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Convening for Action in 2008

Local government leaders endorse a "regional team approach" in the Comox Valley (November 2008)


Mayors and Chief Administrative Officers representing the four Comox Valley local governments dropped in to show their support for the 2008 Learning Lunch Seminar Series. Sandy Gray, City of Courtenay CAO, lauded the objectives of the Learning Lunch Seminar Series. “We are thrilled by the work of CAVI. It is a tremendous initiative. The cooperation that is taking place around a consistent approach to development is very critical to all of Vancouver Island,” stated Sandy Gray.

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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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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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