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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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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “You need layers of champions. You need a champion in the community. You need a champion in the municipality. You need a champion to keep everybody aware and moving forward,” stated Adriane Pollard, Manager of Environmental Services with the District of Saanich


“With the turnover in municipal staff, I have become the municipal champion for Bowker Creek. I remind colleagues of the municipal policies and that the Blueprint is a Council-endorsed document. Every time I review a development for environmental impacts, we identify that it is in the Bowker watershed, and we state what the Blueprint says about the subject reach. Also, whenever the municipality undertakes capital and maintenance projects, we make sure to refer to the Blueprint and state what it says,” stated Adriane Pollard.

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FINANCIAL CASE FOR BOWKER CREEK DAYLIGHTING: “Asset management and ecological frameworks are merging closer than ever before,” stated Lesley Hatch, Senior Manager of Water Resources with the District of Saanich, when the Partnership of Water Sustainability released its report on the sixth in the series of EAP demonstration application projects undertaken as part of a multi-year program of applied research (October 2021)


EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, has been applied to the 100-Year Action Plan for daylighting Bowker Creek. “This is good news as Saanich continues to catalogue and valuate storm water natural assets with the intent of establishing resources to steward both hard, linear infrastructure and natural systems alike. Modern asset methodologies can sync well with other frameworks, such as EAP, which provides additional tools and metrics to improve maintenance and management across the District, and in collaboration with our regional partners on such initiatives as the Bowker Creek Initiative,” stated Lesley Hatch.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “The outdoor classroom is a learning space. For my students, it is an extension of our classroom. It becomes more engaging for them because it is real,” stated Derek Shrubsole, science teacher at Oak Bay High School and member of the Friends of Bowker Creek


“What I have now is an actual outdoor, naturalized learning space. I do not have to show a video or read a book to teach a lesson. We can go out and see it in person. The students can experience it. When you can take kids outside and engage them in that space, it becomes more engaging for them because it’s real. Before this project was done, there was really nothing around other than grass fields. We are really fortunate. We can do real science with them. Students want authenticity to what they are studying,” stated Derek Shrubsole.

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BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “All these people are my teachers, and I am learning from all of them. Is this the intergenerational baton in action? Absolutely! You cannot just pick up the baton and not know where you are coming from. You need all that history,” stated Lindsey McCrank, the Capital Regional District’s Coordinator for the Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative


“When new members get involved in the BCI, they will be in the position to accept the intergenerational baton just as I did. I believe the Partnership document about the Blueprint history will be useful, as a legacy resource, in helping new members get up to speed. One has to keep moving forward, transfer the knowledge to new people, and blend their experience and thoughts. Every person who is involved will alter the course of our future actions. I am excited to see where the Blueprint will lead us in the next little while,” stated Lindsey McCrank.

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