JOIN US FOR A WATERSHED MOMENT (April 2-3-4, 2019): Parksville 2019 Symposium on restorative development is the outcome of collaboration involving three non-government organizations that share a vision for reconnecting hydrology and ecology – the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT), the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, and the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES)

Note to Reader:

Three non-government organizations have joined forces to co-host the Parksville 2019 Symposium. They are building on their successful collaboration in organizing the 2018 Nanaimo Symposium. The common theme for both events is the power of community empowerment and sustainable partnerships with local government.

A Message from the Chair

“Water Sustainability.  Habitat Enhancement.  Land Security.  These are important focal points for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society and the Nanaimo Area Land Trust.  These non-government groups are instrumental in maintaining the health and diversity of our watersheds.  Indeed in maintaining their very function,” states John Finnie, Chair of the Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee, and a member of the PWSBC Leadership Team.

“Is it too late?  Evidence suggests that in some cases it may be.  The 2nd Annual Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate will provide some insight to this and other questions about our water resource.

“The first symposium in 2018 struck a chord with the approximate 200 participants, who rallied for another event. So we bring you Parksville 2019.

“The themes for this year’s symposium are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development. Stand alone initiatives but intrinsically linked to a Design with Nature philosophy. PWSBC, MVIHES and NALT have brought together experts in the field to speak, and to educate and challenge participants about the critical importance of recognizing that what happens on the land in the creekshed does matter to streams.

“We need to get it right this time – we may not have another chance.

“April 2, 3, & 4 in Parksville.  Attend, participate, share, learn.  And make a difference.”

To Learn More:


For the complete storyline, download the PARKSVILLE 2019 BROCHURE. This is a comprehensive package that maps out the field day plus 2-day symposium.

A Message from Nanaimo & Area Land Trust

“Now is the time to get it right. Restoring water balance is crucial for our human and natural habitats. The 2018 Symposium brought us together and gave us energy for change, the 2019 Parksville Symposium will show us real world examples of planning for the water we want and need,” states Paul Chapman, acting Executive Director, NALT.

“Immediately following the 2018 Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium, a group of local stewards came together to further the cause of watershed health in Nanaimo. Eventually emerging as the Nanaimo Watershed Health Community of Practice (NWHCoP), the local stewards recognized the commonalities of their successes and challenges shared between their watersheds.

“Some of the challenges to stewardship, the barriers, were upstream, literally and figuratively. Literal challenges like the maintenance of water mains and new civic construction that damaged and de-watered streams. Figuratively, politicians granted variances to riparian area setbacks with little appreciation for the effects of those decisions. Outdated development decisions and practices continued to disrupt the water balance and undermine the health of watersheds.

“Some of the solutions to these challenges are time-honoured practices of Streamkeepers – observe, record, report, meet and inform. Some of the challenges require a step past the comfortable – political action. The NWHCoP share the story of their experience as they work to grow the culture of water stewardship in Nanaimo.”

A Message from Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society

“Reconnect hydrology and ecology – what happens on the land in the creekshed does matter to streams! That is the core message for Parksville 2019,” states Peter Law, President, MVIHES.

“Development reduces the capacity of the landscape to absorb and hold water. When it rains, there is more flow volume and streams erode; in a drought, there is little or no flow as the “surrounding land dries out.

“MVIHES has morphed from Stewards of the Englishman River Recovery Plan to Stewards of the Watershed. The focus of our efforts is on the Shelly Creek tributary. Shelly Creek is important to salmonids, and this is why it is necessary to understand what is causing the Shelly Creek stream channel to fill with sediment, as well as what can be done to ensure fish survival over time.

The Shelly Creek Restoration Plan that MVIHES has developed is a provincial precedent for a bottom-up approach. Community-driven action can restore watershed hydrology, prevent erosion and ensure fish survival. But only if community empowerment is coupled with sustainable partnerships with local government.

“We know that we must build trust with elected reps, local staff and developers to collaborate on Win-Win rainwater projects in the Shelley Creek drainage area. This will take time, patience and enduring commitment.

“Parksville 2019 will again 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.”