Society wants to provide input to regional water governance plans

Meeting in Qualicum Beach on Wednesday — discussion will include a look at Cowichan's experience with regional water governance

A local society invites the public to a meeting about the Regional District of Nanaimo board’s plan to potentially develop a regional water governance model.

The Arrowsmith Watersheds Coalition Society (AWCS) is hosting a meeting at 7 p.m., tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18) at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre to discuss similar experiences in Cowichan and hear from guest speaker, environmental consultant Christopher Stephens, said AWCS Treasurer Michael Jessen.

As a participating group, AWCS members took part in a Vancouver Island Watershed Coalition meeting in October to hear from Cowichan Watershed Board co-chair, Mayor Jon Lefebure.

“AWCS is supportive of the position taken on preparing such a model, but recognizes the need for stakeholder consultation and involvement of First Nations,” Jessen said in a news release, adding they “have concerns about the powers that may or may not be included in a proposed governance model.”

“In these early days of the work on this project the RDN will probably create terms of reference to guide staff in their research and drafting of a watershed governance model. AWCS hopes to contribute to the drafting of the terms of reference and to present some initial ideas on an appropriate model for the RDN and its municipalities.”

Jessen and fellow AWCS director Paul Grinder will report on the mayor’s presentation, Stephens will present a brief report on his recent surveys of local wetlands, followed by a roundtable discussion to prepare suggestions for RDN staff and the AWCS’s annual general meeting.