”
Who is CAVI?
The CAVI Partnership comprises 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. CAVI is co-funded by the Province and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Water Sustainability Committee of the BCWWA is the managing partner and is providing program delivery.
Green Infrastructure Explained
Green infrastructure is associated with the management of water that runs off the land and how water runoff impacts on the sustainability of both terrestrial and aquatic habitat and resources.
Green infrastructure is also associated with how water is used and how water use impacts on the sustainability of water supply.
Desired outcomes for water sustainability and green infrastructure can be achieved through infrastructure standards that reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water.
Posted October 2007