YOU TUBE VIDEO: "The Water-Wise Guide is in essence both a call to action (for the community, but also for us) as well as a road map for that action," said Nancy Gothard, City of Courtenay environmental planner

Note to Reader:

Initiated in 2012, showcased in 2014 and completed in 2015, “A Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley” was the subject of a Joint Staff Workshop hosted by the Comox Valley Regional District in December 2015. The workshop commenced the formal rollout of this guidance document by the Comox Valley-CAVI Regional Team (CAVI is the acronym for ‘Convening for Action on Vancouver Island’).

Nancy Gothard_Dec2015_500pThe article that follows the YouTube video below features the remarks of Nancy Gothard, Environmental Planner with the City of Courtenay, when she explained the Guide and the process that shaped its development.

To Learn More: Click on About the Guide (10 MB) to download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Nancy Gothard, and follow along as she elaborates on key messages.

Water-Wise Land Development

“In my presentation, I expanded on the process that went into making the Guide, in order to share some of the learning that went along the way,” states Nancy Gothard. “But first – I explained ‘what the guide is for?’. Simply put, it is a communication tool. But more than that, it is a call to action as a general awareness tool, as well as an invitation to applicants to prepare applications that are as rainwater friendly as they can be.”

The Vision: Broad Awareness Across Departments, Across Jurisdictions

“It is to be handed out with ALL application documents (building, servicing, planning) that have an impact on rainwater management, including tree cutting permits, or if someone is adding imperviousness to their site (e.g. deck, driveway).”

“Some staff will use this guide much more than others, and will be responsible for administering some of the tools contained within – particularly the development services (planning and engineering). However, it’s important that ALL staff who work with land development and operations are aware of the guide and can reference its intent generally. Broad awareness across our many departments, across our jurisdictions.”

“If applicants have questions about it that they’re not able to answer, then refer them to the staff who have more familiarity.”

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Brand the Story and Make it Visible

“So why a guide in the first place? We recognized that as a starting point we needed a way to communicate the story of why watershed-based (ecosystem-based) planning is necessary, the strategies available to us, and roles that each audience plays to achieve it. The main message of this document is that if an applicant takes the time to consider these factors, and get their application right at the front end, and work collaboratively with us regulators, that ideally their project should proceed smoother.”

“So, our goal was to begin to brand the story and to make it visible in the various regulatory agencies in the Valley. To depict visually that we were developing a consistency in expectations in how development would address environmental concerns. Having it available on every front counter and every website is a first step.”


Evolving Towards a Marketing Strategy

“I’m not going to say that we were initially explicitly developing a marketing strategy, but I think that is where this work is naturally evolving to.”

“We started with the assumption that the development community, development applicants, were our target audience. But as the discussions evolved it became clear that there are many actors who can have leading roles in watershed management.”

“The Comox Valley Guide is messaged for any land owner, whether a professional developer or a resident with a single family home.”

Communicate Expectations!

“Our document is in essence both a call to action (for the community, but also for us) as well as a road map for that action. It has been created to communicate expectations.”

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