VANCOUVER ISLAND SYMPOSIA SERIES ON WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “The Symposia Series is a building blocks process. Each event builds on the last and points the way to the next,” states Paul Chapman, Series Chair

Note to Reader:

In 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic changed everything and created a new reality for everyone on Planet Earth. COVID is a once-in-a-century event. A public health order limiting mass gatherings resulted in Comox Valley 2020, which would have been the 3rd in the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate, being initially postponed to October, subject to a lifting of the public health order. By July 2020, the “new reality” resulting from COVID 19 made it necessary to re-imagine the 3rd Annual Symposium as a virtual Video Trilogy Series for delivery via YouTube.

Adapting to the new reality imposed by COVID necessitated decoupling of the original 2-day program for Comox Valley 2020. Decoupling meant that the two founding partners, NALT (Nanaimo & Area Land Trust) and the Partnership for Water Sustainability,  proceeded with a stripped down and reconstituted program for the third in the Symposia Series.

Pre-pandemic, NALT and the Partnership would have delivered Day Two of the Comox Valley 2020 program as a set of three modules in April. Under their pandemic response plan, the three modules were undertaken as Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series and delivered via YouTube on November 19, November 26 and December 3.

The article below was published in January 2020. It is preserved as a legacy resource so that future readers will have an appreciation for how everything changed on March 13, 2020 when COVID created a new reality for everyone on Planet Earth, and countries around the globe went into lockdown mode. 

What Do You Wonder?

In 2018, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in collaboration with the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT) and Regional District of Nanaimo launched the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate. The unifying theme for the Symposia Series is the power of local government collaboration with the stewardship sector.

“Did you know that the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate is a building blocks process. Each event builds on the last and points the way to the next. The symposium format provides a neutral forum for local elected representatives, local government staff, stewardship groups and others to ‘convene for action’ to improve where we live. The first two were held in Nanaimo and Parksville, respectively. The third is in the Comox Valley,” states Paul Chapman, NALT Executive Director. He is the Series Chair.

“The Symposia programs are built around success stories – inspirational in nature, local in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. In short, these precedents can be replicated and/or adapted in other communities.”

To Learn More:

Download a copy of the VANCOUVER ISLAND SYMPOSIA SERIES AT A GLANCE to view the programs for all three events.

Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate

The rhythms of water have changed faster than climate scientists had anticipated: winters are warmer and wetter; summers are longer and drier; and extreme floods, droughts and forest fires are occurring more frequently. Adapting to this ‘new reality’ requires fundamental changes in how we value nature and service land. In the built environment, strive to reconnect hydrology and ecology!

Nanaimo 2018 – Collaboration Success Stories

Inspired by the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium, Nanaimo 2018 was a ‘call to action’. The theme? Build on the good outcomes that flow from local government and stewardship sector collaboration!

Nanaimo 2018 introduced a vision for ‘restorative land development’ that would re-establish creekshed function. And it energized the audience with this challenge: How will communities ‘get it right’ through collaboration as land develops and redevelops?

To Learn More:

Click on NANAIMO 2018: “The vision for restorative development is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated John Finnie, Chair, Nanaimo 2018 Symposium Organizing Committee

Also, visit the Nanaimo 2018 homepage at

During the period January through March 2018, a series of e-Newsletters foreshadowed the scope of the material that would be covered at the Symposium. These were consolidated and synthesized to create a seamless storyline that serves as a legacy document for the Symposium. Download a copy of Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: Convening for Action at the 2018 Nanaimo Water Symposium

Parksville 2019 – Improving Where We Live Through Restorative Development

Building on the energy that was released in Nanaimo, the dot-connecting theme for the 3-day Parksville program was:  Restorative land development would result in sustainable stream restoration.

Parksville 2019 celebrated local government initiatives on Vancouver Island that are ‘getting it right’ over time.  They are on a pathway to reconnect hydrology and ecology. Achieving this outcome depends on collaboration, commitment, and the ‘hard work of hope’.  Follow the leaders!

To Learn More:

Click on PARKSVILLE 2019: ‘Convening for Action’ symposium started strong with Dave Derrick stream restoration workshop and walkabout, and finished strong with Storm Cunningham presentation on restorative development; remarkable 40% response rate by delegates confirmed that the key educational objectives were fulfilled

Also, visit the Parksville 2019 homepage at

Finally,the story of Parksville 2019 is told  in narrative style in Re-Cap and Reflections. It is written for two audiences – first and foremost, for those who attended; and secondarily, for those who have heard about Parksville 2019 and are curious to learn more about the ‘story behind the story’. DOWNLOAD A COPY.

Comox Valley 2020 – Climate Change, Collaboration and Landscape Restoration

In April 2020, the third in the series will further open eyes and minds as to ‘what can be’ – because the Comox Valley has emerged as an incubator region for provincially significant precedents.

Collaboration, across sectors and among rightsholders and stakeholders, is essential in order for communities to: mobilize and respond effectively to the present climate emergency; reconnect hydrology and ecology; and demonstrate that restorative land development is attainable.