GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE: “History is important. It is important to understand how we got to where we are. And we need to celebrate that work,” stated Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Officer (2014-2022), Cowichan Valley Regional District
Note to Reader:
In September 2022, the Partnership for Water Sustainability honoured Brian Carruthers with a Lifetime Membership in recognition of his stalwart support for the Partnership in his role as Chief Administrative Officer (2014-2022) of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Brian Carruthers career in government spans 40 years. He spent the first 20 years with BC Parks, supervising and managing operations in some of the largest and busiest provincial parks in BC. In 2001, he switched to local government, and served as both a municipal and regional district CAO in the Kootenay Boundary, North Central and Vancouver Island/Coast regions of BC.
Living and working in communities across the province, Brian has gained a deep understanding and appreciation for the unique opportunities and challenges facing regional districts and small to medium size communities.
Kim Stephens (on the right) presented the LIFETIME MEMBER certificate of recognition to Brian Carruthers (on the left). Scenic Cowichan Bay is the backdrop.
Brian Carruthers is a Champion Supporter of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
“Cowichan Valley Regional District experience has influenced core content for provincial guidance documents and curricula for training sessions, workshops and seminars held around the province and delivered by the Partnership for Water Sustainability under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.
“CVRD collaboration with the Partnership has been supported by successive Regional Boards and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). Their support is the essence of handing off the baton from one administration to the next over five election terms and three CAOs, namely – Frank Raimondo (2006-2007), Warren Jones (2008-2014), and Brian Carruthers (2014-2022).”
“Support by elected representatives and staff for program elements delivered by the Partnership (through initiatives such as the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative) enables the Partnership to foster and support collaborative leadership among participating local governments. In turn, that builds bridges of understanding through intergenerational collaboration.”
“For almost decade, stalwart support by Brian Caruthers has been a critical success factor in building momentum for a whole-system approach to water resource management,” concludes Kim Stephens.
A Window into the Cowichan Water Journey
“I had a real incentive to come to the CVRD in 2014 because water was the primary focus. I was really impressed by the CVRD’s work in terms of water, the Cowichan Watershed Board, and protection of the Cowichan watershed,” states Brian Carruthers.
“It made it intriguing for me because I came from a regional district that had no desire to be involved in those kinds of things. When I started at CVRD, the region was in the midst of a watershed governance study. It was looking at how the CVRD could take a more active role in watershed governance.”
“The Board Chair and I did tours of First Nations communities and met with their chiefs and councils around the intent of this initiative and what would their interest be. We realized that this was bigger than we could take on at that time. Instead, we turned our attention to the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection (DWWP) model for a regional service.”
“It is a story of ups and downs. Running into obstacles and resistance, whether in the community or at the Board table, but always keeping the end-result in mind: making sure we have enough water in our region to satisfy a growing region. And that outcome is what always kept us focused on moving drinking water and watershed protection forward.”