Category:

water sustainability

ROLE OF THE MUNICIPAL CHAMPION AS THE INTERPRETER: “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,” stated Adriane Pollard, Manager of Environmental Services with the District of Saanich


“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. The good thing about this role is that the more that I do it, the more other people in the organization get the picture and say ’this is the document that we are going to use for this and that purpose’. And when it comes to interpreting the document, other staff come to me,” stated Adriane Pollard.

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A call to action to design with nature and create liveable communities that also protect stream health: “If You Can Dream It – You Can Do It”


“Today, what we as leaders do, will resound for the people of the future, their cities and their regions. In fact, for the world at large. One of the reasons that I ran for office in 1972, and why I served for 20 years as Mayor of Delta, and 7 years at Chair of Metro Vancouver was ‘to make a difference’. One of the first things I did when I became Mayor in 1999 was to introduce our community to caring about of our air, land and water. Many were opposed to this position. But we persevered and, as a result, I believe we have set a good example for stewardship,” stated Lois Jackson.

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‘DESIGN WITH NATURE” FRAMEWORK FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Nationwide document survey by Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies reveals that the green infrastructure state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where British Columbia was in 2005


How green infrastructure is defined guides the types of projects that local governments implement, with enduring impacts to people and the urban environment. “Ecology is not really being embedded in any planning practice, This realization turned my attention towards urban planning and this question, how do you embed ecosystem science and principles within landscape planning to conserve landscapes and landscape functioning quality?” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski. This led him to look at green infrastructure through the systems lens.

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ORAL HISTORY EXTENDS THE PERIOD OF RECORD AND OUR UNDERSTANDING: “Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy, which emerged from interweaving First Nations and Western thought. It is meant to be a companion because it augments existing Western science hydrology rather than displacing this knowledge.” – Michael Blackstock


“In my mind, traditional knowledge and western science are just different ways of recording, or documenting, and communicating the same information. I believe there is an analogy between Indigenous oral history, and a statistical approach called Bayesian analysis,” stated Neil Goeller. In BC, hydrometric records are fairly limited in time and geographic coverage. From a hydrology perspective, then, interweaving science and a rich oral history would turn a comparatively short period of data collection into thousands of years of knowledge.

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A NETWORK ALLOWS PEOPLE TO MOVE OUT OF WORKPLACE SILOS: “People who have ‘done it’ will help you properly define the problem and provide you with experience-based guidance on how to deal with the issue,” stated Joe McGowan, retired Director of Public Works, and network builder in the local government setting


“Our workforce is dealing with two massive changes. One is Generational Amnesia and the second is that good people who desire to effect change are often working in silos that limit their contact with colleagues who can help define a problem and provide guidance on how to solve the problem. Generational amnesia is a phrase used to describe a situation in which organizations lose their memory of how to do things. The world is rapidly losing expertise through retirement which denies new employees the benefit of their predecessor’s knowledge and experience,” stated Joe McGowan.

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THE LITTLE CREEK THAT COULD: “The book speaks to the fact that nature can heal itself if only given a chance. While this book focuses on healing a particular stream, the broader message is about healing the environment. My hope is that it will resonate with many regardless of where they live, in our province or in our country,” stated Mark Angelo, author and founder of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day


“I am such a believer in engaging the broader community as best we can. Going back 50 years ago to the 1970s when I was first starting as a streamkeeper, it was a lonely undertaking. Streamkeepers were few in number. One of the great steps forward that I have seen over the decades is that now there are many many streamkeepers and there streamkeeper groups attached to virtually every stream in the Lower Mainland. These volunteers put in thousands of hours, keep an eye on local waterways, profile issues when they arise, and approach local governments to help them deal with and correct those issues,” stated Mark Angelo.

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PROFILE IN COURAGE: “There is a special type of courage that Council needs to have to say, ‘give us the naked truth’. There is not a lot of political up-side to shining a light on infrastructure challenges. Oak Bay Council did that, no holds barred,” stated Christopher Paine, Director of Financial Services, when he explained the vision of Council in setting the direction for Oak Bay’s Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan


“Two things about Oak Bay are quite unique. First, I know of no other situation where an engineering department and a finance department are so much in lockstep on a unified vision for asset management. That was really spurred by Council’s culture. That is the second thing. They knew there was an issue with an aging infrastructure because the visible signs were there. They trusted staff and they started investing heavily in infrastructure funding. Anybody who is going to hear or read about the Oak Bay story, the thing that they really must understand is the role of Council,” stated Christopher Paine.

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CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: Blue Ecology is the pathway to reach Water Reconciliation


“Our children’s children will be faced with daunting, complex, and urgent environmental problems. The impending crisis requires us to begin to lay a foundation for our children’s children to have a starting point, and some options to grasp in the urgent moment. We owe them hope,” stated Michael Blackstock. “Now is the time to act on the belief that if we interweave our strengths as traditional knowledge keepers, scientists, poets, artists, and architects in a collaborative manner, we can make a difference.”

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Creating a Culture for Urban Watershed Restoration in British Columbia


Creating a culture for urban watershed restoration relies on knowing the oral history of an area. As the First Nations who have settled these lands for 1000s of years tell us, passing on the oral history is key to sharing a collective memory. Each generation must be receptive so that experience is passed on. “We are inching our way to bring together Western science and our own (Indigenous) science. There are different ways of how the two interact when we bring them together. The observation record for us is in the oral history,” stated Gitxsan hereditary Chief Hanamuxw (aka Don Ryan).

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Growing the Living Water Smart Network in British Columbia through Collaborative Leadership


“From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of ‘the mission’. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable. Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? we decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer whether anyone else tried to do what we have been doing for the past two decades under the ‘collaboration umbrella’ that is the Water Sustainability Action Plan ,” stated Kim Stephens.

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