“Living Water Smart” introduced to Township of Langley’s Council and Agricultural Advisory Committee – Kim Stephens explained how the Water Sustainability Action Plan is a partnership umbrella for on-the-ground initiatives that advance a water-centric approach to community development (September 2009)
Water Issues of Importance to Agriculture
Each year the Township of Langley Agricultural Advisory Committee hosts the Mayor and Council on a farm tour. This year, the theme for the day was ‘Cross-Over Issues Involving Farmland & Watercourse Protection’.
According to Jason Chu, Strategic Planner with the Township and the organizer of the day, “Our focus was on learning about major and emerging land and water issues important to Langley’s farming community.”
“With this theme in mind, we structured the day in two parts. For the first part, we convened at the Langley Events Centre where four guest speakers provided different perspectives related to our water theme. For the second part, we visited three farms.”
Context Presentations on the Water Theme
“First, Alan Jonsson from Fisheries and Oceans Canada gave us an overview of his agency’s mandate to protect fisheries habitat and streamside areas. Then Kim Stephens of the Water Sustainability Action Plan provided an urban perspective when he described Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative,” reports Ted Bowman, moderator for the context presentations.
“Next up was Ted van der Gulik of the Ministry of Agriculture & Lands. He talked about his ministry’s initiatives related to water and sustainable agriculture. Nichole Marples and Andrea Lawson from the Langley Environmental Partners Society closed out the context presentations by outlining the work of LEPS in protecting and restoring some of the rivers and streams in rural Langley.”
Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik both elaborated on aspects of Living Water Smart.
Living Water Smart & Building Greener Communities
In his presentation, Kim Stephens explained how the Water Sustainability Action Plan is a partnership umbrella for on-the-ground initiatives that advance a water-centric approach to community development. Co-sponsored by the Province and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the Action Plan program is being delivered through the BC Water & Waste Association and a partners network.
The focus of his presentation was on a regional team approach. “The Action Plan provides neutral forums for advancing a regional team approach. We are encouraging local governments to prepare communities for change, choose to live smart, and strive to build greener communities,” stated Kim Stephens.
The Regional Team Approach:
“The regional team approach is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local. Living Water Smart is a visionary document that provides us with the language that allows us to say this is what it means and this is what it looks like on the ground.”
“The Comox Valley is the provincial pilot for a regional team approach. We are changing expectations by providing tools and education.”
An engineer-planner with 36 years experience in engineering and planning, Kim Stephens is the Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan. He has had a leadership role in a series of provincial initiatives in BC related to water sustainability, rainwater management, green infrastructure and smart development.
To Learn More:
To download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click here.
Link to YouTube Video
To hear what Kim Stephens had to say in his 10-minute presentation, click on the following link to YouTube: Living Water Smart & Building Greener Communities: Making It Real !
Innovative Practices on Three Farms
“The first stop on the tour was the MacDonald Farm. This is a Certified Environmental Farm that uses drip irrigation for the 21-acre blueberry operation,” reports Jason Chu.
“Then we visited the Hopton Farm, an 80-acre dairy operation, situated on the main stem of the Salmon River. We had lunch on this beautiful historic site.”
“After lunch, the final stop on our tour was Dragonfly Acres, a 5-acre horse farm in south Langley.”