Bowker Blueprint

    ROLE OF THE COMMUNITY LEADER AS CATALYST: “Effective community engagement depends on involving people in decisions, sharing responsibility, and making them more accountable. This includes engaging generations, old and new. Our connection to the past should inform the future,” stated Ian Graeme, community leader and founder, Friends of Bowker Creek Society

    “In 1995, I got involved in a Local Area Plan that was under development in Saanich; and started advocating for changes in watershed and stream protection policies. To draw attention to the need for action, I organized a series of community walks and developed a ‘watershed tour’ slideshow and took it around the community. When we incorporated the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, the mid 1990s was a time of a greenways movement in BC. This became one of our four goals: create a Bowker greenway to increase access to the creek. If more people became familiar with the creek, we believed, public interest would drive creek restoration,” stated Ian Graeme.

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    ROLE OF THE MUNICIPAL CHAMPION AS THE INTERPRETER: “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,” stated Adriane Pollard, Manager of Environmental Services with the District of Saanich (February 2022)

    “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. The good thing about this role is that the more that I do it, the more other people in the organization get the picture and say ’this is the document that we are going to use for this and that purpose’. And when it comes to interpreting the document, other staff come to me,” stated Adriane Pollard.

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    A BEACON OF INSPIRATION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “The Bowker Creek Blueprint and the intergenerational commitment by so many players to implement the 100-year action plan is remarkable and precedent-setting. Simply put, nobody has done what the Bowker Creek Initiative has done. Success begets success. The process to operationalize the Blueprint is becoming self-fulfilling,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (March 2022)

    “After more than two decades of sustained effort by community leaders and local government champions, their shared vision to bring Bowker Creek back to life is close to becoming a reality. Recent decisions and actions have game-changing implications. In short, the Bowker vision is on the cusp of being a self-fulfilling prophecy. For all of these reasons, the Bowker Blueprint process is a beacon of inspiration. A thread that weaves through the Bowker storyline is the right people in the right place at the right time, over time.” stated Kim Stephens.

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    CITY OF VICTORIA RECOMMITS TO BOWKER CREEK DAYLIGHTING: “Despite having covered it up, urbanized it with all the hard surfaces in the watershed, Bowker Creek is still here. Instead of just a ditch to move stormwater or carry away pollution out into the ocean, we’re looking at it as an environmental asset,” stated Soren Henrich, Chair of the Friends of Bowker Creek, when he commented on Council’s game-changing decision to kick-off the second decade of Bowker Blueprint implementation

    A significant portion of restoration efforts revolve around unearthing some parts of the creek currently underground. “Daylighting will not only help return salmon and trout back to the creek, but will breathe life into the vision of a biodiversity corridor, accessible to people across the municipalities. It would give people in the city a place where they can see and come into contact with flowing water. Imagine bike paths close enough to the creek so people could connect to Oak Bay, eventually connecting Oak Bay to the rest of the regional trail system,” stated Soren Henrich.

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