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2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series

LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: At the last in the 2008 Comox Valley Seminar Series, Kim Stephens explained the graphic that illustrates the connection between land development and the sustainability of water supply and aquatic habitat (November 2008)


“I created the graphic several years ago for a meeting with the Board of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District about the water sustainability component of their Regional Growth Strategy. I knew that if I did not have their attention on the first slide, I would not have their attention on the second,” stated Kim Stephens.

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Brooklyn Creek established a precedent for inter-municipal collaboration to resolve drainage issues in the Comox Valley


“Flooding was caused by undersized culverts and poor grading. Traditional engineering solutions would have resulted in a linear total loss of habitat, would have significantly impacted on private property, and the costs were well beyond the the financial capacity of the Town. Instead, a course of action involving a suite of solutions was chosen. First and most important was a commitment by all jurisdictions to hold the line,” stated Glenn Westendorp.

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NATURE WITHOUT BORDERS: Vision for Comox Valley Conservation Strategy contributes to Living Water Smart


The main purpose of the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy is to prioritize sensitive ecosystems, linkages via expanded riparian strips and designated upland wildlife corridors and to create a new and exciting watershed-based land use planning framework. “The current process has the Conservation Strategy Community Partnership collaborating with Regional and Municipal planners, engineers and elected representatives to develop a new way of doing business in the Comox Valley,” stated Jack Minard.

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A Vision for Vancouver Island: “The 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series would inform implementation of A Positive Settlement Strategy,” stated Kim Stephens at the conclusion of the program


“Our initial objective was simply to see if we could deliver continuing education in a different way. The Series has exceeded our own expectations, Our initial objective was to facilitate a consistent understanding of core technical concepts. Because local governments enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to align local actions with over-arching provincial goals, the resulting success of the Series has enabled us to move beyond that limited objective. The energy to think like a region has been unleashed,” stated Kim Stephens.

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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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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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RE-CAP FOR 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SEMINAR SERIES: “There is a fundamental difference between outcome–oriented and output-oriented approaches to planning and engineering of municipal infrastructure. We are trying to change the way our communities look and feel,” stated Kim Stephens in his summation of the learning outcomes for all three seminars comprising the series


“The Learning Lunch Seminar Series is the first step in building a regional team approach so that there will be a common understanding and consistent messaging regarding on-the-ground expectations for rainwater management and green infrastructure. Looking back at my 35 years of experience, we have always been very good at planning; but we have difficulty going from planning to action. At the end of today, we want you to come out of here so inspired that you will actually do something, not just say that was a great day that we had,” stated Kim Stephens.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR SEMINAR #2 IN THE 2008 COMOX VALLEY LEARNING LUNCH SERIES IN COURTENAY: “We are encouraging local governments to think about policies and practices that contribute to ‘A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island’,” stated John Finnie, Chair of CAVI-Leadership in Water Sustainability (October 2008)


“The underlying theme of the Learning Lunch Seminar Series is that we can create our future. The CAVI Leadership Team believes that actions on the ground can add up to A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island. We are encouraging local governments to think about policies and practices that demonstrate how to accommodate settlement while at the same time building in green value – such that benefits exceed liabilities,” stated John Finnie.

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