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Vancouver Island Water

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THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN US TIME TO PAUSE, REFLECT AND SEIZE THE MOMENT: “The French word ‘prevoyant’ has no English equivalent. It is the power of a prepared mind to act upon chance events in a world of deep uncertainty,” wrote George Hanson, President & CEO, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance


“Being ‘stuck in the past’ has always been a liability. Now, as the pace of everything accelerates, it is logical to expect disruption. It is prudent to be nimble and responsive. Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David Hackett Fischer wrote that prevoyant is also ‘learning to make sound judgements on the basis of imperfect knowledge; taking a broad view in projects of large purpose; and thinking for the long run’. It has been said that ‘providence favours a prepared mind’. In business, in life, in community, it has always been beneficial to look ahead. ” stated George Hanson.

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BOWKER CREEK FORUM: Program Overview for an Integrated Approach to Urban Watershed Management – “A rousing opening address by Eric Bonham set the tone for the day. His inspirational ‘call to courage’ was framed around the Mission Possible theme,” stated Kim Stephens, Forum co-organizer (February 2010)


“Over a long period of time, the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI) has demonstrated how to apply a ‘regional team approach’ to urban watershed restoration in the Georgia Basin. The players driving the BCI have brought their shared vision to fruition through development of the Bowker Creek Blueprint.The Bowker Creek Forum on February 23, 2010 was a celebration of the Bowker Creek Blueprint. Because the Blueprint accomplishment is of province-wide significance, the Forum was also an opportunity for inter-regional learning,” stated Kim Stephens

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FLASHBACK TO THE 2010 DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO: The story of Leadership Vancouver Island’s creation and sustenance is a story of leadership in action


Leadership Vancouver Island (LVI) was founded in 2005 in response a growing need for increased leadership capacity within Vancouver Island businesses, organization, and local government. “Our mission is to seek out and cultivate potential and emerging leaders. The program goal is to prepare community leaders across BC to take an active role in moving their communities forward by working with them to foster a better understanding of how the issues impacting their communities are interconnected and by forging stronger relationships among community and regional leaders,” stated Patrick Ross.

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CONVENING FOR ACTION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: The first “Meeting of the Minds” forum in 2005 was the first milestone in a process that resulted in the “CAVI, Leadership in Water Sustainability” initiative, launched exactly one year later at a consultation workshop held in conjunction with the Water in the City Conference (September 2006)


“There were a number of initiatives on Vancouver Island that were focusing upon the theme of sustainability. It was a matter of seeking out partnerships to reinforce the common theme of sustainability based upon an island wide communications information exchange network,” recalled Eric Bonham, the visionary behind Meeting of the Minds. “We did a survey. It was clear that there was widespread interest in holding a workshop that would provide an opportunity for the exchange of information, and to explore the possibility of establishing a communications network for the Vancouver Island region.”

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CONVENING FOR ACTION ON FRESH WATER SUSTAINABILITY: “We convened at Vancouver Island University to identify solutions and inspire action so that Vancouver Island would become a flagship model of fresh water sustainability,” stated Kathy Bishop when she reflected on what Leadership Vancouver Island set out to accomplish in organizing the ‘Dialogue at Nanaimo'(June 2010)


“CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, had done a lot of work on fresh water sustainability and wanted to expand the coalition. The Dialogue in Nanaimo presented an opportunity for CAVI and Leadership BC to join forces, collaborate, and together connect with new audiences. The ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ was structured around a water sustainability panel. Rather than talking heads, the panel engaged in a form of ‘improv theatre’ to feed off each other in spontaneously expressing key messages about water,” stated Kathy Bishop.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT: “Why did we choose Bowker Creek when it is a rather degraded watershed? If we could make it right in Bowker Creek, we could make it right anywhere,” stated Jody Watson, Chair, Bowker Creek Initiative, when she told the story of the 100-Year Action Plan (February 2010)


Once the Bowker Creek regional team ‘let go’ of the ISMP Template, they applied a ‘knowledge-based approach’ to watershed restoration. The experience was transformational; and laid the foundation for Blueprint development. The regional team convened as an inter-disciplinary roundtable to synthesize their individual areas of knowledge. “Drainage, land use, environmental and social information was compiled and assessed in an holistic way that enabled the members of the team to apply their collective best judgment, reach-by-reach,” stated Jody Watson.

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CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: ‘We want this day to be a springboard to action. We want to create some initial hope for water sustainability solutions,” stated Patrick Ross, Chair of Leadership Vancouver Island, when he opened the proceedings (June 2010)


“What is the Dialogue in Nanaimo about? We want to entertain you a little bit. We want to engage you. We want to show you an atypical presentation – that is, a few vignettes taking a wander throughout the world of water sustainability. So, why are we doing this today? We want to structure some dialogue that perhaps will create some networking for the future. What outcome do we want? We would hope that the individuals in this room would learn some more about this incredibly critical component of our lives. We want you to seek, greet and meet folks in this room; and find out what other people are doing,” stated Patrick Ross.

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CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: “Kathy Bishop’s focus as team leader and facilitator was on getting the ‘improv team’ to share stories that would enable and inspire individuals and organizations to reflect, understand relationships and responsibilities, and promote community water related action,” stated Kim Stephens when reflecting on how the water sustainability panel primed the audience for small group discussions (June 2010)


The Dialogue in Nanaimo was organized and facilitated by Kathy Bishop of Leadership Vancouver Island, She recruited a team of and knowledgeable individuals who were willing to participate in an ‘improv theatre’ format rather than make formal presentations. “It was a team-building process, with the objective of becoming comfortable with the ‘improv format’. Kathy was doing her PhD at the University of Victoria, and we were part of her applied research. We came together as a team, and our camaraderie was on display for all to see on the day of the Dialogue.”

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CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: “We need to change the way the engineering community looks at stormwater in order to prevent drainage from upland residential areas causing problems in the agricultural lowlands,” stated Ted van der Gulik when he was asked why the Ministry of Agriculture chairs the intergovernmental Water Balance Model Partnership (June 2010)


“Farmers are saying it is not the big storms that cause them problems. Rather, it is all the little storms. All the water from the uplands is just enough that the farmers cannot get on their land and plant or harvest their crops. Development in the uplands is affecting the way we are trying to manage agriculture. So we need to change the way we are doing things in the uplands. It is about replenishing the groundwater,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT: “The reach-by-reach approach is marketing friendly for citizen and council. They can focus on the piece they know best and relate to the picture,” stated Anne Topp, (former) Manager of Community Planning, District of Saanich (February 2010)


“I do not remember who came up with the idea to make this a 100-year plan but I think the group agreement to use the idea was brilliant. There are some big ideas in the plan and a 100-year time frame might take the sting out for the people thinking about all the little issues that could impact implementation. This approach gives us time. This plan is not just about water. It is about how this community wants to live and connect to the environment,” stated Anne Topp.

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