Convening for Action: The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local
Historical Context for “Convening for Action in the Comox Valley”
The 2007 Vancouver Island Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series was the genesis for inter-governmental collaboration under the umbrella of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. Each showcasing event was co-hosted by a regional district and the major municipality in each. Each event was unique and designed around a theme.
Genesis for Collaboration
The Comox Valley event was a collaborative undertaking by the former Comox-Strathcona Regional District and the City of Courtenay.
In June 2008, all four Comox Valley local governments volunteered to be a ‘demonstration application’ for exploration of a ‘regional team approach’ that would be guided by the Living Water Smart target for watershed health:
Learning Lunch Seminar Series
From the beginning, it was understood by all parties that both the process and progress would be incremental, and hence would require a multi-year commitment by all. Commencing in September 2008, and continuing through 2015, the four local governments in the Comox Valley and the Comox Valley Land Trust collaborated through an annual program of Learning Lunch Seminar Series that provided professional development and continuing education.
Each series comprised three all-day events that were facilitated by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. In 2011, TimberWest joined the team, followed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in 2012.
During the period 2008 through 2011, the annual series was open to all. The target audience comprised land use and infrastructure professionals in the local government and land development sectors. The series attracted participants from up and down the east coast of Vancouver Island. In 2009, for example, Metro Vancouver contributed a representative to contribute to the sharing and learning by local governments. From 2012 through 2015, however, the process was an internal one.
Regional Team Approach
“The major outcome from the annual Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series has been the demonstrated effectiveness of the regional team approach, a model that has broad application potential throughout Vancouver Island and beyond. It demonstrates that when the parties reach for a common vision and work through their jurisdictional differences it is possible to accomplish mutual goals and implement sustainable practices within an overriding watershed context,” stated Eric Bonham, founding member of the CAVI Leadership Team and a former Director in both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Water-Wise Land Development
The goal in the latter years was to move from awareness to action. An outcome was A Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley, initiated in 2012 and finalized in 2015. The 2012 series was part of the ‘proof of approach’ for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI).
Resources on the waterbucket.ca Website
Click on the links below to read about the annual Learning Lunch Seminar Series:
- 2008 – Change the Way We Develop Land to Protect Stream Health and Create Liveable Communities
- 2009 – Getting Ahead of the Wave: An Integrated Watershed Approach to Settlement
- 2010 – Comox Valley Developers Dialogue
- 2011 – A Regional Response to ‘Infrastructure Liability’: Collaboration, Adaptation and Risk Management