FLASHBACK TO 2009: “It takes time for people to wrap their minds around a concept such as regional-based planning; and understand what it really means on the ground, and on a daily basis,” stated Jack Minard following release in 2008 of ‘Nature Without Borders: The Comox Valley Land Trust Regional Conservation Strategy’
Note to Reader:
In 2009, the Partnership for Water Sustainability published a set of Curriculum Preview Stories to manage expectations for the 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series. The fifth in the series connected the dots between the Comox Valley Regional Conservation Strategy, An Integrated Watershed Approach to Settlement Change, and the Regional Team Approach.
The article featured an interview, reproduced below, with Jack Minard, (former) Executive Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust. To download a PDF copy of the complete article, click onAn Integrated Watershed Approach to Settlement Change.
Below, Jack Minard describes the vision for Nature Without Borders: The Comox Valley Trust Regional Conservation Strategy. Released in 2008, the catalyst for this initiative by the stewardship sector was that past regional strategies had a gap in policy to address the continued loss and fragmentation of sensitive natural areas in the Comox Valley.
In 2013, a second edition of Nature Without Borders was produced by the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership to address that policy gap and provide a regional approach to biodiversity protection. Nature Without Borders has been adopted by all levels of local government to guide their decision making; the document includes detailed maps of natural areas.
Comox Valley Regional Conservation Strategy
The Comox Valley Regional Conservation Strategy is a long-term approach to use and conservation of land, and was initiated by the Comox Valley Land Trust. Nature Without Borders is the title of the report that lays out a community vision. The first edition was released in July 2008.
“The Strategy aims to provide reliable and accessible conservation information to politicians, planners, developers, community groups and residents, and to assist in wise and informed land use decisions and conservation actions,” stated Jack Minard, (former) Executive Director of the Comox Valley Land Trust.
“The desired outcome in developing the Strategy is to contribute to the quality of life of Comox Valley residents by working to protect the lands that are essential for ecosystem function, human health and well-being, economic sustainability, and civic pride.”
To Learn More:
Nature Without Borders
According to Jack Minard, “the main purpose of the Strategy is to prioritize sensitive ecosystems, linkages via expanded riparian strips and designated upland wildlife corridors; and to create a new and exciting watershed-based land use planning framework.” The foreword provides this context:
“Nature has no borders; it does not recognize political or philosophical boundaries and it is essential for the health of human and non-human communities alike. To view nature in this way represents not a ‘special interest’ approach but a modern advance in civil society. We are realizing that the current loss of ecosystems and biodiversity cannot continue, yet pressures to develop land for human use are placing huge demands on what remains.”
Local Government Endorsement
In June 2008, the Comox Valley Regional District and its three member municipalities agreed to a regional-based approach to conservation planning; and by Joint Resolution formally endorsed the Regional Conservation Strategy.
Regional Team Approach
“Looking back, the story of how the Joint Resolution came about is an early application of the regional team approach,” reflected Jack Minard. “We brought together the four planning departments as an advisory board during the preparation of Nature Without Borders.”
“My understanding is that this was the first time in Valley history that all four were in the same room at the same time for a shared purpose. It took us three working sessions to build trust and foster collaboration; and at the end of #3, we had a Joint Resolution that they took back to their politicians.”
“The Resolution linked the Regional Conservation Strategy to the Regional Growth Strategy; endorsed regional conservation planning as a first step in land use and regional growth management planning; and directed regional and municipal staff to identify cross-jurisdictional conservation projects and develop partnership opportunities for implementation of projects.”
Commitment to Collaborate
According to Jack Minard, the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series played a pivotal role in solidifying commitment to collaborate regionally.
“It takes time for people to wrap their minds around a concept such as regional-based planning; and understand what it really means on the ground, and on a daily basis. So, one could describe the months following adoption of the Joint Resolution as a somewhat fragile period.”
“Timing is everything. In a very real sense, the 2008 Series provided the first public test of commitment to the regional team approach. There was an amazing moment in Seminar #3, and it was captured on a YouTube video.”
To Learn More:
To download a copy of the PowerPoint co-presentation by Jack Minard and Derek Richmond (City of Courtenay) at Seminar #1 in the 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, click on Nature Without Borders: Call to Courage
Below is a video clip from the 2008 Series when regional leaders dropped in to express their support for the ‘convening for action’ process.