CONVENING FOR ACTION ALONG THE EAST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND: Cowichan Valley Regional District shares its successes and challenges in protecting water resources at inter-regional meeting in April 2017

Note to Reader:

Everyone learns from stories. In the world of local government, the most compelling are the stories of champions who are leading or pioneering changes in the way local government delivers services.

In April 2017, the Cowichan Valley Regional District hosted a meeting of mid-Vancouver Island regional districts (Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo Region and Comox Valley). Their purpose in meeting was to share successes and challenges in protecting water resources.

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Understand the Problem to Build Consensus on a Solution

“We began with the concept of a watershed-specific service for the Cowichan River system. But the public sees water in the Cowichan region as requiring a broader regional issue. This feedback has re-shaped and evolved our thinking,’ reports Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Officer, Cowichan Valley Regional District.Brian Carruthers_Cowichan Valley CAO_120p

“So what made the difference? The answer is found in our approach to the public engagement process. We focused on the problem, rather than on a pre-determined solution. Informing and educating the community about the nature of the problem was a difference-maker to their understanding. It also stirred interest to explore what other regional districts are doing.”

Inter-Regional Collaboration

“The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Comox Valley Regional District provide a range of experience that we can learn from: the RDN has a true region-wide service function; and Comox Valley has a watershed-based service,” continues Brian Carruthers.

“The CVRD appreciates that the April session was a major undertaking on the part of our RDN and Comox Valley peers – first to prepare for the session, and then to set aside a day in their busy schedules to travel and share their experiences. Their time commitment was a major gesture in the spirit of inter-regional collaboration.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story, download Peer-based Learning is Motivating and Powerful – Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”, released in May 2017.