OUTREACH & AWARENESS RAISING FOR PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: Update presentation by Kim Stephens on inter-regional collaboration created the opportunity to invite Metro Vancouver elected representatives to attend Parksville 2019 Symposium (Utilities Committee, Sept 2018)

Note to Reader:

Commencing in September 2011, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia has met with the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee on an ongoing basis to report out and provide updates on the program that the Partnership is delivering under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, and through initiatives such as the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI).

The number of presentations to the Utilities Committee during the September 2011 through September 2018 period totals 11. On these occasions, and at the invitation of the Committee Chair, Kim Stephens (Partnership Executive Director) has represented the Partnership as an “invited delegation”.

Inter-Regional Collaboration for Healthy Watersheds

“On behalf of the Utilities Committee, I invited Kim Stephens to provide us with an update on the successes of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in facilitating inter-regional collaboration through the participation of five regional districts in the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. Together the five represent three-quarters of BC’s population,” stated Mayor Darrell Mussatto, Chair.

“The long-term support provided by Mayor Darrell Mussatto has contributed to the effectiveness of the Partnership as the hub for a ‘convening for action’ network in the local government setting,” reported Kim Stephens. “Over the years, the support of Mayor Mussatto and the Utilities Committee at several pivotal moments went a long way towards ensuring that the Partnership would be successful in carrying out its capacity-building mission.

“Inter-governmental collaboration and funding enable the Partnership to develop approaches, tools and resources; as well as provide teaching, training and mentoring. We depend on the goodwill of community leaders such as Mayor Mussatto to provide political support for the unique bridging role that the Partnership plays in the local government setting.”

Twin Pillars for Sustainable Watershed Systems

“In 2016, Metro Vancouver support helped the Partnership secure federal and provincial funding in the amount of $265,000 for the Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management program,” Kim Stephens reminded the Utilities Committee.

“The $265,000 grant enabled the Partnership to move forward with three parallel initiatives that have further strengthened the ‘twin pillars’ of the IREI, namely the Water Balance Methodology and the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP).

“Two EAP demonstration applications completed on Vancouver Island have tested the ‘valuation of worth’ methodology to generate ‘real numbers’ using the BC Assessment database.

“The Partnership is currently collaborating with UBCM and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to integrate ‘natural assets’ into engineered asset management. ‘Getting it right’ starts with recognition that hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services,” emphasized Kim Stephens.

An Invitation to the Parksville 2019 Symposium

“My presentation to the Utilities Committee provided me with a timely opportunity to make the first outreach announcement about the Parksville 2019 Symposium, even though the Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee was still in the early stages of program development. Suffice to say, I decided to be bold and seize the moment in order to plant seeds about the vision for restorative development,” recalls Kim Stephens.

“Over the years, the Metro Vancouver Board has been supportive of the Partnership. In 2017, and acting upon a recommendation from the Utilities Committee, Metro Vancouver was a sponsor of the Blue Ecology Workshop. Hence, it was important to formally thank the committee. The Blue Ecology Workshop was noteworthy for two reasons. First, it mainstreamed Michael Blackstock’s vision for interweaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science. Secondly, it represents a practical step in the reconciliation process.

“The Partnership has a track record of being bold in mainstreaming new ideas. When I informed the Utilities Committee about Parksville 2019, my message was succinct: the twin pillars of Sustainable Watershed Systems underpin the vision for restorative development. At the end of the day, it is essential to reconnect ecology and hydrology to bring the vision for restorative development to fruition. Only then would restorative development have a lasting beneficial impact.

“Interestingly, the name Storm Cunningham resonated with the Utilities Committee. It is an attention-grabbing name! And Storm’s quote about the need for engineers to re-do 80% of the work done in the 20th century clearly made everyone sit up and take notice. It is a crucially important message – in order to solve a problem, one must first recognize that there is a problem, and then acknowledge the nature of the problem.

“In speaking to Storm’s quote, I emphasized that I am an engineer, and that as a profession we got it wrong in the way we approached drainage of land. In solving one problem, we created other problems because we did not understand that hydrology and ecology go hand-in-hand.”

To Learn More:

Download a copy of the Agenda and the Minutes for the meeting of the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee on September 20, 2018. The Agenda includes a copy of the Progress Update by Kim Stephens.