BUILDING NANAIMO REGION’S ACTIONABLE VISION FOR WATER & WATERSHEDS: “It all started with a conversation,” recalls John Finnie, General Manager for Regional and Community Utilities, Regional District of Nanaimo
“Once upon a time, a conversation between an RDN Electoral Area Director and RDN staff resulted in a proposal to create a drinking water and watershed protection function and service area in the RDN Electoral Areas,” recalls John Finnie. “Subsequently, over 10 years ago, the Regional District of Nanaimo Board and Electoral Area residents supported a referendum to create this function. Barely. It was a challenging process and a very close decision, and could have been defeated. But the right decision was made.”
OUTREACH & AWARENESS RAISING FOR PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: UBCM newsletter spreads the word to all local governments in British Columbia – “restorative land development results in sustainable stream restoration”
The way communities have historically developed and drained land has disconnected hydrology from ecology. The consequences of this disconnect are more erosion and flooding, loss of baseflow and aquatic habitat, and an unfunded infrastructure liability for stream stabilization. “Delegates at the Parksville 2019 Symposium will learn how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can be transformational and respond better to a changing climate,” stated Glen Brown, General Manager, UBCM Victoria Operations.
PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM FUNDER: Pacific Salmon Foundation – transforming the public’s outlook to realize the connection wild Pacific salmon have with everything that is British Columbia
“With ongoing education, partnership and collaboration, we will positively transform people’s outlook to realize the connection wild Pacific salmon have with everything that is British Columbia,” stated Jim Shinkewski. “The Pacific Salmon Foundation is pleased to support this symposium as it is well connected to our mission of salmon conservation and watershed health. It is a good opportunity to empower the stewardship community to address current and future challenges related to a changing climate and to celebrate past accomplishments in this area.”
PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM SPONSOR: Tectonica – “Develop and redevelop in ways that reduce the burden on the environment,” says Bil Derby
“Through innovative storm water management approaches in urban areas that mitigate the impacts of development on natural hydrology, the development community can play a strong role, but only with broader support of the community. Dialogue is the key to any strategy and this symposium creates the opportunity for discussions that create the energy, and understanding, in the community to provide direction to current and future policy makers,” stated Bill Derby.
PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM SPONSOR: MacDonald-Gray Consultants – “designing with nature” means work with a site rather than against it!
“We are pleased to lend our support to the education and advancement of watershed stewardship on Vancouver Island through the efforts of local and provincial partners for the symposium in Parksville,” stated Nigel Gray, Principal Planner. “Environmental stewardship and natural systems based land development are key components to our approach to our land use planning and landscape architecture service areas. It is our hope that the Parksville 2019 Symposium will affect the further evolution of local policy development and regulatory frameworks in the mid-island region.”
RAINWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “Our local governments have commonly relied on hard engineering solutions that employ expensive infrastructure. That approach has left us with a long-term financial burden we cannot afford,” wrote George Le Masurier in an article explaining why there is now a shift toward green infrastructure on Vancouver Island
“Stormwater management plans in the Comox Valley have historically treated rainwater as waste, something to be collected and disposed of quickly, usually into previously clean streams or directly into the ocean. Clearly a new approach is needed,” wrote George Le Masurier. “Forward-thinking municipalities have shifted toward source control, managing rain where it falls through infiltration, evapotranspiration and rainwater harvesting, techniques known as green infrastructure.”
RAINWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “We’re learning how to integrate green infrastructure and low-impact development going forward,” stated Ryan O’Grady, City of Courtenay Director of Engineering, when commenting on the vision and desired outcome for the City’s Integrated Rainwater Management Plan
“The plan for integrated rainwater management will encompass strategies for flood mitigation in the downtown core, how to replace traditional engineered infrastructure with green solutions and will look through a broad lens at regional solutions,” explained Ryan O’Grady. “There’s a collective desire to collaborate … it would be great to work together. I look forward to facilitating that conversation with the bigger group (that also includes the neighbouring local governments, development community, stewardship groups, and K’omoks First Nation).”
FLASHBACK TO 2015: “A Guide to Water-Wise Land Development in the Comox Valley” – Joint Staff Training Workshop initiated educational process for communicating ‘design with nature’ expectations in urban watersheds
“The Water-Wise Guide can be viewed as a communication tool,” stated Nancy Gothard, City of Courtenay environmental planner. “But more than that, it is both a call to action (for the community, but also for us) as well as a road map for that action. So, our goal is to begin to brand the story and depict visually that we are developing a consistency in expectations as to how development would address environmental concerns. Having the Water-Wise Guide available on every front counter and every website is a first step.”
IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE THROUGH RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Whole-System, Water Balance Approach / Learn more at Parksville 2019 / April 2-3-4 (Announcement #4, January 2019)
“Retrofiting at multiple scales and multiple levels is really key. But, so many people in local government are just too busy these days to even contemplate what needs to be done to repair and restore at multiple scales and levels. As a result, and especially in the big urban cities, it is just too difficult for local government staff to work concurrently at multiple scales,” stated Dr. Chris May. “Kitsap is at a manageable scale. The County is big enough to effect change and make things better. That is our goal – have a positive impact on the community!”
MAKE WHERE WE LIVE BETTER: Local government initiatives on Vancouver Island are “getting it right” / Learn more at Parksville 2019 / April 2-3-4 (Announcement #3, January 2019)
“Financial support from the Real Estate Foundation will substantially subsidize the registration for the stewardship sector. Many community volunteers are on fixed or modest incomes. So, reducing the cost for them to attend a 2-day symposium has been a governing consideration for the Parksville 2019 Organizing Committee. The Parksville 2019 program has relevance and applicability to settled areas throughout BC,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.