Shared Responsibility: Community Perspectives on Developing and Implementing the 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration



Note to Readers:

This article is the third 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 describes the role played by community groups and associations; and explains how community values influenced the plan development process and are reflected in the Bowker Creek Blueprint.

According to Tim Pringle, Director of Special Programs for the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, “Story #3 provides a feeling for the project, people, optimism and bottom up reality of making such a change.  This is a powerful example of a community deciding that it will manage the built environment more sustainably.”

The story presented below is an abridged version of an article that is 8 pages in length. To read the complete article, click on this link to download a PDF version of Shared Responsibility: Community Perspectives on Developing and Implementing the 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration:

Creating a Legacy through Collaboration

Jody watson - crd (120p)“The establishment of the Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative was truly driven by the community, and the Bowker Creek Blueprint reflects community values,” states Jody Watson, Chair. “This outcome has been achieved because the BCI is a partnership that has enabled community groups and municipal staffs to coalesce around a shared vision.”

“The input of the community throughout that process and their direct involvement in the steering committee has ensured that the community values are front and centre.”


Community Engagement: Community Values Influence Bowker Creek Blueprint Process and Outcome

“The role that community groups have played in Blueprint development is impressive,” observes Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

Kim stephens - 2009 (120p)“It is essential that their story be told so that others will be inspired to follow the lead of the Bowker Creek Initiative. Simply put, transformational change will result when decision-makers in government collaborate with grass-root visionaries in the community to create a legacy.”


Four Community Champions

This article tells the stories of four champions. Through participation on the Bowker Creek Initiative, this foursome has made a difference to their community:

  • Ian Graeme– catalyst
  • Chris Jensen– applied scientist
  • Soren Henrich– artist
  • Gerald Harris – teacher

“A theme that emerged from my conversations with the four champions can be summed up this way: at the heart of grass-roots community leadership is a commitment to the common good,” reports Kim Stephens.


Alignment with Local Government

“Another key theme that emerged during the interviews is an appreciation for the importance of community alignment with the job realities of local government staff. It is powerful once both parties realize how supporting each other can make good things happen.”


Alignment within the Watershed

“The Bowker Creek story is more than about producing a plan,”  states Ian Graeme, founder of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society and community leader. “It is about engaging the community. If the community is actively  engaged, they will take greater responsibility for delivery.”

“My Ah-Ha moment was when I realized that the three municipalities could not deliver a plan for stream and watershed restoration – unless the community drives and supports delivery.”

“There is greater alignment now than ever before regarding community goals and the 100-year action plan for watershed restoration. There is a strong vision in the community with many committed champions. There are also some tangible on-the-ground results to provide confidence that we are moving along the right track.”

 Posted February 2010