GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Story #1 in the ‘curriculum preview series’ announced that Comox Valley Regional District would host 2009 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series

Note to Readers:

The article below is introductory in scope and is simply intended to raise awareness on Vancouver Island and beyond that the series is proceeding. It introduces the players and seminar theme, provides general context, and frames in broad terms what the host local governments wish to accomplish in building on the success of the 2008 Comox Valley pilot series.

The article complements News Release #1 – CAVI announces that Comox Valley Regional District will host the 2009 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar SeriesThe 2009 theme is:

 To download a report-style, PDF version of the following story, click on Comox Valley Regional District will host 2009 Learning Lunch Seminar Series. This is a 2-page document. 

Comox Valley is the provincial pilot for a ‘regional team approach’ to integrating and implementing regional sustainability, growth and water infrastructure plans

The Province’s Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and Green Communities Initiative provide a framework for convening for action in order to improve the way that land is developed and water is used in BC. Commencing in 2007, Vancouver Island has been the pilot region for a grass-roots educational program that is water-centric and precedent-setting, is founded on partnerships and collaboration, and seeks to align local actions with provincial goals.

Convening for Action

John finnie (120p)This pilot program is known by the acronym CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island . The challenge statement (above) frames the learning outcomes for local governments when convening for action:

“We will have succeeded when we consistently integrate community design with desired outcomes at the provincial and regional scales and individual actions at the site scale,” states John Finnie, CAVI Chair (and General Manager for Water & Wastewater Services, Regional District of Nanaimo).

Building on Success

“Drawing on the experience of engineering and planning managers in local governments, the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series employed provincial guidance documents, on-the-ground examples, walkabouts, and town hall sharing sessions to stimulate discussion of HOW to achieve water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices,” continues John Finnie.

“In 2008, the initial CAVI objective was to test an approach to providing continuing education where people work. The Learning Lunch Series then went beyond that objective because it created the springboard for a regional team approach in both the Cowichan and Comox valleys.”

Regional Team Approach

Kevin lorette - comox valley regional district“The Regional Growth Strategy and Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy provide the backdrop for the 2009 Comox Valley Series. The spotlight is on how to implement the regional team approach – that is, a unified approach from all levels of government,” states Kevin Lorette, General Manager of the Regional District’s Property Services Branch. “At the end of the day, water is the underpinning of the community, and an integrated watershed approach to settlement is essential.”

The 2009 Series is a collaboration of four local governments in the Comox Valley, the Comox Valley Land Trust, CAVI, the Water Sustainability Action Plan, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the Green Infrastructure Partnership and two provincial Ministries.

Getting Ahead of the Wave

“The theme, Getting Ahead of the Wave, defines what needs to be accomplished by the 2009 Series in building on the 2008 foundation,” states Kevin Lagan, Director of Operational Services for the City of Courtenay, the host for the 2008 Series. “The 2009 Series will serve as the springboard to advance integration of current Comox Valley regional initiatives in 2010. The unifying theme will be: what all the plans will achieve.”

The Goal

“The goal is a truly integrated approach to land use planning, one that is founded on a water-centric way-of-thinking and acting, and one that achieves watershed protection and enhancement objectives,” adds Jack Minard, Executive-Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust.

Building Blocks Process

“The 2009 Series will build on the water-centric credibility and strengths of the 2008 Series to raise the bar in addressing Settlement in Balance with Ecology in a pragmatic way: Here is what it looks like; this is where it is going,” continues Tim Pringle, Director of Special Programs with the Real Estate Foundation.

Provincial Pilot

“The 2009 Series will also serve as a ‘springboard beyond the Comox Valley’ in order to demonstrate what A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island could look like,” concludes Glen Brown, Executive Director with the Ministry of Community & Rural Development.

“The Comox Valley is the designated provincial pilot for implementation of a ‘regional team approach’ because …..a convergence of interests has created an opportunity for all the players to set their sights on the common good….challenge the old barriers of jurisdictional interests, and make sustainability real.”

Who Would Benefit from Attending?

The 2009 Series is for implementers. It will capture what is in the regional processes, and will bring it back to local government staff who have to implement regional plans. The 2009 Series is inter-departmental in scope, and will be open to any Vancouver Island local government that wishes to participate. To download a one-page synopsis that provides the busy reader with a ‘mind-map’, click on 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series – Program Overview.


About CAVI

CAVI brings together those who plan and regulate land use (local government), those who build (developers), those who provide the legislative framework (the Province), those who provide research (university and college), and those who advocate conservation of resources (stewardship sector).

Designed through an inclusive and participatory process that draws on the experience of planning and engineering managers in local government, CAVI program elements are outcome-oriented.

The challenge posed by CAVI is this: Visualize what we want Vancouver Island to look like in 50 years.

The CAVI vision is to move toward water sustainability and A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices.

Creating Our Future

To learn more about CAVI, and to access a set of explanatory video clips posted on YouTube, click on Eric Bonham explains CAVI at 2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island Series. He describes how CAVI got started and provides insight as to why this bottom-up initiative is resonating with local government and beyond. “CAVI promotes water-centric planning and a Design with Nature way of thinking and acting,” states Eric Bonham.