CONVENING FOR ACTION IN THE GEORGIA BASIN: Bowker Creek Forum promotes inter-regional sharing and collaboration – “The Bowker Creek Blueprint is clearly about shared responsibility. Metro Vancouver municipalities can learn from Bowker experience,” stated Remi Dube, City of Surrey (February 2010)
Note to Readers:
This article is the second 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 introduces the vision for collaboration among the three regions (Capital Regional District, north of the Malahat, Metro Vancouver); and describes the ‘regional team approach’ to achieving water sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure.
This Story #2 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 Convening for Action in the Georgia Basin: Bowker Creek Forum promotes inter-regional sharing and collaboration.
Creating Our Future: Bowker Creek Forum celebrates 100-Year Action Plan for Watershed Restoration
Launched in September 2006 in conjunction with the Water in the City Conference, the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative is now in its fourth year of collaborating with local governments and others under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. At the time, CAVI identified three desired outcomes:
- By 2010, be well on the way to achieving water sustainability on Vancouver Island.
- Develop a voluntary framework for water-centric land development that could be adapted province-wide.
- Bring together a broad-based coalition of stakeholders under the CAVI banner.
“Reflecting on what has been accomplished since 2006, the pieces of the puzzle are now in place to make a shared Vancouver Island vision tangible,” states John Finnie, CAVI Chair.
“Local governments on Vancouver Island are demonstrating what can be accomplished through partnerships and collaboration,” adds Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan.
Georgia Basin Initiatives
“The Bowker Creek Forum creates an opportunity for champions from the Capital Region to connect with champions from ‘north of the Malahat’, and also with champions from Metro Vancouver. We see the Bowker Creek Forum as a transformational event; it is an important milestone in terms of Georgia Basin sharing and collaboration,” continues Kim Stephens.
An Opportunity to Connect the Dots
The Bowker Creek Forum will enable participants to share lessons learned and connect the dots between the five Georgia Basin Initiatives identified on the graphic below, namely:
- Comox Valley: An Integrated Watershed Approach to Settlement
- Regional District of Nanaimo: Action for Water
- Cowichan Valley Regional District: Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan
- Capital Region: Bowker Creek Blueprint
- Metro Vancouver: Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan
“The Bowker Creek Forum provides a timely opportunity to weave the story of each initiative into a seamless Georgia Basin storyline. This will benefit each initiative by providing a common frame-of-reference for action. Looking ahead, cross-fertilization of the five regional initiatives means that the champions for doing business differently can continually build on the experience of their peers and take turns leapfrogging ahead,” concludes Kim Stephens.
Moving Beyond Pilot Projects
“We are moving to a broader watershed objectives approach to capturing rain where it falls. Then we can better protect our streams,” states Rémi Dubé, Acting Development Services Manager with the City of Surrey. In March 2009, the Surrey Water Balance Model Forum provided the City with a platform to announce that it has moved beyond pilot projects to get green infrastructure built right.
“Once we know what we want our watersheds and neighbourhoods to look like, the next step is to decide what the tools are that will get us there. The Bowker Creek Blueprint is clearly about shared responsibility. Metro Vancouver municipalities can learn from the Bowker Creek experience.”