WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Implementing Actionable Visions – Are you curious to learn what it means to collaborate to ‘stitch together altered landscapes’, and thus improve where we live? (Announcement #6 in March 2020 for the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium – which was postponed and then reimagined due to COVID 19 pandemic)

Note to Reader:

Province-wide, there is a high level of awareness and interest in attending Comox Valley 2020, the third in the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Symposia Series. This is confirmed by the surge in registrati0ns leading up to February 29, the Early-Bird deadline. The delegate count is now close to 125. While there are still some 50 seats available, it may soon be necessary to close registration.

The format for the series is evolving, but the guiding premise endures, and that is – citizen science coupled with collaboration between the stewardship and local government sectors is powerful. When the combination of citizen talent is aligned with a local government that is both visionary and focused, outstanding achievements are not only possible, but realistic.

Delegates are coming from far and wide – from up and down the east coast of Vancouver Island; and from the Caribou, Okanagan, Sunshine Coast, Boundary and Lower Mainland regions. And delegates represent a mix of audiences – stewardship, local government (elected and staff), and business.

Water, Place and Reconciliation – Stitching Together Altered Landscapes 

Building on the success of the first two symposia, the series founding partners – Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT), Partnership for Water Sustainability, Regional District of Nanaimo, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES), and federal and provincial agencies – reached out to the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership (CVCP) to co-host #3 in the series in collaboration with the inter-regional team.

CVCP is a unique model for collaboration. Thus, an evolution in format is that CVCP is the host for Day One, and the inter-regional team is the host for Day Two. The two days are symbiotic, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The Day One program represents an extraordinary opportunity to learn from those who are pioneering a way forward on water, place and reconciliation.

The article below provides context for the Day Two program. It comprises three modules, and the unifying theme is Reconnect Hydrology and EcologyThe focus of Day Two is on implementing actionable visions.

To Learn More:

Download a copy of the VANCOUVER ISLAND SYMPOSIA SERIES AT A GLANCE to view the programs for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 events.

Message from the Chair

“I am fond of the saying: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. This comes from the hiking world but is applicable to many aspects of life and to the unique challenges of adaptation in the face of climate instability,” states Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate.

“The truth of this adage is apparent when we come together to learn from each other’s water stewardship efforts, glean new ideas to take home from our gatherings and modify and apply in our home watersheds. Comox Valley 2020 promises new opportunities to build our community of stewardship.

“The challenge to all is to act on the lessons learned and become a content presenter at the following symposia in the series. We are better together.”



Visit the Symposium homepage on the waterbucket.ca website.to learn much, much more about the “stories behind the stories”.

ON DAY TWO, delegates will learn what it means to create an actionable vision for ‘restorative land development’ that enhances the ‘package of ecological services’ provided by the ‘natural commons’. The package of ecological services is the combined range of uses (such as habitat, recreation and drainage) desired by the community.

A strategy that supports this diversity will appear worthwhile to the greatest number of interested parties. After that, it is essential to have an ongoing program which constantly initiates, perpetuates, evaluates and adjusts activities and actions that culminate in restoration of the landscape and the water balance.

Implementing an Actionable Vision

“An actionable vision translates good intentions into practices on the ground. It is driven by leadership that mobilizes people and partnerships, a commitment to ongoing learning and innovation, and a budget to back it up. Three modules on Day Two will build on the actionable vision theme,” states Paul Chapman.

In the lead-off module, a dynamic team of five women will provide insights into an array of initiatives and programs underway in four Vancouver Island regional districts.. In each region, initiatives are now into a second decade and ramping up. Inter-regional collaboration helps program managers and doers adapt concepts and approaches to the local context.

“Two pioneers, Emanuel Machado and Tim Pringle, will then tag-team to share their experiences with respect to trail-blazing a guiding philosophy, pragmatic strategies and meaningful metrics for valuing the services provided by nature. Emanuel and Tim are catalysts in transforming how local governments can value ecological systems and measure the services they provide.

“To close out the day, the federal-provincial science duo of Kim Hyatt and Peter Tschaplinski will explain why the International Year of the Salmon program has the potential to be a game-changer. Stitching together altered landscapes requires connecting people to landscapes, with salmon being a rallying cry for action. The International Year of the Salmon is a way to focus attention on this outcome: Improve Where We Live.”


Power of Collaboration

“When the inter-regional team embarked on this journey that is the symposia series, we expressed our mission objective succinctly – showcase and celebrate the power of collaboration among the stewardship and local government sectors,” explains Paul Chapman.

“Engagement of community through stewardship is a credible formula to be encouraged and mainstreamed at every opportunity. Collaborative successes over a long period of time are essential to truly achieve restorative development that would stitch together an altered landscape.”

Conversations Lead to Consensus

“On Day Two, the inter-regional team wishes to inform and inspire by providing examples of what is possible. Commitment, perseverance and incremental progress are the common threads.

“We learn from stories. We also learn from conversations, especially when there is trust and respect. Therefore, the team is being bold in building each module around a conversational process – first, on stage among the module team members; then, through their interaction with the audience.

“Learning is a gradual process. Adults take in new information, reflect on it, blend it with their own experience, test it, and eventually apply it. Comox Valley 2020 will provide delegates with much to ponder.

“Audience interaction segments will provide a measure of where delegates are at with their understanding. We will challenge delegates by asking what will YOU do differently in the days, weeks, months and years ahead to help implement actionable visions in your community?”


Designed to paint a picture of the 2-day symposium, the series delves into the details of the cascading program. The goal is to inform, educate and establish delegate expectations. To learn more, click on the links to the previous articles in the series: