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Parksville Water Stewardship Symposium

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: “Parksville 2019 attracted an audience balanced across sectors; demonstrated the power of collaboration between the stewardship sector and local governments; and created an environment for sharing and cross-fertilizing experiences,” stated John Finnie


“Parksville 2019 demonstrated that a group of 200 biologists, planners, engineers, streamkeepers, politicians, administrators, students and others, all with different backgrounds and responsibilities, can share a common learning experience and agree on strategies for water and land stewardship, and stream restoration. Truly a magical experience. The stage has been set for more and better things to come. Stay tuned,” concluded John Finnie, Chair of the Parksville Symposium Organizing Committee.

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Convening for Action in British Columbia: Do You Wonder About the Outcomes Flowing from the Parksville 2019 Symposium?


“Thank you so much for the immense amount of work you do to protect ecosystem services and teach us all about taking responsibility. The Vancouver Island symposium on water stewardship was so inspiring and informative. It was a wonderful experience. I left Parksville feeling hopeful,” stated Councillor Laura Dupont, City of Port Coquitlam. This article provides a re-cap and a synopsis of the modules comprising the symposium program, and features three “stories behind the stories”.

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COLLABORATE FOR THE COMMON GOOD: “Engagement of community through stewardship is a credible formula to be encouraged and mainstreamed at every opportunity,” stated Eric Bonham when he provided his perspective on citizen science in action in British Columbia


“Collaboration, teamwork and a recognition that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is the energy that stokes creativity and determination. When this combination of citizen talent is aligned with a local government that is both visionary and focused, outstanding achievements are not only possible, but realistic,” stated Eric Bonham. “The core message is the power of thoughtful and constructive collaboration. It is one thing getting together to share ideas. It is quite another when there is a genuine desire to truly listen to each other, and through commitment, reach for the common good. “

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WATER SYMPOSIUM ROCKS PARKSVILLE: “Delegates learned how communities can apply science-based understanding to restore the natural water balance,” wrote Barb Riordan in an article posted on the MVIHES website


“Last year’s symposium, held in Nanaimo, explained how land development using drainage systems that send rainfall straight off the land into creeks and rivers disrupts the natural flow and infiltration patterns of water on our landscape. The consequences of this disruption are more erosion and flooding, very low water levels in summer, and loss of aquatic habitat. The problem will worsen with climate change,” wrote Barb Riordan. “This year, delegates learned about local government initiatives that are ‘getting it right’ and moving along pathways that lead to restorative land development.”

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PARKSVILLE 2019 EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES AT A GLANCE: “We wanted delegates to absorb and reflect on what was most important. The results of the online survey immediately after the symposium confirm that the educational objectives were achieved in spades,” stated Kim Stephens


“We organized each day as four modules in order to proceed at a relaxed pace by allowing ample time for each module. Each had an educational objective. Because memories are short, each morning and afternoon session kicked off with a 15-minute context presentation. These set the scene for what was to come, while at the same reminding delegates of the big picture,” stated Kim Stephens. “The educational objectives helped to inform and establish expectations. It was a matter of providing context and then being clear and succinct about the desired takeaways.”

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DOWNLOAD POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS: Parksville 2019 – Second Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (April 2-3-4, 2019)


“It truly was a watershed moment at Parksville 2019. We set out to attract an audience balanced across sectors, demonstrate the power of collaboration between the stewardship sector and local governments, and create an environment for sharing and learning from each other. We achieved all three objectives,” stated John Finnie. “Parksville 2019 demonstrated that a group with different backgrounds and responsibilities can share a common learning experience and agree on strategies for water stewardship and stream restoration.”

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SHOWCASING SHELLY CREEK THROUGH A VIDEO SERIES: “Water is fluid, active and mercurial. Show it that way, the good and bad, so people can relate to challenges in their neighbourhoods and help address them through active engagement,” states David Mackenzie, videographer


“If the community comprehends the issues at hand, and the solutions that are needed, then leaders may be able to establish a support base that can help move watershed sustainability in the right direction within the community,” observes David Mackenzie. “Visual media forms, such as photography and videography, are well suited as environmental evidence for what is going wrong in watersheds. But also, can show what success can look like when restoration is achieved. One cannot attract supporters through just words and bullets on PowerPoint slides. Visual media is the way to do this today.”

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CONVENING FOR ACTION AT PARKSVILLE 2019: Mayor Ed Mayne to open symposium with a “welcome to Parksville”


The Mayor recognizes that the Symposium is timely in terms of celebrating the opening of the new Englishman River Water Service treatment plant. He is proud that the City’s contribution to the success of the Symposium is the guided tours of the river intake and water treatment facilities. Operation of the Englishman River Water Service is guided by this statement: “An environmentally sensitive use of water to improve fish habitat and domestic water supply”. At a time when the climate is changing, it is a balancing act to achieve both outcomes when summers are longer and drier.

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REGENERATION AND RESTORATION IN ACTION: Storm Cunningham is coming to British Columbia to inspire audiences to “improve where we live” (Announcement #9, March 2019)


“The Restoration Economy introduced the huge and multifaceted industrial opportunity that gave the book its title. It was the first book to encompass restoration of both built and natural environments, documenting the crises, disciplines and industries that lie beneath what I see as a global trend toward renewal,” states Storm Cunningham. “In reWealth! I make a clear distinction between dewealth and rewealth economies.”

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WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABLE STREAM RESTORATION, FEATURING SHELLY CREEK: “I will teach many simple techniques. Combined together they will start to replicate nature; we will all learn together,” states Dave Derrick, stream restoration innovator (April 2019)


Dave Derrick was a co-developer and co-instructor in the first American Society of Civil Engineers stream class, titled “An Introduction to Stream Investigation, Stabilization, and Restoration”. The morning lecture is a streamlined version of this course. Dave Derrick will cover the philosophy of restoration, channel dynamics and evolution, and bioengineering methods. Shelly Creek is the case study for improving in-stream hydraulic and environmental functions in fish-bearing streams along the east coast of Vancouver Island.

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