Mike Donnelly – A Champion for Water & Watershed Sustainability in the Nanaimo Region
Partnership for Water Sustainability recognizes career accomplishments of Mike Donnelly, Water Champion
Mike Donnelly’s professional career covers over 30 years of experience involving engineering surveying, systems computerization, transit system management, and solid waste, water and wastewater utilities operation and management.
Prior to his retirement in May 2016, Mike was the Manager of Water & Utilities Services with the Regional District of Nanaimo. In addition to his responsibility for several water and sewer service areas in the District, he also managed the Region’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection function and served as its Technical Advisory Committee Chair.
Water was an important focus for Mike, from both career and personal perspectives. But he also kept busy by wearing hats, at various times, as President of the RCMP Auxiliary, President of Tourism Nanaimo Board, and President of the Coastal Community Credit Union Board. He also currently serves on the City of Nanaimo Public Works & Engineering Committee.
In March 2017, and in recognition of his years of commitment to promoting the vision of water sustainability on Vancouver Island, and particularly within the Regional District of Nanaimo, the Partnership for Water Sustainability named Mike Donnelly as a Lifetime Member.
RDN experience has informed the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
“Mike Donnelly’s effort and dedication to advancing the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program are considered to be a key component of the success of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative,” noted John Finnie, a member of the Leadership Team for the Partnership for Water Sustainability. Prior to retiring from government, John Finnie was the RDN’s General Manager, Regional and Community Utilities.
“Significantly, the RDN activities and success have stimulated interest and action in water protection and sustainability in other regions of Vancouver Island and the province,” emphasized John Finnie.
John Finnie and Mike Donnelly were the co-architects of the RDN’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Plan program.
A Forum for Sharing & Learning
“The Regional District of Nanaimo’s water sustainability goals have meshed very well with those of the Partnership over the many years we have worked together,” responded Mike Donnelly.
“The working relationship enhances the ability of both organizations to reach their common goals in water sustainability while supporting each other. A highlight of that relationship was being part of the Inter-Regional Education Initiative, an excellent forum for learning and passing on hard won experience.”
“It has been a real pleasure working with Kim Stephens and Partnership group over the years, all the best.”
Beyond the Guidebook 2015:
Time-Line highlights milestones for “watershed-based approach” in Nanaimo Region
The RDN was the first regional district to embrace a leadership role within the CAVI -Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative. The RDN’s contribution to inter-regional “sharing and learning” is the experience it has gained over the past decade in first developing and then implementing the precedent-setting Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program.
“A growing population combined with known negative impacts created the need to tackle issues of groundwater depletion, stream degradation, surface water contamination and the changes climate change will bring. Land use planning and development standards cannot be effectively modified without a clear understanding of our water resources, where they are changing and why,” explained Mike Donnelly.
“In 2008, and as the outcome of a successful referendum, the RDN became the first regional government to create a drinking water and watershed protection service area with taxation authority in an electoral area. This was the culmination of a 6-year effort. In 2012, the service area was expanded to include the municipalities within the regional district and they became active participants in the watershed function,” added John Finnie.
To Learn More:
The Regional District of Nanaimo chapter in Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is 16 pages and is organized in five sections as shown below. To download a PDF copy and read the complete story, click on Convening for Action in Nanaimo Region.