FLASHBACK TO 2008: “Where and how land is developed determines how water is used, and how it runs off the land,” stated Kim Stephens at the Shared Stewardship of Our Water Resources Workshop

Note to Reader:

In February 2008, the Vancouver Island Region of the Ministry of Environment hosted its second annual ‘water workshop’ in Nanaimo. Under the theme of Green Approaches to Development, the Ministry invited the team of Eric Bonham and Kim Stephens to provide a progress report on CAVI – Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. Click on the YouTube link below to watch the Ministry’s Deb Epps introduce Eric and Kim.

Creating Our Future: The New Business As Usual

“In 2007, the Ministry’s first ‘water workshop’ brought together over 120 individuals representing all levels of government and local stewardship groups for a day of talks and discussion,” stated the Ministry of Environment’s John Deniseger, workshop organizer.

“In 2008, the focus shifted to ongoing, completed and proposed projects, studies and ideas around shared stewardship of the region’s water surface and groundwater resources. The workshop was aimed at planners at all levels of government, as well as stewardship groups involved in watershed planning.”

The workshop program comprised four modules. Eric Bonham and Kim Stephens headlined the module that addressed Green Approaches to Development.

Their co-presentation was titled Creating Our Future: The New Business As Usual. In the first part, Eric Bonham articulated the CAVI vision for water-centric planning and a Design with Nature way-of-thinking and acting to create liveable communities in balance with ecology. Eric’s unifying theme was collaboration.  In his part, Kim Stephens elaborated on the CAVI program and the schedule of 2008 deliverables.

Design with Nature

Kim Stephens defined what Design with Nature means and how it fits into a cascading hierarchy of green vocabulary. He also reviewed 2007 successes and how these successes have started the conversation about what A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island looks like.

Soil Acts As a Sponge

“In terms of simplifying what is at stake, it’s all about where and how land is developed determines how water is used, and how runs off the land. These are the two sides of the water equation, and the common denominator is soil,” stated Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

“Think about what it would mean to preserve the soil layer as a requirement of land development. It acts as a sponge. And what does it do? It means that gardens will use less water; and less water will runoff. We need to think simply in terms of the relationship between land and water, and the sustainability of both water supply and aquatic habitat.

Cascading ‘Green Vocabulary’

“It is important to have a common vocabulary. There are so many words in use, especially buzz words. So we began a process to simplify the language to enable a common understanding. We developed a cascading hierarchy. We boil it down to this logical flow:

“If our guiding philosophy places an emphasis on green value, and if we design with nature and implement green infrastructures, then the outcome that we would achieve is water sustainability.

Exceeding Expectations!

“In Year One of the CAVI program, we exceeded our expectations in Year One because we did not expect to accomplish everything that we did in 2007,” emphasized Kim Stephens.

“It was John Finnie, CAVI Chair, who said…. ‘it’s 2009 in 2007’….because in Year One we are already at a point which we thought would take three years to reach.”

To view the presentation by Kim Stephens, watch the video below:

To Learn More:

To view a copy of the agenda, click on Shared Stewardship of our Water Resources: Now and in the Future.

To download a copy of PowerPoint storyline that guided the co-presentation by Kim Stephens  and Eric Bonham, click on this link to Creating Our Future: The New Business As Usual.

Visit FLASHBACK TO 2007: BC Green Infrastructure Partnership promoted a new way-of-way thinking about land development —— prelude to the Ecological Accounting Protocol