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Vancouver Island Water

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: At Seminar #2 in the 2009 Comox Valley Series, Eric Bonham set the context with an inspirational message about “Mission Possible: Convening for action on Vancouver Island to create our future”


“I wanted to give some history to give context for where we are at on Vancouver Island. So, when I say…CAVI, Mission Possible…I am using the context of John Muir, one voice, and what can be accomplished when a visionary and a decision maker come together with a shared vision,” stated Eric Bonham. “I used the John Muir example because I want to ground this discussion about what we can do on Vancouver Island. John Muir said when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. This is the approach that we are taking with CAVI.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: At Seminar #2 in the 2009 Comox Valley Series, Metro Vancouver’s Ed von Euw provided an inter-regional perspective with his presentation on “Aligning with New Directions: from Stormwater to RAINwater in Metro Vancouver”


“Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island are learning from each other, and are moving in the same direction,” stated Ed von Euw. “Through the advisory Reference Panel process, Vancouver Island experience has informed and influenced elements of Metro Vancouver’s updated plan, in particular those actions that will advance a regional team approach. In its Final Report, the Reference Panel cited the Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series as an example that reinforces the approach to integration embraced by Metro Vancouver.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Seminar #3 in 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series had a dual focus— the Comox Valley Regional Water Strategy; and enabling tools provided by Bill 27, the Green Communities legislation


“The spotlight is on the concept that has emerged for a Planning and Engineering Collaboration Protocol to guide an integrated Technical Advisory Committee. A key message is that water sustainability will be achieved by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices,” stated Kim Stephens. “We will be emphasizing that Living Water Smart targets for stream health protection and water use efficiency establish expectations for aligning provincial and regional goals with local actions.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series—selection of YouTube video clips capture the flavour of the day for Seminar #3 on “Commit to the Regional Team Approach”


Tim Pringle set the tone for the seminar with his keynote presentation that addressed this question: What is our land ethic, and how can we view the context differently? He revisited the research on ‘what drives settlement’ on Vancouver Island; elaborated on what communities are up against; and explained why ‘connect to the landscape’ is a unifying mantra for the regional team approach. “The one market concept suggests that communities can choose from among development proposals, and can therefore control their destinies,” stated Tim Pringle.

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Seminar #3 in 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series showcased what collaboration looks like when local governments lead by example in “Demonstrating Commitment to the Regional Team Approach in the Comox Valley”


A regional team approach is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local. The key word is alignment. “The Comox Valley is the designated provincial pilot for implementation of a ‘regional team approach’ because a convergence of interests has created an opportunity for all the players to set their sights on the common good, challenge the old barriers of jurisdictional interests, and make sustainability real,” stated Glen Brown.

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Seminar #3 in 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series focused on the “Shared Responsibility Matrix” as an organizing framework; and explained how Green Communities legislation creates statutory authority for water sustainability action


“We cannot pass the buck and say it is someone else’s responsibility. We are all working at this together…and we all have a role to play. Bill 27 has provided local government with the ability to make the vision for Water OUT = Water IN tangible,” stated Susan Rutherford. “Shared responsibility can work at different levels. Senior government, regional government, municipalities, the development community and their consultants….all of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. We all have a part to play in sustainable development.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Seminar #3 in Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series featured the Comox Valley Regional Water Strategy—context provided in a set of stories posted on waterbucket.ca


“In 2006, continued urbanization within the valley coupled with competing land uses and recreational interests within the watershed highlighted the need for co-operative actions aimed at managing watershed uses to ensure water quality is preserved,” stated Michael Zbarsky, “The Watershed Assessment identified actions to mitigate high level risks or threats to the current and future quality of the water. The CVRD is currently proceeding with engineering studies that build on the technical foundation provided by that body of work.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: The Story of the 2009 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series


“The Comox Valley is the provincial pilot for demonstrating a ‘regional team approach’ that is founded on broad and inclusive partnerships and collaboration that reach for the common goal of sustainability,” stated John Finnie, Chair, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. “The 2009 Series is a collaboration of four local governments in the Comox Valley, the Comox Valley Land Trust, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the Green Infrastructure Partnership and two provincial Ministries.”

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE WAVE: Goal of the 2009 Comoax Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series – raise awareness and create understanding of “An Integrated Wtershed Approach to Settlement”—because nature knows no boundaries


“We would like to shift the paradigm from boundaries to areas of commonality. The desired outcomes will include inter-departmental collaboration, inter-municipal sharing, and regional alignment. A key message is to view ‘planning’ not as land-zoning function but as a multi-faceted and iterative process that embraces the concept of truly integrated water-centric planning,” stated Derek Richmond. “We need to think of ourselves as a team, not as individuals within silos; getting there means we will have to break down boundaries through communication, collaboration, cooperation and coordination.”

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A Vision for Vancouver Island: The Learning Lunch Series will inform implementation of "A Positive Settlement Strategy"

“The Series has exceeded our own expectations, Our initial objective was to facilitate a consistent understanding of core technical concepts. Because local governments enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to align local actions with over-arching provincial goals, the resulting success of the Series has enabled us to move beyond that limited objective. The energy to think like a region has been unleashed,” stated Kim Stephens.

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