Our Water Future: Local Water Governance in the Comox Valley

Amazing recreation, the great outdoors and locally grown food are just a few of the reasons why the Comox Valley is an awesome place to live and play.

Water is an essential component to all these things. Rivers and streams give life to the place we call home. Groundwater fuels our farm and food economy. The mighty Comox Lake and the surrounding watershed sustain the growing communities across the Valley. People here understand how water connects to all aspects of the lifestyle we value and enjoy.

The Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 7-9 pm at the Florence Filberg Centre, Courtenay, could be the start of a conversation about watersheds and what citizens can do to help establish a model of community governance for our water. If the people who reside in a watershed are more involved in the decision making, we might enjoy better outcomes.

There are many reasons as to why the Comox Valley would be the logical and ideal place to establish such a community governance model. A multi-million dollar water treatment plant is being developed. Summer drought conditions and boil water advisories have become “the new normal”. The licensing by the province to withdraw, bottle and sell water from a local aquifer that supports families, farms and wildlife, despite opposition from the K’omoks First Nation, the CV Regional District and members of the community, indicates a clear disconnect between the province and communities.

Rosie Simms, a Water Law and Policy Research Coordinator with the Polis Project  will discuss how the 2016 Water Sustainability Act (WSA) grants local governments the authority to create Watershed Sustainability Plans, and provides opportunities to implement sustainable governance that would ideally encompass the entire Regional District.

Bruce Gibbons, founder of the Merville Water Guardians, will discuss his ongoing communications with provincial representatives about strengthening the WSA.

A member from the Cowichan Water Board will speak to how their board functions in an advisory capacity to the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The event is being sponsored by Comox Valley Water Watch, Our Water BC, Watershed Sentinel, Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, Merville Water Guardians and the Comox Valley Council of Canadians.

We hope to hear your voice at this community water forum, October 10th, 7 pm, upstairs at Florence Filberg Centre – 411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay.