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Convening for Action in 2008

CREATING LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES & PROTECTING STREAM HEALTH: “Adapting to climate change and reducing impact on the environment will be conditions of receiving provincial infrastructure funding,” stated Catriona Weidman when she explained how the Province of British Columbia is helping goals become practice through the use of grant conditions (2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series)


The Province enacted legislation (Bill 27) that will help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities. The legislation came into force in June 2008. “The Province is leveraging its grants programs to influence changes on the ground. British Columbia is in transtion. Today, assessment criteria are based on a philosophy of ‘the greener the better’ Tomorrow, all projects must meet a green standard,” stated Catriona Weidman.

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GETTING YOUR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS BUILT: At the second in the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, Susan Rutherford of West Coast Environmental Law employed an “Issue / Question” format to illustrate opportunities and scales for law and policy to effect change.


“The question and issue format enabled a seamless transition into a town hall discussion where seminar participants talked about what they have done or what they want to do. Kevin Lagan and Derek Richmond of the City of Courtenay provided me with some questions that were at the forefront of their minds. I morphed what they gave me into generic questions. Previously when I made presentations, I focused on the legal tools and then worked from the legal tools to how do you apply them. In the Comox Valley seminar we flipped that upside down by saying: I have this problem, now what do I do in terms of a solution,” explained Susan Rutherford.

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A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate when she explained key Green Communities initiatives at the third seminar in the Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series (November 2008)


In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.

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NATURE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES: Living Water Smart explained from BC local government perspective – “The more we can align local actions with provincial targets, the greater our chances of success,” said Ron Neufeld, General Manager of Operations, City of Campbell River, at the third seminar in the 2008 Comox Valley Series(2008)


“Living Water Smart creates the opportunity/potential for real dramatic change at a local level. Good policy is knowing where the horizon is, so that you know where you want to get to. Success depends on cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries. We must hold the provincial government accountable too. They have given us the long-term vision; and we are looking to them to be accountable for the support that we now need,” stated Ron Neufeld.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “The City of Courtenay saw hosting the Learning Lunch Seminar Series as an exciting opportunity to further advance a regional team approach,” stated Kevin Lagan, Director of Operational Services (2008)


“The June 2008 release of Living Water Smart provided a timely provincial frame-of-reference for the Learning Lunch Series. The City collaborated with the CAVI team to explore a bottom-up approach that would inform implementation of Living Water Smart. Our goal was to demonstrate how we can all do business differently and thereby make green choices that create liveable communities and protect stream health,” stated Kevi Lagan.

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DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – demonstration applications in two regions pioneered a ‘regional team approach’ to aligning efforts to implement Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan


Inter-departmental participation by all member local governments effectively meant closing front counters on three Fridays for most of the day so that planning, engineering, operations and building inspection staff could attend the Learning Lunch seminars. “Each session started at 11:00am and ended at 2:30pm,” stated Peter Nilsen. “This was the right length of time to maintain the interest and energy level of participants. Three and a half hours sounds like a lot of time, but it goes quickly; and we were just scratching the surface in terms of the material that we presented.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: Ministry of Environment hosted a workshop on “Shared Stewardship of Our Water Resources: Now and in the Future”


“In 2007, the Ministry’s first ‘water workshop’ brought together over 120 individuals representing all levels of government and local stewardship groups for a day of talks and discussion,” stated John Deniseger. “In 2008, the focus shifted to ongoing, completed and proposed projects, studies and ideas around shared stewardship of the region’s water surface and groundwater resources. The workshop was aimed at planners at all levels of government, as well as stewardship groups involved in watershed planning.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “Where and how land is developed determines how water is used, and how it runs off the land,” stated Kim Stephens at the Shared Stewardship of Our Water Resources Workshop


“Think about what it would mean to preserve the soil layer as a requirement of land development. It acts as a sponge. And what does it do? It means that gardens will use less water; and less water will runoff. We need to think simply in terms of the relationship between land and water, and the sustainability of both water supply and aquatic habitat,” stated Kim Stephens.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “There was a sense of urgency. We wanted to talk about and establish some way of collaborating on Vancouver Island,” stated Eric Bonham at the Shared Stewardship of Our Water Resources Workshop


“In A Sound County Almanac,” stated Eric Bonham, “Aldo Leopold wrote that we abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” In Leopold’s vision of a land ethic, the relationships between people and land are intertwined: care for people cannot be separated from care for the land. A land ethic is a moral code of conduct that grows out of these interconnected caring relationships.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: "A performance target approach to land development makes sense, can meet multiple objectives, and thereby result in net environmental benefits at a watershed scale," stated Kim Stephens at the concluding seminar in the Cowichan Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (July 2008)


“Once we went back to basics and developed the concept of a Rainfall Spectrum, this then led into the concept of Performance Targets for rainwater runoff capture. The reason runoff percentage is the performance target is that municipalities exert control over runoff volume through their land development and infrastructure policies, practices and actions,” explained Kim Stephens.

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