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2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series

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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SUMMARY REPORT ON 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SEMINAR SERIES: “Create liveable communities AND protect stream health is the vision. To make it happen, a premise underpinning the series is that consistency in understanding of approaches and desired outcomes is best achieved by taking a professional development program into the places where local government practitioners work,” stated Kim Stephens, Water Sustainability Action Plan


“An action in Living Water Smart is that all land and water managers will know what makes a stream healthy, and therefore be able to help land and water users factor in new approaches to securing stream health and the full range of stream benefits. To that end, the Comox Valley series was conducted as a cumulative process, from philosophy to tools, in order to advance a regional team approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure. The desired outcome is that local government and private sector practitioners will make green choices that create liveable communities and protect stream health,” stated Kim Stephens.

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2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series: List of Water Bucket Stories

Ron Neufeld used a driver training analogy to emphasize what makes good policy. “Good policy is knowing where the horizon is..so that you know where you want to get to,” he told his audience. He then elaborated on the elements of a bottom-up and regional team approach to implementing provincial policy. “Success depends on cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries,” he underscored

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TODAY’S EXPECTATIONS ARE TOMORROW’S STANDARDS – THEME FOR SEMINAR 1 OF INAUGURAL 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SERIES: “In the last 15 to 20 years, we have seen dramatic changes in the Comox Valley in terms of land use; and rainwater effects on the environment have been dramatic,” stated Ian Whitehead when he provided context for evolution of engineering practices (September 2008)


A set of four presentations provided context for the day and set the scene for a walkabout through the Glacier View Pond area in East Courtenay. “The walkabout through the Glacier View Pond area provided an on-the-ground illustration of how the engineering approach to detention pond design has evolved in response to changing expectations,” stated Ian Whitehead in reflecting on changes in drainage practice he has implemented in East Courtenay over the past two decades.

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LEGAL POLICIES AND STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE – THEME FOR SEMINAR 2 OF INAUGURAL 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SERIES: “The Inland Kenworth site on the Nanaimo Parkway at Northfield illustrated what can be accomplished through collaboration when a municipality establishes expectations and challenges a development proponent and design team to do business differently,” stated Kevin Lagan, Director of Public Works, City of Courtenay (October 2008)


The seminar introduced the extensive and very specific tools available to local government to manage the complete spectrum of rainfall events. “We structured the seminar in two parts: establishing expectations in order to influence the greening of the built environment; and delivering on expectations. Establishing expectations essentially means drawing a picture of what we want. Delivering on expectations means this is how we can and will get there,” stated Kevin Lagan.

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NATURE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES – THEME FOR SEMINAR 3 OF INAUGURAL 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SERIES: “Use natural systems as your infrastructure,” urged Jack Minard, Executive Director, Comox Valley Land Trust, when he identified the steps in a Draft Workplan for a regional team approach to achieve the shared vision, namely: Create Liveable Communities and Protect Stream Health (November 2008)


“Nature has no borders; it does not recognize political or philosophical boundaries and it is essential for the health of human and non-human communities alike. To view nature in this way represents not a “special interest” approach but a modern advance in civil society. We are realizing that the current loss of ecosystems and biodiversity cannot continue, yet pressures to develop land for human use is placing huge demands on what remains,” stated Jack Minard.

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