Parksville OCP Advisory Committees introduced to the vision for the Vancouver Island Inter-Regional Education Initiative


Informing the OCP Review Process

In February 2012, Parksville City Council authorized staff to proceed with a collaborative effort that had been initiated by the BC Conservation Foundation on behalf of Living Rivers and the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“An early action was to meet with two City advisory committees, including the OCP Advisory Committee,” reports Craig Wightman, Senior Fisheries Biologist with the BC Conservation Foundation, and the leader of a 3-person team that also included Kim Stephens (Partnership Executive Director) and Dr. Gilles Wendling (groundwater specialist). “The City invited the team to provide an overview on the topics of groundwater science, aquatic ecosystem health and the web-based Water Balance Model. This invitation opened the door to explaining the significance and relevance of the Inter-Regional Education Initiative, and how Parksville can benefit from participation.”

A Cascading Storyline: Global-Regional-Local

“Our storyline was cascading. First, I provided the ‘global’ perspective about adapting to a changing climate. Kim Stephens then followed with the ‘regional’ perspective on how local governments are sharing and learning from each other. Dr. Gilles Wendling concluded with the ‘local’ perspective by elaborating on his Englishman River research findings.”

“Our objective was to provide effective knowledge-transfer that would inform the OCP process,” adds Kim Stephens. “It was therefore important to provide context that was informative. This is why we introduced the advisory committees to the Inter-Regional Education Initiative on Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context (IREI).  It was important for them to know that Parksville is not alone. They need not reinvent the wheel.“

Inter-Regional Education Initiative and Island-wide Collaboration

“Four regional districts, representing 90% of the Vancouver Island population, have aligned efforts to implement the IREI,” states Derek Richmond, Manager of Engineering with the City of Courtenay. He is Chair of the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative. “The IREI is providing local governments with the tools and understanding they need to change our land ethic for the better. The IREI is about integrating the Site with the Watershed and Stream.”

Framework for Collaboration

The IREI is being implemented under the CAVI umbrella, with the Partnership for Water Sustainability being responsible for program delivery. The approach in bringing together four regions is shaped by these considerations:

  1. All four regional districts have over-arching plans in place.
  2. All four have funded activities that they are planning to do in 2012 and beyond.
  3. While the four regions are linked by common interests, they are not dependent on each other.
  4. Collaboration, alignment and consistency will create opportunities for everyone to be more effective.
  5. CAVI educational program will align with regional priorities and workloads, not add to workloads.
  6. The inter-regional program will link activities so that everyone can share experiences, benefit from lessons learned, and align efforts with the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives.
  7. Each region may host up to four “learning and sharing” events during the 2-year period 2012-2013

Each region has developed a provincially significant plan or approach to achieve water and watershed sustainability.All are striving to implement a consistent regional approach that protects and/or restores natural watershed function over time. As of 2012, the City of Parksville is committed to doing its part towards region-wide implementation of the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Plan for the Regional District of Nanaimo.

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the integrated presentation by Craig Wightman, Gilles Wendling and Kim Stephens on February 21st, click on Sustaining Englishman Water Resources for the Future: Presentation to Parksville’s OCP Advisory Committees