Beyond the Guidebook 2015: Local Government Champions are Collaborating Across Regions
Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
Everyone learns from stories and the most compelling are the ones based on the experience of those who are leading change in their communities. Over the past decade, there has been cross-pollinating of ideas and approaches. The ongoing process of sharing and learning has influenced initiatives and outcomes within the five regional districts that are partners in the Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI).
The IREI provides local governments with a mechanism to share outcomes and cross-pollinate experience with each other.
The foundation for ‘convening for action’ was laid a decade ago. Extracted from Beyond the Guidebook 2015, Figure 24 above identifies the regional leaders whose pioneering efforts resulted in the initial breakthroughs that, in turn, established early credibility for the ‘regional team approach’ and demonstrated how benefits can flow from inter-regional collaboration.
Figure 24 represents the tip of the iceberg. There are layers of participation by a host of champions.
The purpose of Figure 24 is to recognize and honour those who led the first wave. A decade later, most of these local government leaders continue to play a role in ‘convening for action’.
Cowichan Region & the New Normal
A visionary, Kate Miller of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) was ahead of her time in anticipating what needed to be done to prepare her region for the New Normal.
Summer drought and winter flooding are the ‘new normal’ in the Cowichan region, and are putting water supply and the regional ecosystem under extreme stress. To foster long-term, strategic water preparedness the CVRD has launched a website that is intended to provide the community with easy, clear information and tools that make adapting to the ‘new normal’ easier.
“As we look out into the future in a changing environment – our new normal – this richness and the depth of community participation can only help our region’s future resiliency,” concluded Kate Miller in her op-ed reflections on the final page of the Story of Convening for Action in the Cowichan Region. “While we can build the tools and the technical backstops at a professional and technical level, at the end of the day we need to have everybody at the table.”
“Communication had been happening in the region for many years, but this year (2015) was a more deliberate attempt to make that communication happen in a coordinated way,” stated Keith Lawrence, CVRD Senior Environmental Analyst, in his presentation at the Feast AND Famine Workshop. “We worked with the various local governments to gather information about the impacts. And we also looked at what can we do collectively to solve the issues.”
“The IREI is a unique format for Georgia Basin local governments to learn from each other by sharing approaches and successes in managing our water resources,” stated Brian Carruthers, CVRD Chief Administrative Officer, in April 2015 when the CVRD reaffirmed its commitment to collaboration and to participation in the next phase of IREI program implementation through 2017.