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.
CONVENING FOR ACTION AT ‘THE DIALOGUE IN NANAIMO’: “What’s next? We cannot just leave it here. I would challenge everyone in this room that you have your own responsibility for followup action,” stated Patrick Ross, Chair, Leadership Vancouver Island, in his closing remarks (June 2010)
“Before I came to the session, I did not know much about water sustainability. But now I do. What I learned reinforces the complex layers of the challenges that we face. Our objective was to identify some of the issues, inform some people, create some initial hope with some initial solutions, and stimulate some dialogue. When I watched the discussion in the small groups, we certainly stimulated dialogue. We cannot just leave it here. It is not acceptable, in terms of a leadership realm, to have a dialogue and not complete the cycle,” stated Paul Ross.
AT THE BOWKER CREEK FORUM: ‘We looked at all the players and all the different tools. To organize everything, we took an approach which we called the Shared Responsibility Matrix,” stated Susan Rutherford at the launch of the Topsoil Primer Set (February 2010)
“The matrix is intended to get everyone thinking about the role that they can play; and get everyone talking to others about how they will all work together. It was an outcome of a forum hosted by the City of Surrey in 2009. The forum focus was on the implementation challenges of green infrastructure, and how to overcome them. We looked at law, policy, process and technical tools; and how people have most successfully brought those tools together to implement the objectives of green infrastructure,” stated Susan Rutherford.
AT THE BOWKER CREEK FORUM: “You have to set really clear targets. And you have to clearly define responsibilities – who does what,” stated Rémi Dubé at the launch of the Topsoil Primer Set (February 2010)
An absorbent topsoil layer has emerged as a fundamental building block for achieving water sustainability outcomes through implementation of green infrastructure practices. “The development process is our opportunity to make the change to protect our watercourses. In each of our watershed plans, we always recommend increased topsoil depth. So the City volunteered to develop a primer for implementation. Depending on who you talk to, topsoil means different things to different people. The City sets the targets. It is then up to the developer to find ways to meet those targets,” stated Remi Dube.
AT THE BOWKER CREEK FORUM: “We also talk about watershed governance in the report. It is very difficult to do watershed planning if you have fragmented jurisdictions,” stated Calvin Sandborn, Legal Director of the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria, when he announced the release of Re-Inventing Rainwater Management in the Capital Region (February 2010)
“It’s time for the Capital Region – and other BC communities — to build on the many local green infrastructure initiatives and implement such infrastructure across the landscape. That’s why we issued this report. We document how ‘green’ rainwater management has now been adopted by engineers, developers, planners and governments across North America. ‘Design with Nature’ approaches and Low Impact Development techniques are environmentally superior, and often are cheaper. In addition, they can provide incalculable benefits,” stated Calvin Sandborn.
AT THE BOWKER CREEK FORUM: “What does the Bowker Creek Blueprint have in common with the City of Philadelphia’s green infrastructure initiative? What they have in common is peeling back paved surfaces and restoring an absorbent sponge, ” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he set the stage for a guided conversation on implementing a new culture for watershed restoration (February 2010)
“It has been interesting to follow the Philadelphia story for the past year because there was skepticism initially. Now we are hearing more and about what Philadelphia is doing. The reason that I wanted to flag the comparison with Philadelphia is that does tell you that the paradigm-shift is coming. As we get the word out as to about the Bowker Creek Blueprint, I believe that people will begin to look at and appreciate what the Bowker Creek Initiative has accomplished on the ground. What is happening in Bowker Creek will begin to inform the Philadelphias of the North American continent,” stated Kim Stephens.
A 100-YEAR ACTION PLAN FOR URBAN WATERSHED RESTORATION: “The Bowker Creek Blueprint is about reclaiming ‘lost territory’ from damage caused as a result of our ‘collective indifference’ because we did not consider the values of urban streams important,” stated Eric Bonham in his keynote reflections at the Bowker Creek Forum (February 2010)
“A number of principles apply to the Bowker experience. First, there is the necessity for partnerships and collaboration. Second is the importance of leadership – from the top down; and leadership from the bottom up. Third is a long-term vision, in particular the 100-year timeline. Most important of all is recognizing the importance of community. This is what distinguishes the Bowker Blueprint from other projects. The Bowker Blueprint has been truly driven by the passion and vision from the community up,” stated Eric Bonham.
FLASHBACK TO 2010: What was the genesis of the phrase ‘sustainable service delivery’ a decade ago? What was the process for mainstreaming the approach in British Columbia? How did it become an ‘actionable vision’ for local governments? As an outcome of the Worth Every Penny Workshop, Glen Brown synthesized three ideas into a single easy to remember phrase that became a game-changer!
The 20/80 Rule refers to the initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure being about 20% of the ultimate total cost, with the other 80% being an unfunded liability. “Tackling the unfunded infrastructure liability involves a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. This holistic approach is described as Sustainable Service Delivery. The link between infrastructure asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Glen Brown.
VIEW JOHN FINNIE ON YOUTUBE: “Maintaining a balance between ‘Water Out’ and ‘Water In’ is essential because both sides of the equation are variable and the safety margin is decreasing with population growth and water consumption,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, when he opened the Worth Every Penny Workshop which dealt with conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)
“Conservation-oriented water pricing is more than just charging more for water to conserve water. It is a balance between charging enough for water so that it imparts a conservation ethic. It is about balancing user rate revenues with taxation revenues in order to ensure that water systems can be adequately maintained. It is also about having a pricing strategy that provides affordable water for basic household use. That said, water pricing is likely one of the most effective water conservation tools that we have when combined with metering,” stated John Finnie.
VIEW OLIVER BRANDES & KIRK STINCHCOMBE ON YOUTUBE: “Water pricing is a hot issue in communities across the country. Yet it remains an almost totally untapped option for helping ensure our water service infrastructure — the pipes, pumps and reservoirs — is well maintained and up to date,” stated Kirk Stinchcombe during the Worth Every Penny Workshop which dealt with conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)
“If the price signal is correct, and therefore correct, the majority of people and organizations will change they way they value water and change their behaviour – when using water and when buying water-using technologies – because they recognize that efficiency and conservation will save them money, ” stated Kirk Stinchcombe. “When you are thinking about all the considerations that go into water pricing, keep in mind that setting the rate is the key factor. Does the price accurately inform consumers about the costs of their water use and provide a signal that is sufficient to affect their decision making?”