IREI: Cowichan Valley Regional District is a leader by example

Kim Stephens_Cowichan Valley presentation_June 20913_title slide

Kim Stephens_Cowichan Valley presentation_June 20913_foundation pieces

Think Like a Watershed

In June 2013, Kim Stephens (Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC) met with the Cowichan Valley Regional Board to formally recognize the Cowichan Valley Regional District as a “Champion Supporter” of the Partnership, elaborate on how the benefits of inter-regional collaboration flow in both directions, and showcase the work-in-progress Water Balance Model Express for Landowners.

Kim-Stephens_June-2013_120p“The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s long-term commitment is helping the Partnership advance the vision for achieving watershed sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices,” stated Kim Stephens. “What I think is really interesting about this valley is that you are getting people to think like a watershed. There seems to be a watershed consciousness here. People seem to be aware of the watershed that they live in.”

Foundation Pieces for Provincial Initiatives

Kate Miller_June-2013_v2_120p“Tonight I really wish to highlight that Cowichan Valley demonstration applications are foundation pieces for provincial strategies and tools. (In her introductory remarks) Kate Miller made reference to the Water Sustainability Action Plan. It is hard to believe that it has been a decade. In February 2014, we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of the Action Plan.”

“The whole concept behind the Action Plan was to bring together the top-down and bottom-up approaches because….we had learned from our past experience that we had to highlight the on-the-ground successes because everyone learns from those types of successes.”

“And so, when I say that Cowichan Valley experience are foundation pieces for provincial initiative, here are several examples. In 2007 we piloted the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series in this valley. Then in June 2008, you were the first demonstration region for the Learning Lunch Seminar Series approach to continuing education for local government practitioners. Later in 2008, the Cowichan Valley hosted a Water Balance Forum which was the springboard to a Metro Vancouver Water Balance Forum in 2009.”

Power of the Collaborative

“(In terms of what the Partnership has done over the years) you need to have a place where you can work with people who are champions, innovators…and are willing to try different things. You see what works, you replicate what works in order to be successful. You (the Cowichan Valley) have had an influence on things that are happening provincially.”

“Where are we at now in terms of collaboration and consistent application of outcome-oriented actions? Keep in mind our focus on outcomes. An outcome is restoration of watershed health. We would like to accelerate that.”

“The Cowichan Valley has benefited from inter-regional collaboration in a number of ways. Because of the sharing process that is underway, you have access to professional development that is leading to tangible benefits, most recently two web-based tools, one of which is the Water Balance Model Express.”

“This is the power of the collaborative. Because the Partnership is building the platforms for web-based tools, this makes it so much easier for members such as yourselves to build on and benefit from what has gone before you,” concluded Kim Stephens.

Recognition of Kate Miller

The presentation by Kim Stephens provided the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of CVRD staff, in particular Kate Miller who has been a champion for innovation and environmental leadership. She is the CVRD’s Manager of Environmental Policy, and represents CVRD on the Partnership.

Ladysmith-Mayor_Rob-Hutchins_120pLadysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins, Board Chair, singled out Kate Miller for praise: “The Regional Board is committed to achieving the vision that we share for watershed sustainability in our region. We also appreciate the leadership shown by Kate Miller in guiding the CVRD to the destination. Kate truly is a champion. She is demonstrating how benefits flow to this region because we collaborate with other regions.”

To Learn More:

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context: Cowichan Valley Regional District is a leader by example.

To view  the video of the presentation that is posted on the CVRD website, click here. Go to Regional Services Committee meeting on June 26, 2013.

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