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Convening for Action in 2021

BLUE ECOLOGY IS A CALL FOR AN ATTITUDE CHANGE: “We need to teach children and, for that matter, learn ourselves how to respect and celebrate water’s role in our world. Hydrologists are encouraged to embrace the companion Blue Ecology water cycle that is meant to enhance Western science’s hydrological cycle by providing a holistic cultural context,” stated Michael Blackstock, Independent Indigenous Scholar (January 2022)


“I view Western science and Indigenous ways of knowing as sovereign entities. A great deal of energy goes into rationalizing, promoting, and protecting an epistemology. However, now we need to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. We can build a collaborative epistemological framework if we transcend sovereign contemporary narrative’s boundaries, and literally mine each epistemology for gems that can be interwoven in a collaborative manner. Curiosity about other cultures draws us into a better understanding,” stated Michael Blackstock.

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NEW YORK CITY IS UNEARTHING A BROOK IT BURIED A CENTURY AGO: For decades, environmentalists and local activists campaigned to resurface the long-buried stream. Now, a changing climate is making what they struggled to achieve necessary. The Tibbetts Brook story provides a frame of reference for appreciating the scope of the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-year Action Plan, a “beacon of inspiration” on Vancouver Island (December 2021)


Amy Chester, the managing director of Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit group, said that daylighting projects, like the one to reroute Tibbetts Brook, are important in making New York City more resilient. “We’re looking back to see what we took away from nature,” she said. “And when we give it back to nature, we’re creating an asset to face climate change.” The plan to daylight Tibbetts Brook would be one of the city’s most ambitious green infrastructure projects. The brook would be rerouted above ground for one mile — including along a former railroad line that would be turned into a new greenway.

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COMOX IS A CHAMPION SUPPORTER OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY: “It is a really rare thing to have municipal staff say that we are working with a group that actually brings value and helps out, rather than the other way around,” stated Jordan Wall, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Comox (December 2021)


By pulling threads of understanding from the past through to the present and future, it would help communities achieve the vision for reconnecting people, fish, land, and water in altered landscapes. “Thus, I echo the comments by Shelley Ashfield, the Town’s Director of Engineering when she said: they say it takes a village to raise children. Similarly, it takes a village to deal with stormwater! The Town of Comox appreciates everything that the Partnership has done to support us and guide us since 2009. We have come a long way with your help,” stated Jordan Wall.

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POSTPONED TO JANUARY 20, 2022: rescheduled date for Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar on “Creating a Climate for Change”


“In terms of looking for that hopeful path, we have turned from ‘climate change’ to ‘climate for change’ – meaning that all these stressors are making people recognize that we have to do things differently. The door has been kicked open by flood, heat, wind and waves so that the question is being asked: how do we do better? We have this opportunity right now, because the ground has shifted, to bring people to a hopeful path,” stated Paul Chapman when he announced postponement of the Blue Ecology Seminar after Michael Blackstock underwent emergency surgery only days before the original November 18, 2021 seminar date..

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FRAMEWORK FOR COLLABORATIVE INTER-MUNICIPAL WATERSHED IMPLEMENTATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “We ask property redevelopment proponents how they plan to achieve the goals for the Council-endorsed 100-year action plan for the Bowker Creek Blueprint. They are adjusting their designs, and on a voluntary basis,” stated the City of Victoria’s Brianne Czypyha at an inter-regional seminar titled “A Beacon of Inspiration on Vancouver Island”, and hosted by the City of Vancouver’s Green Infrastructure Implementation team (September 2021)


“While we have had early successes, we must recognize that a 100-year plan will have a lot of challenges. And so, we are thinking about how we will achieve intergenerational implementation. This is an important consideration as people retire or leave. How do we ensure, for example, that we don’t miss those opportunities when properties are coming up for redevelopment. How do we ensure that we are asking for the right things? The Framework for Collaborative Inter-Municipal Watershed Implementation is a fantastic document. It identifies what planning tools we can use for implementation of the Bowker Creek Blueprint,” stated Brianne Cyzpyha.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: It is a story of local government champions and community leaders who share a vision, embrace shared responsibility, and are bringing Bowker Creek back to life.


Michael Lewis, a best-selling American author, provides a perspective which helps to explain why the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-Year Action Plan is a mission for everyone who has embraced shared responsibility: “It is a ‘calling’. They do not need other motivations when what they do is the right thing to do. We need to honour these people. We would tease more out of the population if we created a culture of recognition around what it means to embrace shared responsibility,” stated Michael Lewis.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “It is exciting. Who gets to have a job where part of your job is to try and figure out how to get a creek out of pipes? Who gets to do that? Not too many! I feel so fortunate, and to be able to play a leadership role,” stated Jody Watson, Past-Chair (2005-2018) of the Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative


“The BCI is more than the people sitting around the BCI table. They are representatives of an extensive network that includes three Councils, every department, 11 community associations, and the CRD too. This network is a true community-driven collaboration made up of people with a lot of heart, grit, commitment, and dedication. They are dedicated to achieving the Bowker Blueprint vision. That is what makes it the best. We are watching it implement organically and operationally. We can be proud of our accomplishments. We have done good. We have done good,” stated Jody Watson.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “I used to ride my bicycle to school and cross Bowker Creek twice a day on Richmond road. In 1971 or 1972, the City of Victoria culverted that section of the creek. Here we are 50 years later, and we have this game-changing daylighting feasibility study. Within the next decade, I am hoping to see that same culvert removed. It is now mission possible,” stated Ian Graeme, founder of the Friends of Bowker Creek


“Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria have all issued proclamations supporting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This is a rallying cry to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems caused by current and past generations. The Bowker Blueprint is a great example of something that is tangible and aligns with the overarching policy commitment in the municipal proclamations. We need agility because we do not have the time and resources. Given the challenges posed by the issues of the day, we need to move on opportunities very quickly,” stated Ian Graeme.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “My interest is community organizing, taking care of volunteers, and empowering working groups. You trust people because their hearts are in the right place. Find out who can work together. Let them do it their own way and develop their own roots,” stated Soren Henrich, Chair of Friends of Bower Creek society, when describing his vision for community-based action


“My involvement in the Bowker Creek Initiative began as a representative of a neighbourhood association. With re-incorporation of the Friends of Bowker, our structure includes five working groups, and we are connected to 11 neighbourhood groups. The broad nature of this representation raises an obvious question: Who is the community voice on the steering committee? The FoBC is already the de facto representative. A reasonable and logical next step would be to formalize this role,” stated Soren Henrich.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “I believe there is some kind of consciousness change going on, and a lot of us are starting to recognize that we are part of an ecosystem wherever we live. Even if it is a wretched, degraded system…well, that is what we are working with. This work that you do is wherever you are,” stated Gerald Harris, a Director of the Friends of Bower Creek society


“In my mind, an appropriate action as part of the 10-year review for the Blueprint implementation process would be to reimagine the Shellbourne Valley as the Bowker Creek Valley. I truly believe that renaming the catchment as the Bowker Valley is important to do. So much has to do with what people see with their perception. We must create a mind-set, with many minds, such that people say themselves: I am living on the hillside in the Bowker Valley, and this is the ecosystem to which I belong. It is my home. That is the mind-set that will get us to where we are going with restoration of the Bowker creekshed.”

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