LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The more we can align local actions with provincial targets, the greater our chances of success,” said Ron Neufeld, then representing the City of Campbell River, at the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (November 2008)
NOTE TO READER:
In May 2008, at the Gaining Ground Summit held in Victoria, the Deputy Minister for Community Services used the occasion of his keynote address to make an inter-ministerial announcement about program elements comprising the Water Sustainability Action Plan. The Deputy Minister, Dale Wall, announced that both the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the City of Courtenay would host inaugural Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series.
Below is the presentation that Ron Neufeld of the City of Campbell River delivered at the 3rd seminar in the Comox Valley Series, in November 2008. In his role as General Manager of Operations with the City, he provided his local government perspective on Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan.
Doing Business Differently in BC
Published in June 2008, Living Water Smart is the provincial government’s vision and plan to keep British Columbia’s water healthy and secure for the future. By 2012, the Province’s expectation was that all land and water managers will know what makes a stream healthy, and therefore be able to help land and water users factor in new approaches to securing stream health and the full range of stream benefits.
- What does this mean to those involved in land development or redevelopment?
The Province and local government have collaborated to develop a suite of user-friendly tools, programs and approaches to add depth to Living Water Smart, and to encourage BC communities to do business differently. One such program was the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series.
Create Liveable Communities & Protect Stream Health
The Learning Lunch Seminar Series was part of the implementation program for Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual. The program promoted a consistent provincial approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure. The desired outcome was that local government and private sector practitioners would make green choices that create liveable communities and protect stream health.
Vancouver Island Pilot Program
The Cowichan Valley Regional District and City of Courtenay were the host local governments for the 2008 pilot program.
- The Cowichan Valley series comprised a set of three sessions held during the June – July 2008 period.
- The Comox Valley series comprised a set of three sessions held during the September – November 2008 period.
The Learning Lunch Seminar Series was precedent-setting in its scope; and was the first step in building a regional team approach so that there would be a common understanding and consistent messaging regarding on-the-ground expectations for rainwater management and green infrastructure. At the final seminar in the Comox Valley series, the theme was Nature Knows No Boundaries. Ron Neufeld (General Manager of Operations, City of Campbell River) explained why Living Water Smart is of strategic importance to local governments that wish to do business differently in the 21st century.
Alignment of Local Actions with Provincial Goals and Objectives
In his presentation titled Nature Knows No Boundaries – Living Water Smart, Ron Neufeld elaborated on why he believes Living Water Smart creates the opportunity/potential for real dramatic change at a local level. To learn more about what Ron Neufeld said at the Learning Lunch Seminar hosted by the City of Courtenay, click on the two images below to view the YouTube videos of his presentation.
In the first half of his presentation, Ron Neufeld used a driver training analogy to emphasize what makes good policy. “Good policy is knowing where the horizon is..so that you know where you want to get to,” he told his audience.
To Learn More:
Download a copy of Nature Knows No Boundaries – Living Water Smart,
In the second half of his presentation, Ron Neufeld elaborated on the elements of a bottom-up and regional team approach to implementing provincial policy. “Success depends on cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries,” he underscored.
“The more we can align local actions with provincial targets, the greater our chances of success,” said Ron Neufeld. He also talked about accountability. “We must hold the provincial government accountable too,” he continued. “They have given us the long-term vision; and we are looking to them to be accountable for the support that we now need.”
After watching the videos, Ian Graeme (of the Ministry of Environment’s Living Water Smart team) commented as follows: “Ron provides a concise summary of opportunities for local government application of Living Water Smart. Also, his message about ‘confident, coordinated, unified leadership’ resonates.”
About Beyond the Guidebook
Beginning in 2006, the Beyond the Guidebook initiative built on the foundation provided by Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, published in 2002, and incorporated lessons learned over the past six years in moving from planning to action.
“Beyond the Guidebook advances a performance target methodology for correlating green infrastructure effectiveness in protecting stream health. This initiative adds depth to Living Water Smart ,” reported Kim Stephens in 2008. At the time, he was Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.