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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: “When it was released in 2002, British Columbia’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook advanced the premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible. At the time, this was a new way of thinking,” stated John Finnie, Chair, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, when he launched the rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010 on behalf of the Partnership for Water Sustainability (June 2010)
“Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is really the story of convening for action for water sustainability. It is about what we are calling the ‘new business as usual’. We have the tools. We have the knowledge. We know what to do on the ground. It is just a matter of applying those things when we are talking about development opportunities,” stated John FInnie. “We really need to change the way we think about land use and development. The goal is to be water-centric. The key to this way-of-thinking is the idea of ‘designing with nature’.”
CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: “We have had the guts to start this dialogue, but we will also need bigger guts to complete what we started,” stated Cori Lynn Germiquet, VIEA President, when she foreshadowed the CAVI breakout session at the State of the Island Summit (June 2010)
“We have had the guts to start this dialogue, but we will also need bigger guts to complete what we started. Part of the process is summarizing what we heard today, inviting people back to the table to talk about what we have determined in that summary, and then putting together a plan of action together for moving forward. When we have that plan in draft format, we will be hosting a breakout session at the State of the Island Summit ,” stated Cori Lynn Germiquet.
CONVENING FOR ACTION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: 2010 was a ‘watershed year’ for the Water Sustainability Action Plan, with outreach taking place at events in three regional districts to provide peer-based learning for Living Water Smart, Building Greener Communities, and Adapting to a Changing Climate in British Columbia
“The Partnership’s outreach spotlight in 2010 was on the rollout of the second in the Beyond the Guidebook series of guidance documents for rainwater management and restoration of hydrologic function in urban watersheds. ‘Beyond the Guidebook 2010’ describes how a ‘convening for action’ culture has taken root in BC. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. How to do it examples help decision-makers visualize what ‘design with nature’ policy goals look like on the ground,” stated Kim Stephens.
BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT: “At the City of Victoria, we prefer to call it the Bowker Creek Greenprint because this is all about being environmentally responsible and improving water quality. The Trent Street Rain Gardens is a good thing to do, and I am proud to be part of the process. We are now looking at building two more rain gardens. We will be moving full speed ahead,” stated Steven Fifield, the City’s Manager of Underground Utilities (February 2010)
“As soon as we heard about rain gardens, we felt that they were the way to go. So we had to find an opportunity to build one and be successful. We looked and we thought, and then a situation presented itself. This was on Trent Street, a small cul-de-sac in an institutional area. Bowker Creek is nearby. So location-wise, this was a great opportunity. This type of green feature is the future of good watershed management in Bowker Creek and other watersheds in our region,” stated Steven Fifeild.