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April 4 – Restorative Land Development

RESTORATIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT: Parksville 2019 Symposium organizing committee releases the Detailed Agenda for Day Two (April 4) – “Getting It Right by Making Better Land Use Decisions”


“Yes, we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restorative footprint! Sustainable is attainable. Make where we live better. Create an ‘actionable vision’. Chart a new course to a sustainable water future. Celebrate Vancouver Island success stories. Follow the leaders! These success stories are inspirational in nature, creekshed in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. ‘Get it right’ and proceed along a restorative development pathway,” states John Finnie.

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MODULE A – DAY TWO – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: “In the RDN part of the program, delegates will contribute to the visioning of the next decade of Drinking Water and Watershed Protection in the Nanaimo region,” states Julie Pisani, DWWP Coordinator, Regional District of Nanaimo


“An important aspect of the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program is that it is regional in nature, with a focus on the natural boundaries of watersheds and aquifers to frame program activities, rather than political boundaries. All four member municipalities and all seven Electoral Areas are partners in this region-wide function, recognizing the water does not conform to jurisdictional lines. Protecting and planning for our water requires a high level of collaboration,” states Julie Pisani.

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MODULE B – DAY TWO – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: A Panel & Town-Hall Session on “Improving Where We Live” features five Vancouver Island initiatives to demonstrate what is possible through a Whole-System Approach


“A vision for restorative land development could be guided by the mantra: Sustainable is attainable. We can make where we live better. While communities cannot restore lost biodiversity, they can halt its decline and consciously direct efforts into bending the trend-line in an upwards direction. ‘Getting it right’ is a process that requires long-term commitment, patience and perseverance by champions,” states Kim Stephens. “Inspirational in scope, five Vancouver Island initiatives demonstrate what is achievable when there is a restoration imperative.”

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MODULE C – DAY TWO – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: Beacons of Hope – Bowker Creek and Brooklyn Creek restoration success stories on Vancouver Island are inspirational because they demonstrate how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can be transformational


Bowker and Brooklyn restoration are provincially significant precedents. Each has a long history. Each demonstrates how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can be transformational and ‘improve where we live’. These precedents represent a range of situations – Bowker is an urban setting and Brooklyn is in a suburban setting. “The Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative serves as a ‘how-to-guide’ for a ‘top-down and bottom-up’ approach that connects with the community and gets the vision right,” states Jody Watson.

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MODULE D – DAY TWO – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: “In the late ’90s, I began noticing a miraculous new trend: a number of places – both ecosystems and communities – were actually getting better, some spectacularly so,” stated Storm Cunningham, author & global thought leader


Essential ingredients for restorative land development encompass vision, strategy to deliver the vision, and commitment to implement an ongoing program. “Visionaries, designers, planners, policy makers, and project managers abound. Strategists are rare. As a result, resilience and revitalization efforts often fail due to 1) bad strategy, and 2) no strategy. Strategies are our path to success. They become our primary interface with the world. Thus, what we restore, restores us. What we revitalize, revitalizes us,” states Storm Cunningham.

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IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, Tim Ennis will elaborate on the precedent-setting nature of “Kus-kus-sum Restoration on the Courtenay River – Transforming a Decommissioned Sawmill Site into a Valuable Habitat Corridor” (Module B on Day Two – panel vignette)


“The economic return to the community through this project will far outweigh the costs. For example, the restored site will have tremendous potential to absorb floodwaters and provide resiliency to buffer the effects of climate change from more frequent and severe rain storms, sea-level rise, and storm surge events. This will mitigate the flooding-related costs to Courtenay, which have been in the ballpark of $500,000 per event,” stated Tim Ennis.

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BROOKLYN CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Our motto – ‘Uniting Communities’ – speaks to both human and other living creatures that use the Brooklyn Creek corridor and watershed as their home,” states Christine Hodgson, Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (Module C on Day Two of the Parksville 2019 Symposium – a presentation on moving towards restorative development)


“Brooklyn Creek flows through the Town of Comox and the Comox Valley Regional District, with its headwaters in City of Courtenay. Before it enters Comox Harbour, it passes through two golf courses, urban developments, farmland and two parks,” states Christine Hodgson. “Since 2005, the Brooklyn Watershed Society and Town have co-funded annual creek projects totaling $780,000.” The lower corridor is a regional amenity destination, reflecting the beneficial impact of this investment.

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BOWKER CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Agree on the vision. Set the targets. Provide planners with the detail necessary to guide site level decisions as opportunities arise. Then implement,” urges Jody Watson, Capital Regional District (Module C on Day Two of the Parksville 2019 Symposium – a presentation on moving towards restorative development)


According to Jody Watson, the Bowker process demonstrates that four ingredients are essential for a successful creekshed restoration strategy, namely – champions inside and outside government, broad-based collaboration, perseverance by individuals in all walks of life, and sustained commitment over decades by local governments. “Ultimately, Bowker Blueprint implementation hinges on embedding details into operational work plans. This is happening,” states Jody Watson. “The Blueprint is a truly integrated plan to restore watershed function over time.”

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AT PARKSVILLE 2019: On April 4, the theme for Day Two of the Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate is RESTORATIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT >>> “Yes, we can decrease our destructive footprint while at the same time increasing our restorative footprint!” (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN)


In his first book, titled The Restoration Economy (2002), Storm Cunningham included a working definition of restorative development as follows: “the process of adding new value to natural or built assets, ideally in a manner that detracts neither from their other preexisting values, nor from the value of other assets”. His books are meant to launch a new dialogue about the “whole” created by the myriad activities that are already restoring our built and natural environments worldwide.

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