STORIES OF INTER-REGIONAL COLLABORATION: “Our focus in the ‘story behind the story’ series is on how learning from each other has influenced, as well as been influenced by, initiatives and outcomes in all five regions surrounding the Salish Sea,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative

During the period between 2006 and 2011, the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island program served as a “proof of approach” for collaboration within a region. By 2012, the partner regions were primed for formal collaboration between regions to help each other move forward.

A desired outcome which is transformational in scope and impact, is that all local governments would learn from each other’s experience and would understand how natural systems support municipal services and would be able to fully integrate this understanding and associated methodologies into programs, planning and funding.

Ensure that where everyone is going is indeed the right way

There is no formal mechanism to enable or facilitate inter-regional collaboration in British Columbia. The Partnership fills this gap in the southwest corner of the province, where 75% of the population lives, through the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative.

In 2012, the Partnership asked five Regional Boards — Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo Region, Comox Valley, Capital Region, and Metro Vancouver — to endorse and actively support inter-governmental and inter-regional collaboration through a program that leverages more with the same resources. And so, the IREI was launched.The image below  illustrates parallel stream of effort and provides relevant context.

“We now have a multi-decade history under the Action Plan umbrella. This allows us to reflect on both the oral and written history, including the context that has informed our actions and thus shaped the journey that we are on,” observes Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

“In early 2023, the Partnership will begin rolling out the Stories of Inter-Regional Collaboration Series. These ‘stories behind the stories’ are weaved from conversational interviews. Comprehensive in scope, the stories document a shared history. They are not technical reports, although they are founded on technical concepts and understanding.”

“Everyone learns through stories, and this is how we hope to inspire readers. The series is about local government champions who are committed to the long-term wellbeing of their communities. Stories provide insight into the actions of local government thought leaders.”