REGISTER WHILE YOU CAN: Charting a New Course to a Sustainable Water Future on Vancouver Island (April 11-12)

Note to Reader:

You are invited to join us at the Nanaimo Water Symposium on April 11-12. Registration is a mere $55. The Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT), Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), City of Nanaimo and the Partnership for Water Sustainability are working hard to ensure that this event will indeed be a “watershed moment” on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Author Bob Sandford is the headline attraction at a public lecture on the evening of the 11th. His latest book is titled THE HARD WORK OF HOPE. Attend and be inspired by Bob’s stirring call to action.  He will elaborate on why restorative development would allow us to adapt to a changing climate. He will also provide closing remarks on the 12th.

The Symposium emphasis is on sharing and learning through storytelling that inspires action. By attending, you would learn about three initiatives in particular: 
Attend and you may be one of the lucky ones to receive a colour copy of a Water Balance Approach on Vancouver Island. But you must be one of the first 50 to sign-in on April 12. This guidance document is relevant to all local governments on the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond.

DRINKING WATER & WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM IN THE REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO: “2018 marks the tenth year of program implementation. The solid foundation provides a great opportunity to move forward with a model of innovative collaboration, to tackle the issues and chart a new course to a sustainable water future. Will other regions take notice and follow in RDN’s footsteps?” 

Download a copy of the PROGRAM BROCHURE

To register, visit

For a capsule summary, scroll down to poster below.

The Key Messages

Organized under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI), Symposium key messages are:

  • Restorative suburban development in the mid-Vancouver Island region is possible.
  • Local government collaboration with the stewardship sector is the lynch-pin for successful outcomes on the ground.
  • “Changing the way we do business” in urban watersheds requires that local governments partner with the stewardship sector to “get it right”.

Adapting to climate change requires transformation in how we perceive watershed worth and service land. It also requires community empowerment and stewardship sector partnerships with local government. Heightened citizen understanding of the watershed context for “the creek that flows through my backyard” would then be the driving force for collaboration and action on the ground.

The Hard Work of Hope

“If we are to achieve any meaningful level of sustainability, all development has to be not only sustainable, but restorative. We can no longer simply aim to slow or stop damage to the Earth system; we have to restore declining Earth system function,” wrote Bob Sandford in an opinion piece published in conjunction with the launch of his latest co-authored book: The Hard Work of Hope.

Our Society Floats on Water:

“Canada, and British Columbia in particular, are in a good position to make sustainability possible. Though our society is powered by petroleum and lubricated by oil, it floats on water. Our society is a vessel in its own right. It is a lifeboat carrying us all over water toward the future,” continued Bob Sandford.

“It is impossible to think of a boat carrying societies into the future without thinking of artist Bill Reid’s famous Black Canoe, a replica of which is on prominent display at the Vancouver Airport. The Black Canoe is nothing less than a Haida ark; the complete physical reality and spiritual universe of an entire people in one boat, in which everyone and everything paddles together toward the future.

“The Black Canoe is a magnificent metaphor for British Columbia. In addition to spectacular natural landscapes, British Columbia possesses remarkable Indigenous cultures.

“Few places in the world are as rich in traditional and local knowledge and in possession of such a deep sense of place.

“The opportunity still exists here for everyone to get into that ‘Black Canoe’ and, along with all the animals and the rest of creation, paddle together toward the great promise of living in, and sharing with others, a province that was once deemed — with some justification — the Best Place on Earth,” concluded Bob Sandford.

Once We Change Our Attitude, We Will Find the Path to Success

The panel lens is a watershed lens – restore watershed hydrology to prevent increased stream erosion, prevent increased risk of flooding, and protect aquatic habitat. The desired outcome: the audience will be informed, energized and inspired to become champions for restorative development!

The panel session will shine the spotlight on the role played by the stewardship sector in building trust and delivering outcomes through effective partnerships with local governments. Four panelist perspectives are foreshadowed below:

Paul Chapman, Nanaimo & Area Land Trust

In 1998, and in partnership with the City of Nanaimo, NALT launched Project 2000 to catalyze neighbourhood stewardship of city waterways. NALT held many community meetings to grow awareness of what living in a watershed means. Nowadays, groups come to NALT to tell us about their stewardship activities and to seek ways to expand those activities. We are working together to grow our network and activities across the region.

Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo

“Water is a resource, but it is much more that that too. It is a life force; a spiritual force. If we are to ultimately succeed in our region in managing our actions on the land so that we may protect and preserve our water, we must sustain partnerships that collectively make us much more effective together than in isolation.

Rob Lawrance, City of Nanaimo

“Within our growing urban areas, as our community becomes more diverse, being able to reconnect through nature offers the chance to reconnect with each other. By working to restore our urban watercourses, new and old neighbours are building connections between our natural spaces that will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship in future.”

Peter Law, Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society

“The symposium will draw attention to the value of ‘citizen science’ and how it can be leveraged to achieve two complementary objectives: educate the local community (public); and provide an impetus for political action that results in implementation of environmental policy at the local and/or provincial level.”