We at WaterWealth extend our gratitude to all of the candidates who ran in the recent elections. To take up the challenge of campaigning and to be willing to take on the task of serving your community in an elected capacity for the next four years is a courageous and noble undertaking.
While water is essential to our economy as well as our ecology and is a major component of the quality of life we enjoy in the Fraser Valley, we recognize that our survey was but one of a great many requests to candidates on a vast range of issues. We thank the many candidates who took the time to respond to our survey. Based on feedback we received from the public it seems clear that those responses were well received and made a difference in votes for some. We also thank all the many volunteers who helped with campaigns and with the election process. It is such engagement that makes the places we live into communities we enjoy living in.
In media and in public candidates events, the issue of recognition of unceded Aboriginal territories was raised and some candidates indicated a desire for more information on the topic. A recent Chilliwack Progress article featuring Dr. David Schaepe, Director of the Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Centre, speaks directly to the issue of recognition by local governments, citing the Vancouver example. It was good to see this very important topic discussed in the election campaign. We encourage everyone to continue to learn more about this issue and to take up the challenge of advancing reconciliation.
For some candidates WaterWealth’s survey was their first introduction to our organization and our goal of local water governance. A great resource for further information on the topic of local water governance is the POLIS Water Sustainability Project publication A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia. In January 2014, POLIS hosted a three day forum Watersheds 2014: Towards Watershed Governance in British Columbia and Beyond which included a presentation by WaterWealth Director Sheila Muxlow. The Watersheds 2014 Readings and Research Package developed as supplementary readings and research for delegates of the forum is a rich resource for leading thought on watershed governance, as are the Forum Consensus and Edited Proceedings.
A key element of water governance is of course BC’s new Water Sustainability Act (WSA). The province made a commendable effort at public engagement in developing the new Act, which passed third reading in the Legislature on April 29, 2014. The WSA website holds a great deal of information including the public input on the Act and on water pricing in BC, both consultation processes that WaterWealth was heavily engaged in. WaterWealth continues to engage communities and government as the very critical regulations for the WSA are developed, a process expected to take several years.
An intersection between the aforementioned recognition of unceded Aboriginal territories and water governance can be made by looking to the submissions to the WSA process by First Nations and First Nations’ organizations in the “What We Heard” section of the WSA website.
No doubt those whose campaigns did not result in election this time will nonetheless remain engaged in their communities in a variety of ways, perhaps with an eye to the next election. For those who were elected, we look forward to working with you over the next four years to help ensure that our shared home waters flow protected and undiminished, to continue to provide the many types of value we receive from them for the long term.