LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Official Community Plan is part of our journey. It is a picture of the future. We used the branding of a compass because we are using this idea to chart our change and course correct,” stated Nancy Gothard, Manager of Community and Sustainability Planning with the City of Courtenay

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on May 16, 2023 featured Nancy Gothard of the City of Courtenay and her “story behind the story” about collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries in the Comox Valley. She is the only person still with the city who was part of the regional team experience as an “experiment in collaboration” under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI).

Trust is the currency of collaboration in the Comox Valley

“The Partnership describes the Comox Valley as an experiment in collaboration and collaborative leadership because there was no way to guarantee the outcome in 2008. At the outset, it was a leap of faith on the part of all the players that four local governments would be successful in collaborating as a regional team,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“In recent months, I have interviewed more than a dozen individuals who have been part of the journey. Nancy Gothard is one of those folks. In our conversations, each person stepped back to take stock. They reflected on what interorganizational collaboration means to them and how their past experience has primed them for further collaboration.”

“In a matter of weeks, the Partnership will be releasing the story of the Comox Valley Water Journey. It is a legacy resource and weaves quotable quotes into a storyline much like a news magazine would. The key message is that collaborative leadership delivers results across organizational boundaries.

In this edition of Waterbucket eNews, we feature Nancy Gothard and her “story behind the story”. Nancy joined the City of Courtenay soon after graduating from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning in 2009 with her master’s degree. She was immediately part of the “experiment in collaboration” under the IREI umbrella.”

“This experience has influenced the arc of Nancy’s career evolution. In 2014, Nancy wrote an essay wherein she observed that:  Everyone who has gone through the IREI has been ‘seasoned’ to be nimble and open-minded, and to genuinely be of assistance to others.” 

“Readers will learn that collaboration in the Comox Valley is enduring and there is no end to the journey. Collaboration has built trust. With trust, anything is possible.”


To read the complete story, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Trust is the currency of collaboration in the Comox Valley.