A VISION WITH A TASK IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD: “Honouring of Jody Watson with the 2023 Watershed Moments Award is both timely and a great example how one individual with a long term vision and determination can make a difference,” stated Eric Bonham at the Partnership for Water Sustainability Forum held in Nanaimo (October 2023)

Note to Reader:

Published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on November 28, 2023 featured Jody Watson of the Capital Regional District because she is the recipient of the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s second Watershed Moments Award. The award draws attention to the vision for connecting people and place and recognizes her extraordinary contribution to environmental sustainability.

A vision with a task is the hope of the world 

The Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Watershed Moments Award honours the memory and legacy of the late Rob Lawrance (1964-2022), former Environmental Planner with the City of Nanaimo. In 2018, he was a founding member of the Watershed Moments Team.

The award draws attention to the vision for connecting people and place by recognizing the passion and commitment of those who excel in contributing to the success of the Watershed Moments idea and vision.

Connect people and place

Rob Lawrance had an extraordinary ability to connect with people and people with ‘place’, as does Jody Watson of the Capital Regional District. Jody is the second recipient of the Watershed Moments Award. She follows Kate Miller of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Just like Rob did throughout his career, Jody champions the embedding of ecosystem values within municipal planning, processes and projects. Both Jody and Kate represent their regional districts on the Watershed Moments Team.

The award presentation took place in October in Nanaimo at the inaugural Ambassadors of the Partnership Forum. The event brought together local government members of the Partnership from along the east coast of Vancouver Island.



“The 100-Year Action Plan for bringing Bowker Creek back to life through an intergenerational commitment to a shared vision is Jody Watson’s pre-eminent claim to fame in the world of BC local government,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“As chair of the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI), Jody provided inspirational leadership for 13 years from 2005 through 2018. Without determined champions such as Jody Watson and her BCI peers, nothing gets started and nothing happens. Champions motivate others.”

A vision with a task is the hope of the world

“The BCI is more than the people sitting around the BCI table,” Jody Watson emphasized when I interviewed her in 2021 for A Beacon of Inspiration: Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-Year Action Plan.”

“Key words that capture the essence of the Bowker story are perseverance, dedication, and TIME in capitals. Changes do not happen overnight. It is a journey and journeys take decades.”

“The BCI members are representatives of an extensive network that includes three Councils, every department, 11 community associations, and the CRD too,” continued Jody.”

Jody Watson’s legacy

“I have known and admired Jody Watson for almost two decades. She is a great communicator. Jody always looks for opportunities to advance the mission, and she focuses on results,” continued Kim Stephens.

“When I met with elected reps on CRD’s Environmental Services Committee in 2014, I described the Bowker Creek Blueprint as a game-changer and provincially significant.”

“The Bowker Creek Blueprint gave the rest of us a vision of what can be, I stated, and the Bowker process showed us how to give life to the vision.”

“In my remarks to the CRD committee, I underscored that in my professional judgement there is nothing that equals the Bowker Creek Blueprint. The intergenerational commitment embodied in the 100-Year Action Plan is at the heart of Jody Watson’s professional legacy!”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: What makes the Capital Region’s Jody Watson special, a tribute from the heart by Eric Bonham

“Jody Watson, our recipient of the Watershed Moments Award for 2023, reflects the vision and determination that was the hallmark of Rob Lawrence’s commitment to watershed health,” stated Eric Bonham when he commenced his tribute at the inaugural Ambassadors of the Partnership Forum on October 25th in Nanaimo.

Courage, Commitment, Collaboration and Creativity

“Jody Watson was destined to become a respected community leader. With early training in the naval reserve, she quickly learned the skill of self-discipline and determination, while still remaining true to herself in what was a male dominant environment.”

“Jody Watson is an example of someone who reflects the best of public service, cognizant of political direction, yet equally comfortable engaging community in the development of WIN-WIN outcomes. So what are those leadership qualities that Jody projects? I refer to them as the Four Cs.”

Courage:  “To attempt, what may seem impossible, yet not be daunted by the challenge.”

Commitment:  “The tenacity to be in for the long haul, yet weather set-backs along the way.”

Collaboration: “To inspire and engage others, and together, reach for the common goal.”

Creativity: “Blend vision with task that results in making a difference.”

“Jody Watson has consistently demonstrated these four qualities throughout her working career. She is a change agent, passionate about building effective partnerships, both within and outside of government. Early in her career, Jody realized the importance and value of local government-community relationships built upon mutual trust, respect and common purpose.”

A vision with a task is the hope of the world

“Jody Watson is an effective spokesperson for the Capital Regional District (CRD) who has encouraged innovation and environmental protection, while recognizing a necessary balance with development interests.”

“For example, consider the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-year Action Plan, where three local governments, Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay, with their respective community leaders, embraced a shared vision and responsibility to rehabilitate Bowker by daylighting the creek and reclaiming the riparian corridor.”

“With her characteristic vision and task focus, Jody Watson fulfilled an influential leadership role, particularly so, during the formative years of this groundbreaking initiative.”

Four creative initiatives in the Capital Region

“As Supervisor of Environmental Stewardship and Initiatives at the CRD, her broad mandate includes public education, outreach on water conservation, integrated watershed management, biodiversity, stormwater infrastructure, invasive species to name but some.”

“This responsibility involved engagement with community representatives where Jody’s leadership was a contributing factor in the development of four creative initiatives, including:

Visionary and pragmatist

“In her role as Supervisor, Jody Watson is fully aware of this requirement, and has emphasized collaboration and teamwork at every opportunity. The initiatives are timely, and as a result, creative community partnerships are being forged to address changing circumstances, and indeed, our very understanding of our relationship with water.”

“Jody Watson is an inspiration, an able communicator and mentor who ‘walks her talk’, a champion for innovation, noting the importance of ecological principles within the development process. Jody is both a visionary and a pragmatist, for the vision and task are equally important, and that is what makes the difference,” concluded Eric Bonham.


Living Water Smart in British Columbia Series

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