CONVENING FOR ACTION ON FRESH WATER SUSTAINABILITY: “Through collaboration, we can inspire leadership and action for water sustainability,” stated Kim Stephens when he reflected on the value of the Dialogue in Nanaimo as a springboard to the ‘convening for action’ breakout session at the State of the Island Economic Summit (October 2010)


Organized by Leadership Vancouver Island, the Dialogue in Nanaimo in June 2010 was structured around a water sustainability panel. 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. This primed the audience for ‘small group’ dialogues in eight theme areas. The small groups dialogue were followed by a ‘big group’ dialogue. 

The Dialogue in Nanaimo was the springboard to a ‘convening for action’ breakout session on fresh water sustainability at the State of the Island Economic Summit in October 2010. Co-hosted by Leadership Vancouver Island and CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, the breakout session aligned with the keynote address by Premier Gordon Campbell. 

Why a Dialogue on Water Sustainability

In June 2010, Leadership BC – Central 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.

Patrick ross (120p) - chair“We want you to help us identify and overview the issues. We want to create some initial hope, and this is really critical.. for some solutions. We want to structure some dialogue that we will perhaps create some networking for the future,” stated Patrick Ross, Chair of Leadership BC, in his opening remarks.

“What outcome do we want? We hope that the individuals in the room today will learn some more about this incredibly critical component of our lives. We want you to see, meet and greet folks in this room and find out what other people are doing. We want you to network with like-minded people; and we want you to collectively answer initially WHAT NEXT. We want this day to be a springboard to action.”

To Learn More:

To download an overview of the program for June 11, click on Fresh Water Sustainability is in Our Hands!

The Outcome: CAVI-VIEA Collaboration

“When we started our research to find out what was being done in the area of water sustainability, we immediately connected with CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island,” recalls Kathy Bishop, Curriculum Chair with Leadership BC and program organizer / facilitator for the Dialogue in Nanaimo.

“CAVI has done a lot of work and wants to expand the coalition. The Dialogue in Nanaimo presented an opportunity for CAVI and Leadership BC to join forces, collaborate, and together connect with new audiences.”

State of the Island Summit

“It was serendipity that brought together VIEA and CAVI at the Dialogue in Nanaimo. The success of this event set the stage for CAVI participation in the State of the Island Summit in October, organized by VIEA. An outcome of the Summit is that VIEA has made collaboration with CAVI a priority in its Strategic Plan. Another outcome is that VIEA is now represented on the CAVI Leadership Team,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, and a member of the CAVI Leadership Team.

“By aligning our efforts in 2011 and beyond, VIEA and CAVI can achieve a quantum leap towards a shared vision for the Island. Through our collaboration, we can inspire leadership and action for water sustainability. Another way to express this is that Water Sustainability is a metaphor for managing the Built Environment sustainably.”

An Integrated Approach to Sustainability

Eric bonham (120p) “CAVI’s participation at the Summit was both timely and rewarding in that a promising partnership was formed with Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. This partnership provides an opportunity to develop an integrated approach to sustainability on Vancouver Island based upon a balanced understanding of the relationship between the economy and the environment,” adds Eric Bonham, Past-Chair of the Highlands Stewardship Foundation and a founding member of the CAVI Leadership Team.

“This message was strongly reinforced by Premier Campbell during lunch when he observed the power of partnerships aligned with a collaborative long term vision,…‘there is an opportunity for us to come together to do something exceptional for Vancouver Island’ said the premier, noting the need for ‘the vision to imagine and the tenacity to pursue it’.”