COMOX IS A CHAMPION SUPPORTER OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY: “It is a really rare thing to have municipal staff say that we are working with a group that actually brings value and helps out, rather than the other way around,” stated Jordan Wall, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Comox (December 2021)

Note to Reader:

In 2012, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC first presented the Town of Comox with a framed “letter of recognition” because the Town is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership. In 2021, the Partnership honoured the Town with a replacement certificate of recognition as a “Champion Supporter of the Partnership.

Derek Richmond, a founding Director of the Partnership, met with Council on December 1st  and presented the replacement certificate in conjunction with recognition of Shelley Ashfield (Director of Engineering) and Marvin Kamenz (Director of Planning) as  “Ambassadors of the Partnership”.

Water-centric land development is guided by the “design with nature” vision for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan

Support by elected representatives and staff for programs delivered by the Partnership for Water Sustainability enables the Partnership to foster and support collaborative leadership that builds bridges of understanding through intergenerational collaboration. Accordingly, the Partnership has a program for honouring partner organizations as Champion Supporters of the Partnership. 

The Champion Supporter program recognizes enduring commitment by  partners to a shared vision for ‘Living Water Smart in British Columbia’. By pulling threads of understanding from the past through to the present and future, it would help communities achieve the vision for reconnecting people, fish, land, and water in altered landscapes.

The Ambassadors program recognizes individuals who are collaborating with the Partnership and have demonstrated passion and commitment in fields of endeavour that align with the vision for reconnecting people, fish, land, and water in altered landscapes. Ambassadors, supported by their organizations, bring special value to the partnership mission. 

To Learn More:

Click below to watch the video on YouTube of Derek Richmond making the presentation to Comox Council on December 1, 2021.

Watch the video from Minute #1 through #8 to view the presentation by Derek Richmond.

What Derek Richmond said to Council

“The Partnership is a non-profit society. We were founded as an intergovernmental partnership in 2002 to fund development of the Water Balance Model. Subsequently, we provided outreach for Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan.”

“Our primary focus is education and information sharing. Right now, British Columbia is at a tipping point. A question that is out there is this: Will local governments adapt to climate change? Now, there is a beacon of hope. And that beacon of hope is Comox.”

Comox is a Beacon of Hope

“Comox leads by example to implement responsible water balance management. This is demonstrated by the experience and lessons learned in the lower Brooklyn Creek area, Northeast Comox, and the Anderton Corridor Neighbourhood Concept Plan for a portion of Brooklyn Creek.”

“You are all aware of asset management. We normally think of services such as water, sewer, roads, and drainage. But creeksheds are also assets. They provide core services to the community. Work undertaken by Comox is precedent-setting because you have embraced creeksheds as local government infrastructure assets.”

“This is a new approach. We call this EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. It helps managers change practices and adopt new strategies to protect ecological services, and enables them to put real costs and values to natural assets.”

“This is all about reconnecting hydrology and stream ecology. This is really important, and I mean really important, because in the light of the game-changing EAP concept that is being applied in practice, it began here in Comox. It has the attention of many, many eyes….not just provincially, but from other countries. How do we know this? Because of the number of hits that we are getting on the website.”

“These people are following the activities of the Town of Comox. The Town is a poster child.”

To Learn More:

The Partnership for Water Sustainability has identified the Town of Comox as a ‘beacon of hope’ because of the precedents it has established when implementing the twin pillars of the whole-system, water balance approach to land development.

The story of the Town’s journey is told in the Partnership’s Watershed Case Profile Series, in a document titled Town of Comox – A ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Citizen Science in Action & Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology through the Water Balance Approach to Land Development, The Watershed Case Profile recognizes the passion, commitment and perseverance over many years on the part of Town of Comox local government staff and volunteers in the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society to improve where they live.

AMBASSADORS OF THE PARTNERSHIP: Derek Richmond (on right) presented “certificates of recognition” to Shelley Ashfield, Director of Engineering, and Marvin Kamenz, Director of Planning.

Recognition of Shelley Ashfield and Marvin Kamenz

“The Partnership is not just an organization. It is a network of people and organizations who share similar values about water sustainability. We share knowledge and support one another. And it is the network that sustains itself. Not the organization.”

“We in the Partnership have realized for some time the need to look at succession planning and ways to ensure the Partnership continues. It really is all about passing on the intergenerational baton for generational information transfer.”

“There are many unsung heroes, particularly in local government organizations, who go unrecognized. But there are organizations that recognize the importance of those unsung heroes.”

“Through a new program, our Ambassadors program, there is an opportunity to recognize those heroes as ambassadors of the Partnership and the network. These are the go-to people. Clearly, those organizations that are forward looking and ‘get it’ and give their support to their ambassadors, we recognize them as Champion Supporters.”

“On behalf of the Partnership, I am here to recognize the valuable contribution and dedication to sustainable water practices undertaken by Shelley Ashfield and Marvin Kamenz. And to also recognize the Town of Comox for your foresight in supporting the work of Shelley and Marvin, and championing them to achieve their objectives as ambassadors and the Town as a champion supporter.”

Acceptance Remarks by Mayor Russ Arnott

“The Town does take a lot of pride in the work we do to protect our watersheds. We cannot do it without the work of the volunteer community members who do a lot of hard work behind the scenes. The Town wants to continue making the Brookyn Creek area and Northeast Comox better as climate challenges become more direct upon us. We want to ensure there is a balance maintained between development and stream protection,” stated Mayor Russ Arnott.

CHAMPION SUPPORTER OF THE PARTNERSHIP: Town of Comox Mayor Russ Arnott acknowledged presentation of the “certificates of recognition” by Derek Richmond, a founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.


FLASHBACK TO CAVI: Regional Team Approach within the Comox Valley and on Vancouver Island

Beginning in 2008, the Town of Comox was a champion for CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island  an early initiative of the Partnership for Water SustainabilityComox was a member of the CAVI-Comox Valley Regional Team. The regional team also comprised representatives of the City of Courtenay, Village of Cumberland, Comox Valley Regional District, Comox Valley Land Trust, TimberWest, and the Partnership.

Through a program of professional development, the regional district and three municipalities  aligned efforts, with the goal of building leadership capacity and striving for a consistent Comox Valley regional approach to Sustainable Service Delivery.

The Comox Valley program was initially built around an annual seminar series that was inter-regional scope and held from 2008 through 2011, and was attended by local government staff  representing communities from the Capital Regional District in the south, to Campbell River in the north.

This program was the foundation for a ‘regional team approach’. The seminars provide a neutral forum for sharing, exploring and learning in a way that no other forum currently provides. Between 2012 and 2015, the series morphed into intra-Comox Valley working sessions involving the four local governments.

Glen westendorp (120p)“We have moved beyond continuing education solely for the purpose of professional development. We are exploring what implementation of regional policy means on the ground,” stated Glenn Westendorp, (former) Public Works Superintendent with the Town of Comox. He chaired the 2011 Comox Valley Seminar Series.

“One of the foundation pieces underpinning the series is expressed this way: All those involved in land development have a role to play in achieving Sustainable Service Delivery. The players include land use and infrastructure professionals.”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the article published in the Summer 2011 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter, click on Comox Valley Local Governments Showcase A Regional Response to Infrastructure Liability

About the Town of Comox

The name Comox is an Anglicization of Kw’umuxws, as the area was known by its original First Nations inhabitants. It means is ‘plentiful, rich, wealthy’. 19 Wing Comox, the only military base on the West Coast, is located in Comox, with a primary focus of Search and Rescue. The Town is one of three communities in the Comox Valley.

The Comox Valley is located at the midway point of the east coast of Vancouver Island. Stunning scenery surrounds the community, with the Comox Glacier crowning the Beaufort Mountain range to the west, and the calm waters of the Georgia Straight to the east.


Town of Comox is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

The Champion Supporter designation is the Partnership’s way of formally recognizing government and non-government organizations that provide the Partnership with ongoing financial and/or in-kind support; and also play a leadership role in the ‘convening for action’ initiative,” wrote Tim Pringle, Founding President of the Partnership, in a letter to Mayor and Council in 2012.

“We are pleased to inform Mayor and Council that the Town of Comox is hereby deemed to be a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.”

Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative

“Commencing in 2008 with participation in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, the Town has emerged as a leader in the CAVI initiative, and this in turn is translating into provincial recognition,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director and facilitator for the annual Comox Valley series.

“Also, the Town became a partner in the Water Balance Model initiative in 2009, and is a champion of the water balance approach to rainwater management.”

“The Partnership values our relationship with the Town, and we applaud Council’s exceptional commitment of staff resources and funding to advance the Town’s strategic goals of environmental stewardship and public communication. This includes chairing and hosting the 2011 Learning Lunch Series.”

“Also, the 2012 set of regional team working sessions constituted “proof of approach” for the Inter-Regional Education Initiative on Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context (IREI). The experience gained will help us facilitate full-scale implementation on both sides of the Georgia Basin in 2013 and beyond,” concludes Kim Stephens.