A BEACON OF INSPIRATION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “The Bowker Creek Blueprint and the intergenerational commitment by so many players to implement the 100-year action plan is remarkable and precedent-setting. Simply put, nobody has done what the Bowker Creek Initiative has done. Success begets success. The process to operationalize the Blueprint is becoming self-fulfilling,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (March 2022)

Note to Reader:

The Bowker Creek Blueprint is a 100-year action plan to peel back the pavement, daylight an historical creek, and restore nature within the Victoria urban region on Vancouver Island. The intergenerational commitment by so many players is remarkable, precedent-setting, and inspirational.

Why are people so excited about Bowker? After all, it is either buried or degraded. The answer, according to District of Saanich environmental planner Adriane Pollard, is that the Victoria region has a dry climate and few streams. Where there is a stream that could support fish life and residents can see the creek flowing through their neighbourhood, she says, they get excited about nature in the city.

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate. The edition published on March 1, 2022 featured Adriane Pollard. A founding member of the Bowker Creek Initiative in the Capital Regional District on Vancouver Island, she provides valuable insights into the role of the municipal champion as the interpreter of a Council-endorsed guidance document, and the process for translating a vision (creek daylighting) into a tangible outcome on the ground.

Oral History Connects Dots: Know, Understand and Care

“There is no equal, anywhere, to the Bowker Creek Blueprint. The 100-year action plan for stream daylighting is about an intergenerational commitment to creating “islands of nature” within the urban environment and restoring a “ribbon of blue”. The players comprise government and community. All embrace shared responsibility,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director.

“After more than two decades of sustained effort by community leaders and local government champions, their shared vision to bring Bowker Creek back to life is close to becoming a reality. Recent decisions and actions have game-changing implications. In short, the Bowker vision is on the cusp of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. For all of these reasons, the Bowker Blueprint process is a beacon of inspiration.”

“Since 2008, the Partnership has been an observer of the process and the Bowker Blueprint journey. A thread that weaves through the Bowker storyline is the right people in the right place at the right time, over time. It is a story about people who really care. Their passion and commitment are impressive.”

“The Bowker story drives home the importance of oral history and the role of storytellers in passing on knowledge, experience, and understanding. Viewed in this context, Adriane Pollard has a crucial function in the District of Saanich. She is the ‘corporate memory’ for the Bowker Blueprint and 100-Year Action Plan. Adriane Pollard provides organizational knowledge transfer. She makes sure important learnings are shared with newcomers.”

“When each generation of practitioners within a local government understands and cares about their oral history, then successive generations of practitioners are more likely to select the right path forward at each generational inflection point. This context underscores the vital role of the municipal champion as the interpreter of the vision, the plan, and the strategy for implementation.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story published on March 1st 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: The Role of the Municipal Champion as the Interpreter.