CONVENING FOR ACTION ON FRESH WATER SUSTAINABILITY: ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ is a stepping stone to the ‘State of the Island Economic Summit’ in October 2010

Initiating a Community Dialogue

In June 2010, Leadership Vancouver Island and the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) initiated a community dialogue about Fresh Water Sustainability. Hosted by Vancouver Island University, and sponsored by BC Hydro, the event was held in Nanaimo.

Alignment with CAVI

The ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ organizing team aligned their efforts with Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, known by the acronym CAVI. This proved to be a critically important ingredient in ensuring a successful outcome.

John finnie (120p)“The CAVI Leadership Team immediately saw the benefits of participation in the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’, especially since the tag-line for CAVI is Leadership in Water Sustainability,” emphasized John Finnie, CAVI Chair, when he spoke at the event.

“We are excited by the opportunity that collaboration creates for both groups to broaden our respective reaches and connect with new audiences that share a vision.”

“The CAVI strength flows from our close relationship with Vancouver Island local governments; also, we are championing ‘settlement change in balance with ecology’. VIEA is a collaborative partnership spearheading regional economic development. It therefore makes sense to align efforts to work towards a shared vision for the Island.”

A Different Approach to Panel Interaction 

The ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ was structured around a water sustainability panel that included members of the CAVI Leadership Team. Rather than talking heads, the panel engaged in a form of ‘improv theatre’ to feed off each other in spontaneously expressing key messages about water.

“Without their willingness to walk this process and to try something different and in a new way, and to share their expertise…this event would not have been as successful as it was,” stated Kathy Bishop, Chair of the Curriculum Team for Leadership BC – Central Vancouver Island and facilitator for the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’.

Looking Ahead to the ‘2010 State of the Island Economic Summit’ in Nanaimo

In October 2010, VIEA will be hosting the 4th Annual State of the Island Economic Summit. The event is expected to attract over 600 participants. One of the five concurrent breakout sessions will focus on Water Sustainability on Vancouver Island.

From Dialogue to Action

“What’s next? We cannot just leave it here. It is not acceptable in terms of the leadership forum to have a dialogue and that’s it. That is not a complete cycle,” stated Patrick Ross, Chair of Leadership BC – Central Vancouver Island. “I would challenge every individual in this room that you have your own responsibility to followup action….to seek out connections that you have made today and to pursue the networking and the issues.”

“We have had the guts to start this dialogue, but we will also need bigger guts to complete what we started,” continued Cori Lynn Germiquet, VIEA President. “Part of the process is summarizing what we heard today, inviting people back to the table to talk about what we have determined in that summary, and then putting together a plan of action together for moving forward. When we have that plan in draft format, we will be hosting a breakout session at the State of the Island Summit.”

Link to YouTube Video:

Watch a video clip posted on YouTube that shows Patrick Ross, Kathy Bishop and Cori Lynn Germiquet making the closing remarks on behalf of Leadership BC and VIEA:

A Vision for Vancouver Island

“We have to move beyond the technical and the engagement of local governments towards a universal commitment to sustainability on Vancouver Island. Taking the greater context as Vancouver Island, I believe we are now ready to take the next step towards engaging the public, business, schools and community organizations in a united front to play their respective role in sustainability initiatives based upon the fundamental requirement of water sustainability,” states Eric Bonham.

Formerly a Director in two Ministries (Environment and Municipal Affairs) and a Past-Chair of the Highlands Stewardship Foundation, Eric Bonham was a founding member of CAVI.

“Why not follow the leadership of Chemainus….’the little town that did’ and expand the vision to ‘the island that did’. I believe as citizens we have both an individual and collective role to play in responding to the question What do we want Vancouver Island to look like in 50 years?