SHARED RESPONSIBILITY: Local Government Perspectives on Developing and Implementing the 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration – “Having a coordinator was huge; and the decision to designate municipal staff to sit on the BCI committee was equally important. This gave us a mandate to help direct and inform the process,” stated Anne Topp, Manager of Community Planning, District of Saanich (February 2010)
Note to Readers:
This article is the fourth in a series that will both set the scene and serve as a resource for the Bowker Creek Forum on February 23, 2010. The article elaborates on what on-the-ground implementation means for municipal staffs which are tasked with making the Bowker Blueprint happen.
The story presented below is an abridged version of an article that is 9 pages in length. To read the complete article, click on this link to download a PDF version of Shared Responsibility: Local Government Perspectives on Developing and Implementing the 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration.
Local Government Engagement: Bowker Creek Forum Showcases Commitment to the Regional Team Approach
The Bowker Creek Blueprint: A 100-Year Action Plan to Restore the Bowker Creek Watershedrepresents the new way of doing business.
According to Jody Watson, Chair of the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI) , “The plan could easily have been creek-centric and engineering-oriented; in other words, a glorified master drainage plan. Instead, the BCI collaborative approach in tackling watershed restoration holistically has resulted in a Blueprint that is truly integrated in connecting the dots between land use and stream health.”
Municipal Staff Provide Leadership
This article tells the story of four of the many municipal staff members who helped develop the Blueprint. Through their participation on the BCI Steering Committee, this foursome has contributed to the successful demonstration of the regional team approach:
- David Marshall– Director of Engineering Services, City of Oak Bay
- Steven Fifield– Manager of Underground Utilities, City of Victoria
- Adriane Pollard– Manager of Environmental Services, District of Saanich
- Anne Topp – Manager of Community Planning, District of Saanich
“The Blueprint is a good tool for bringing the three municipalities and their communities together,” states Adriane Pollard. “The BCI steering committee believes we will see more action now.”
Moving from Planning to Implementation
In 2003, the municipalities of Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria, and the CRD Board approved the Bowker Creek Watershed Management Plan. The BCI was established and a part-time coordinator was hired in 2004.
Coordinator Role is Crucial
Anne Top emphasizes that having a designated Coordinator since 2004 has been an essential ingredient in Blueprint development. This was a commitment arising from a Council decision to support implementation of the 2003 Watershed Plan.
“I am convinced that the BCI success started with the hiring of a Coordinator,” states Anne Topp. “It meant one person was responsible and had dedicated time for setting up meetings, writing up minutes, and getting work done. Also, having a Coordinator helped us obtain grants.”
Linkage to Shelbourne Corridor Action Plan
The intent of the Shelbourne Corridor Action Plan is to develop a comprehensive, long range vision for an area 500 m on either side of Shelbourne Street. The Corridor includes 4 Centres of mixed use development. The Plan objectives encompass protecting and enhancing the Corridor’s natural environment, including Bowker Creek.
“The Shelbourne Plan could help through policy connection to institutionalize and help drive early implementation of the Blueprint,” reports Anne Topp. “How the story of the Bowker Blueprint and the vision for the Shelbourne Corridor are blended and the story articulated to mayor and council will be important. How the two are linked may be crucial to the ultimate success of both plans.”
“Other municipal initiatives, such as the Urban Village Centres and the Urban Forestry Stewardship Initiative in Saanich, will definitely help advance the Blueprint vision and goals,” concludes Anne Topp.
Bowker Creek ‘Greenprint’
“Within the City of Victoria, we are branding the Bowker Creek Blueprint as the GREENPRINT. We are doing this to emphasize that the road to watershed restoration will be green. In 100 years, Victoria will be much greener,” states Steven Fifield.
“When undertaking infrastructure projects, we now ask ourselves what are the opportunities to do business differently so that there will be long-term benefits for the watershed.”
Opportunities in Oak Bay
“I would say that Oak Bay will continue to improve day-to-day operational procedures in an environmentally responsible fashion. In doing so, many of the objectives aspired to in the Bowker Creek Blueprint will be addressed,” concludes David Marshall.
“I have introduced the rain garden concept to our mayor and council and they have expressed an interest in incorporating such treatments into our day-to-day operations.”