“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,” quoted Jack Minard. “Use natural systems as your infrastructure,” he added.
Convening for Action in 2008
LEGAL AND POLICY STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: – theme for Seminar 2 of inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (October 2008)
“When we came up with the Learning Lunch idea, our objectives and expectations were quite modest. We wanted to explore a collaborative approach that we believed would help local governments make informed land development decisions that meet multiple objectives. The idea was an outcome of the Green Infrastructure Leadership Forum that CAVI and the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities co-hosted in December 2007,” stated John Finnie.
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.
Turning the Tide in Nanaimo: The story of the Inland Kenworth development as told by Dean Mousseau and Gary Noble
The Inland Kenworth industrial development in the City of Nanaimo illustrates what can be accomplished through collaboration when a municipality challenges a development proponent to be innovative. “As a planner, I believe we should start by looking at site constraints and opportunities. And that is where our conversations started with the developer and consultants team,” stated Gary Noble. The Inland Kenworth story was incorporated in the curriculum for the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series.
RAINWATER MANAGEMENT / THE NEW BUSINESS AS USUAL: “Everywhere I go I am seeing evidence of the new ethic. It is not that everyone is perfect, but the change is really coming along,” stated Maggie Henigman, BC Ministry of Environment
“Since 1996 I have been working across Vancouver Island, both reviewing development proposals and monitoring project implementation. In the last couple of years I have been really pleased to see a huge shift take place in the way projects are being done. As I reflect on the current situation, it strikes me that we have created a new social norm; and it is being accepted by the development community as a whole. The change in attitude is really gaining momentum,” stated Maggie Henigman.
CONVENING FOR ACTION IN THE COMOX VALLEY: British Columbia’s Living Water Smart program is a provincial strategy and shared responsibility – “The message is that we are rewarding good behaviour,” stated Glen Brown at the 2nd in the Comox Valley seminar series (October 2008)
“This is a provincial strategy; we must look at it as a shared responsibility. It is not one strategy; the Province has a number of strategies. The Province is looking at raising the bar as far as what we are trying to accomplish with standards and provincial legislation. We really have to look at how we develop land. Ultimately this requires leadership and champions on the ground,” stated Glen Brown.
NATURE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES – theme for Seminar 3 of inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (November 2008)
The focus was on a performance target approach to land development that makes sense, meets multiple objectives, is affordable, and results in net environmental benefits at a watershed and/or regional scale. In setting the context for the day, the City of Courtenay’s Manager of Engineering explained the difference between boundaries and what he called commonalities. “To be successful, we need to work outside our normal boundaries, And we need to proactively communicate and work with others,” stated Derek Richmond.
The City of Courtenay was the host municipality for the 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series. At the third and final seminar in the Series, held in November 2008, Kim Stephens re-capped the first two seminars, reinforced the provincial context for the series, and reviewed the learning outcomes. referenced the “Commentary on Effective Municipal Rainwater/Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure to Achieve Watershed Health” and emphasized its importance/relevance as part of a bottom-up approach to doing business differently. ”
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.
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.