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Comox Valley Water Stewardship Symposium

COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Comox Valley 2020 postponed until October 20-21-22


“The directive from British Columbia’s Chief Medical Health Officer is to cancel events where more than 50 people would be attending. The anticipated registration for Comox Valley 2020 (CV20202) was trending to about 200. In light of that directive, the CV2020) has been postponed until October. We are pleased to announce that the organizing team has secured venue dates at the Filberg Centre,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series, on March 16, 2020.

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WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our vision is to transform an eco-liability into an eco-asset in the heart of the K’ómoks Estuary,” states Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping (Announcement #7, March 2020; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM – postponed to October due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“Pre-1950 aerial photographs confirm that Kus-kus-sum was indeed a forested streamside area in the K’ómoks Estuary with side-channels connecting it to the adjacent Hollyhock Marsh,” stated Caila Holbrook. ”The restoration process will include removing built infrastructure from the site, removing fill, re-grading the topography of the area, planting native species and removing the steel wall. Nature will come back; it is already trying to – as trees and salt marsh plants are poking through the 1 foot deep rebar-reinforced concrete.”

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WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Implementing Actionable Visions – Are you curious to learn what it means to collaborate to ‘stitch together altered landscapes’, and thus improve where we live? (Announcement #6, March 2020; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM – postponed to October due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“I am fond of the saying: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. This comes from the hiking world but is applicable to many aspects of life and to the unique challenges of adaptation in the face of climate instability,” stated Paul Chapman. “The truth of this adage is apparent when we come together to learn from each other’s water stewardship efforts, glean new ideas to take home from our gatherings and modify and apply in our home watersheds. Comox Valley 2020 promises new opportunities to build our community of stewardship.”

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A ‘ONCE IN A GENERATION’ WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: “The International Year of the Salmon program has the potential to be a game-changer. It is not just about the fish; it is about humankind creating sustainable landscapes for people and salmon,” say Kim Hyatt and Peter Tschaplinski, the federal-provincial science duo who will inform, educate and engage participants in the finale module at the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium (Announcement #5, February 2020; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM – postponed to October due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“From an International Year of the Salmon perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur. From this perspective the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking,” stated Kim Hyatt.

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COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM ON WATER STEWARDSHIP: Series of articles preview the modules that comprise the program for a symposium on “Climate Change, Collaboration and Landscape Restoration”


Comox Valley 2020 is the third in a series on water stewardship in a changing climate. The Symposia Series is a building blocks process. Each builds on the last and points the way to the next. “Designed to paint a picture of the 2-day Comox Valley 2020 Symposium, a series of articles published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability during the period November 2019 through April 2020 delves into the details of the cascading program. The series is designed to inform and educate the reader about what to expect in individual program modules,” stated Kim Stephens.

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IMPROVING THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING PLACES: Should Storm Cunningham’s RECONOMICS be mandatory reading for Mayors, Chief Administrative Officers & Directors of Planning in cities and regions?


“I’ve spent the past 20 years leading workshops, keynoting summits and consulting in planning sessions at urban and rural places worldwide. All were focused on some aspect of creating revitalization or resilience.Most of those events had other speakers who recounted their on-the-ground efforts and lessons learned. I’ve thus spent the past two decades researching commonalities: what’s usually present in the successes, and what’s usually missing in the failures? I’ve boiled it down to six elements. Each of them individually increases the likelihood of success,” explained Storm Cunningham.

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STITCHING TOGETHER AN ALTERED LANDSCAPE: “An ‘Actionable Vision’ translates good intentions into practices on the ground. It is driven by leadership that mobilizes people and partnerships, a commitment to ongoing learning and innovation, and a budget to back it up,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability (Announcement #4, February 2020; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM – postponed to October due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“Water-centric programs underway in the Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Capital regions are foundation pieces for stitching together an altered landscape. Are you aware of the scope, scale and interplay of an array of initiatives and programs underway on Vancouver Island? Do you wonder whether and how these initiatives and programs are making a difference? Join us for a facilitated panel conversation complete with audience interaction segments. An inter-regional team will share and reflect on successes, challenges and lessons learned over the past decade in their regions,” stated Kim Stephens.

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NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS & SERVICES: “MNAI and EAP – it is great that we have two initiatives in British Columbia that focus on the role of natural assets in supporting quality of life and property enjoyment,” stated Emanuel Machado, CAO, Town of Gibsons (Announcement #3, January 2020; register now to learn more at the COMOX VALLEY 2020 SYMPOSIUM – postponed to October due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“Ecological systems play a fundamental role in a local government’s ability to deliver services to its residents and businesses. Yet the ecological services provided by natural assets are not fully measured or appreciated for their role in supporting municipal infrastructure and property enjoyment. Municipal natural asset management provides a roadmap and tools to incorporate ecosystems services into on-going asset management efforts,” stated Emanuel Machado.

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RE-CAP AND REFLECTIONS ON PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: The ‘story behind the story’ elaborates on how delegates coalesced around the idea of an actionable vision for improving where we live (released in October 2019)


“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. Close to 200 delegates came from far and wide. A survey of delegates provided both a remarkable quantitative measure and gratifying qualitative feedback on how well Parksville 2019 had achieved program objectives and desired outcomes.

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SYNOPSIS DOCUMENT RELEASED AT NANAIMO 2018 SYMPOSIUM: A key message about the power of collaboration – “Changing the way we do business” in urban watersheds requires that local governments partner with the stewardship sector to “get it right”


Anecdotal evidence suggests a groundswell of heightened awareness of the watershed context for ‘the creek that flows through my backyard’. “Within our growing urban areas, as our community becomes more diverse, being able to reconnect through nature offers the chance to reconnect with each other. By working to restore our urban watercourses, new and old neighbours are building connections between our natural spaces that will lead to a stronger sense of stewardship in future,” stated Rob Lawrance.

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