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    NEW YORK CITY IS UNEARTHING A BROOK IT BURIED A CENTURY AGO: For decades, environmentalists and local activists campaigned to resurface the long-buried stream. Now, a changing climate is making what they struggled to achieve necessary. The Tibbetts Brook story provides a frame of reference for appreciating the scope of the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-year Action Plan, a “beacon of inspiration” on Vancouver Island (December 2021)


    Amy Chester, the managing director of Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit group, said that daylighting projects, like the one to reroute Tibbetts Brook, are important in making New York City more resilient. “We’re looking back to see what we took away from nature,” she said. “And when we give it back to nature, we’re creating an asset to face climate change.” The plan to daylight Tibbetts Brook would be one of the city’s most ambitious green infrastructure projects. The brook would be rerouted above ground for one mile — including along a former railroad line that would be turned into a new greenway.

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    COMOX IS A CHAMPION SUPPORTER OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY: “It is a really rare thing to have municipal staff say that we are working with a group that actually brings value and helps out, rather than the other way around,” stated Jordan Wall, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Comox (December 2021)


    By pulling threads of understanding from the past through to the present and future, it would help communities achieve the vision for reconnecting people, fish, land, and water in altered landscapes. “Thus, I echo the comments by Shelley Ashfield, the Town’s Director of Engineering when she said: they say it takes a village to raise children. Similarly, it takes a village to deal with stormwater! The Town of Comox appreciates everything that the Partnership has done to support us and guide us since 2009. We have come a long way with your help,” stated Jordan Wall.

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    FRAMEWORK FOR COLLABORATIVE INTER-MUNICIPAL WATERSHED IMPLEMENTATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “We ask property redevelopment proponents how they plan to achieve the goals for the Council-endorsed 100-year action plan for the Bowker Creek Blueprint. They are adjusting their designs, and on a voluntary basis,” stated the City of Victoria’s Brianne Czypyha at an inter-regional seminar titled “A Beacon of Inspiration on Vancouver Island”, and hosted by the City of Vancouver’s Green Infrastructure Implementation team (September 2021)


    “While we have had early successes, we must recognize that a 100-year plan will have a lot of challenges. And so, we are thinking about how we will achieve intergenerational implementation. This is an important consideration as people retire or leave. How do we ensure, for example, that we don’t miss those opportunities when properties are coming up for redevelopment. How do we ensure that we are asking for the right things? The Framework for Collaborative Inter-Municipal Watershed Implementation is a fantastic document. It identifies what planning tools we can use for implementation of the Bowker Creek Blueprint,” stated Brianne Cyzpyha.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: It is a story of local government champions and community leaders who share a vision, embrace shared responsibility, and are bringing Bowker Creek back to life.


    Michael Lewis, a best-selling American author, provides a perspective which helps to explain why the Bowker Creek Blueprint and 100-Year Action Plan is a mission for everyone who has embraced shared responsibility: “It is a ‘calling’. They do not need other motivations when what they do is the right thing to do. We need to honour these people. We would tease more out of the population if we created a culture of recognition around what it means to embrace shared responsibility,” stated Michael Lewis.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “You need layers of champions. You need a champion in the community. You need a champion in the municipality. You need a champion to keep everybody aware and moving forward,” stated Adriane Pollard, Manager of Environmental Services with the District of Saanich


    “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. 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,” stated Adriane Pollard.

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    FINANCIAL CASE FOR BOWKER CREEK DAYLIGHTING: “Asset management and ecological frameworks are merging closer than ever before,” stated Lesley Hatch, Senior Manager of Water Resources with the District of Saanich, when the Partnership of Water Sustainability released its report on the sixth in the series of EAP demonstration application projects undertaken as part of a multi-year program of applied research (October 2021)


    EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, has been applied to the 100-Year Action Plan for daylighting Bowker Creek. “This is good news as Saanich continues to catalogue and valuate storm water natural assets with the intent of establishing resources to steward both hard, linear infrastructure and natural systems alike. Modern asset methodologies can sync well with other frameworks, such as EAP, which provides additional tools and metrics to improve maintenance and management across the District, and in collaboration with our regional partners on such initiatives as the Bowker Creek Initiative,” stated Lesley Hatch.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “The outdoor classroom is a learning space. For my students, it is an extension of our classroom. It becomes more engaging for them because it is real,” stated Derek Shrubsole, science teacher at Oak Bay High School and member of the Friends of Bowker Creek


    “What I have now is an actual outdoor, naturalized learning space. I do not have to show a video or read a book to teach a lesson. We can go out and see it in person. The students can experience it. When you can take kids outside and engage them in that space, it becomes more engaging for them because it’s real. Before this project was done, there was really nothing around other than grass fields. We are really fortunate. We can do real science with them. Students want authenticity to what they are studying,” stated Derek Shrubsole.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “All these people are my teachers, and I am learning from all of them. Is this the intergenerational baton in action? Absolutely! You cannot just pick up the baton and not know where you are coming from. You need all that history,” stated Lindsey McCrank, the Capital Regional District’s Coordinator for the Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative


    “When new members get involved in the BCI, they will be in the position to accept the intergenerational baton just as I did. I believe the Partnership document about the Blueprint history will be useful, as a legacy resource, in helping new members get up to speed. One has to keep moving forward, transfer the knowledge to new people, and blend their experience and thoughts. Every person who is involved will alter the course of our future actions. I am excited to see where the Blueprint will lead us in the next little while,” stated Lindsey McCrank.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “One of my passions is to bring nature into the city so that we do not have these two distinctive zones – this is where humans live and this is where nature lives. Those two things can come together. That is my vision for Bowker Creek and why I enjoy volunteering,” stated Brandon Williamson, Friends of Bower Creek, when describing the mission for restoration of a degraded urban stream


    “I grew up in Port Alberni, a small town and am a nature lover. But I have come to realize that I am a city person. And being both a city person and a nature person, well those two things are not irreconcilable. Over the past year, I have gained a passion for Bowker Creek and its restoration. I do understand that the work that needs to be done is a very long-term thing. I am committed and excited to volunteer over the long term to see out the vision,” stated Brandon Williamson.

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    BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT IS A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “We are taking a new direction. We are saying that we can improve the health of Bowker. But there is still more pollution happening. We can see it happening. And so, we the Friends of Bowker Creek, are stepping it up,” stated Jessica Hartum, the Director who is leading a grass-roots water quality monitoring program


    “I am a water quality person and I believe that it is a steppingstone to everything else. Water quality is close to my heart. But I understand where we are in this world and that nobody is buying in for water quality alone. In my view, water quality is a lot bigger than just the salmon. But I do recognize that water quality and fish habitat are a package. Neither one is complete without the other one. We have to do both together. When I show community volunteers the insects that are in the water and what they mean, everyone has an Ah-Ha Moment,” stated Jessica Hartum.

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