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Vancouver Island

    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct efforts toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better” (a call to action by those who will be attending the Parksville 2019 Symposium on April 2-3-4)


    “The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in Parksville,” stated John Finnie, Chair, Parksville 2019 Symposium Organizing Committee.

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    KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “Restoration will have tremendous cultural, environmental, social, and economic benefits, and the community has shown a high level of enthusiasm over the future vision for this site,” stated David Allen, CAO, City of Courtenay


    A historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations has taken place in the Comox Valley. A First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit signed a MOU to purchase, restore and manage a key property in the heart of their community. “Working collaboratively with Project Watershed and K’ómoks First Nation has been an essential component of this project. As we move forward through the formal agreement process we look forward to building on this strong relationship with our partners,” stated David Allen.

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    DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – demonstration applications in two regions launched a capacity-building program to align provincial, regional and local efforts to achieve the vision for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan


    “Walkabouts facilitate conversations and on-the-ground learning. This approach proved especially successful when we hosted the Showcasing Innovation series,” stated Kevin Lagan, City of Courtenay. “Council recognized that a common understanding of challenges and solutions would result in consistent expectations at municipal front counters across Vancouver Island. Council also recognized that hosting the series would have a better payback than selectively sending a few staff to conferences. In the current financial climate, the operative phrase is stay local.”

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    WATER TREATMENT ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “How can small communities have such a huge financial burden dropped on them without any financial assistance from the Provincial Government?” asks Lynne Smith, Chairperson, Saltair Water Advisory Committee


    “Vancouver Island Health Authority has mandated that a filtration system, at a cost of $5M, be placed on our water supply. As a group we continue to pursue an equitable solution for all mandated filtration systems, be they small or large. Some systems have received grants but others are left without any financial assistance. Being a very small community of approximately 850 parcels, another $5M is beyond us with our current commitment of $4.5M/15 year towards our aging distribution infrastructure,” stated Lynne Smith.

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    WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Keep working to make your world better. You are engaged with pride, and with joy, in the hard work of hope. And what you are doing offers hope to all,” stated Bob Sandford in his closing synthesis at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


    “Streamkeepers and municipalities both have a great deal of unexercised power and capacity to collaborate in the interests of the common good. You have only started; and in so doing, you can move outside the limitations of formal, established governance structures,” stated Bob Sandford. “It is the way to move out from under that, to build new governance pathways. And pathways to real power that can allow you to make change possible in a much shorter period of time. You have proven that, if you change your attitudes, changes in practice follow almost immediately. So, I ask and urge you to carry on. Don’t just be satisfied with slowing and reversing past damage.”

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    YOUTUBE VIDEO: “To say that we are not adequately dealing with the climate threat is an understatement,” stated Bob Sandford during the public lecture at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


    “While it seems sometimes that the only indicators of interest to our society are economic, the really important trend in my mind is the one being largely ignored: that is the Keeling Curve – the rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’ atmosphere,” stated Bob Sandford. “Unless you don’t believe in gravity and in the world you have created for yourself apples don’t fall from trees, the immutable laws of atmospheric physics point clearly in the direction climate disruption if not disaster. In one short human lifetime the concentration of one of the most critical greenhouse gases in the Earth’s fragile atmosphere has risen in by 35%.”

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    YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Learn from the past, gain an understanding of tools to help guide new development and new processes for a future for streams, salmon and stewards,” stated Zo Ann Morten in her co-keynote call to action at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium


    “Each of us has helped to make change and pave the way for more people to join in, and for more people to be asked for their input and to have something worth saying,” stated Zo Ann Morten. “For those of us who started out ‘to save the world’, well it has been a tough slog, and we aren’t there as yet. But we can take pride in being in a better state then if we had all stayed home and ate bonbons on the couch. Ah, the hard work of hope! We do have the pieces to do better to embrace a water-first approach.

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    YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Our water resources are impacted by climate and land-use change. What we do on the land matters for the water! And involves many parties,” stated Julie Pisani, at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


    “The Regional District of Nanaimo demonstrates commitment to watershed initiatives and water sustainability by delivering the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Service with a long-term reliable funding source,” stated Julie Pisani. “This allows us to effectively leverage support from partners, because we are in it for the long came and we are coming to the table with some resources to get started. Not fund the whole thing, but get it off the ground and generate collaboration.”

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    FLASHBACK TO 2016: “Our goal was to produce a publication that profiled the health of key streams and connected residents with the waterways in their neighbourhood,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo


    We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of those who are leading in their communities. Local government champions on the east coast of Vancouver Island are sharing and learning from each other through inter-regional collaboration. “In the RDN, we have seven basin-scale ‘water region’ areas for planning and communication purposes,” reported Julie Pisani. “We profiled streams in each of those water regions, where stewardship groups have been collecting water quality data.”

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    CASE FOR WHOLE-SYSTEM, WATER BALANCE APPROACH ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “The survival of Coho salmon in the Englishman River depends on a healthy Shelly Creek,” states Peter Law, Vice-President, Mid Vancouver Island Enhancement Society


    “Community stewardship volunteers are demonstrating what it means to embrace ‘shared responsibility’ and take the initiative to lead by example. MVIHES secured funding from multiple agencies and developed the Shelly Creek Water Balance & Sediment Reduction Plan,” stated Peter Law. “The challenge for MVIHES is to facilitate the community’s journey from awareness to action, expressed as follows: Once a community as a whole acknowledges that there is a problem, and also understands why there is a problem, what will the community do about it?”

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