Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Improving Where We Live – “Collaboration in the Comox Valley – we have come a long way. Yet we have so far to go,” stated Marc Rutten, General Manager Engineering (April 2019)
“The Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan is truly a collaborative outcome. But a plan is nothing without follow-through and implementation. We’ve got the support. This plan will not sit on a shelf,” stated Marc Rutten. “Along the way, the process fostered relationships and built trust among the many stakeholders, including all four local governments. We will continue to collect data, make good decisions, educate, collaborate, and understand the true value of the most important natural asset – the watershed.”
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Improving Where We Live – “The Comox Valley Conservation Partnership brings together 23 different local groups and associations in one common forum to work proactively with local governments,” stated Tim Ennis, Executive Director (April 2019)
“The only way to get something done is through partnerships and relationships,” stated Tim Ennis. “Decommissioned in 2006, the Field Sawmill was once the economic heart of the Comox Valley. A First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit share a dream and have signed an MOU to collaboratively purchase, restore and manage this key property in the heart of their community. This is an historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations.”
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Improving Where We Live – “What are the commons? Those are places in the community that everyone has a right to access, and draw value from,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative (April 2019)
“The commons add value to quality of life. They add property value. There are two kinds of commons – natural and constructed,” stated Tim Pringle. “The concept of natural capital and natural assets can be a challenge to integrate effectively into asset management practices. Local governments need ‘real numbers’ to deliver outcomes and support decision making. EAP deals with a basic question: what is a creekshed WORTH, now and in future, to the community and various intervenors?”
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Improving Where We Live – “The Symposium provided a huge boost to MVIHES, in our efforts to draw attention to our ‘watershed health depends on you’ program,” stated Peter Law, President, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (April 2019)
Peter Law narrated a video about the environmental conditions and challenges faced in the Shelly Creek watershed. The video includes an overview of the condition of the Shelly Creek stream channel for Coho salmon and Cutthroat trout. It also illuminates the efforts of MVIHES to preserve and protect the stream. “At Parksville 2019, the field day at Shelly Creek was a big hit, in large part due to the charismatic personality of stream restoration innovator Dave Derrick in conducting both the classroom and outdoor lectures,” stated Peter Law.
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Beacons of Hope on Vancouver Island – “We are moving into the exciting part of the program. We are moving into restorative development,” stated Richard Boase, Water Stewardship Symposium Series Moderator, when he shared his perspective on featured Vancouver Island success stories to start the afternoon session on Day Two of the Symposium (April 2019)
“Some heavy lifting has gone into the wonderful stories that we are sharing at the symposium. Most importantly, there is a return on investment when restoring natural systems,” stated Richard Boase. “There is a lots of work yet to be done. What if community groups started coming forward and saying we like this project because we believe there is a restoration return on investment? The takeaway message is that, from an asset management perspective, these restored assets are going to give us a return.”
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Beacons of Hope on Vancouver Island – “Bowker and Brooklyn creek restoration success stories are provincially significant precedents. Inspirational in scope, each has a long history,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, in his context presentation for the afternoon session on Day Two of the Symposium (April 2019)
“Each demonstrates how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can be transformational and ‘improve where we live’. These precedents are beacons of hope,” stated Kim Stephens. Stewardship operates under a different dynamic than the private sector or government. Stewards are drawn together for a common cause, like-minded individuals with a vision for the greater good. This purpose is not to be found in the policy manuals of government, nor in regulations or legislation. Rather, it is built upon an enthusiastic personal commitment and passion by a band of individuals to make a difference.
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Bowker Creek Daylighting in the Capital Regional District – “We are changing the way we develop land by attempting to re-engineer the hydrological function back into our urban landscape. We are, in some ways, cultivating a new land ethic,” stated Jody Watson, Past-Chair, Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative (April 2019)
Bowker Creek flows through three municipalities: Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay. Degraded over generations, and buried for much of its length, Bowker restoration demonstrates how a good strategy is the path to success. The Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative serves as a how-to-guide for a ‘top-down & bottom-up’ approach. Connect with the community and get the vision right. “The multi-jurisdictional nature of our watersheds requires the collective commitment of local and senior government agencies, First Nations, and communities to improve the health of our watersheds,” stated Jody Watson.
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Brooklyn Creek Enhancement in the Town of Comox – “My story is both a personal and collective journey in keeping with the partnership theme; and ultimately building and nurturing relationships along the way,” stated Al Fraser, Superintendent of Parks (April 2019)
Teamwork for the common good is a powerful and often transformative experience, particularly when a longer term vision for a local creekshed engages multiple interests, disciplines and local government. Collaboration taps into the passion and ingenuity of volunteers who are driven by commitment. Al Fraser provided context for the Comox journey, with a focus on partnerships. “When I look at the definition of partnership, and put it into the context of how it applies to the Brooklyn Creek storyline, the word that resonates most with me is participation.”
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Brooklyn Creek Enhancement in the Town of Comox – “We share a vision for protecting the stream as a natural asset. We look forward to working with other local governments in the area to achieve similar goals,” stated Christine Hodgson, Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (April 2019)
On Vancouver Island, the Brooklyn Creek restoration initiative is a “beacon of hope”. A provincially significant precedent, it has a long history in demonstrating how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can “improve where we live”. The Brooklyn Creek restoration story is inspirational. “We don’t own any land. So we work cooperatively with people who do, or have access to it. We are very fortunate to have a great working relationship with the Town of Comox,” stated Christine Hodgson.
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Brooklyn Creek Enhancement in the Town of Comox – “The Town of Comox recognizes that ecological services are core municipal services,” stated Marvin Kamenz, Municipal Planner (April 2019)
At Parksville 2019, Marvin Kamenz elaborated on three building blocks in the evolution of the Town’s incremental process for implementing changes in development practices: lower Brooklyn Corridor, North East Comox, and new areas tributary to the middle Brooklyn Corridor. “Looking through the ‘worth lens’ culminated in a fundamental shift in philosophy regarding how to value natural assets in Comox,” stated Marvin Kamenz. “For the middle reach of Brooklyn Creek, we changed the approach to stormwater management in mid-project to focus on the protection and enhancement of the ‘Package of Ecological Services’.”