Town of Comox – A ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Citizen Science in Action & Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology through the Water Balance Approach
to Land Development. This was a presentation by Christine Hodgson at the Water Sustainability Conference held in Parksville, B.C. in April 2019.
British Columbia is at a tipping point. Will local governments bridge the gap between policy and new standards of practice, reconnect hydrology and ecology, create greener communities, and adapt to climate change?
The Partnership has identified Comox as a beacon of hope because the Town’s experience shows what is possible when a local government has a strong working relationship with the stewardship sector, and leads by example to implement responsible water balance management.
The Town’s journey comprises three building blocks. Over the past decade, experience gained and lessons learned through the Lower Brooklyn Creek channel enhancement project and Northeast Comox land development planning process have been integrated into the Draft Anderton Corridor Neighbourhood Concept Plan for Middle Brooklyn Creek.
The Draft Anderton Corridor Concept Plan is precedent-setting because it demonstrates how application of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) approach helps managers change practices and adopt new strategies regarding the protection and enhancement of ecological systems in the stream corridor and riparian zone, and throughout the entire creekshed.
The Town is reconnecting hydrology and ecology by embarking on a systems approach on all levels. The approach includes amending bylaws, training staff, educating the development community and homeowners, creating new procedures, and formalizing roles and responsibilities.
By taking action to reconnect hydrology and ecology, Comox is moving along a pathway that ultimately leads to a water-resilient future where flood and drought risks would be reduced, and ecological services would be sustained.
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On January 20, 2020 a public hearing was held for the development proposal from Silverado Corporation on an area known as Lannan Forest, or what remains of it. At the meeting, there were comments made that were not correct. BCWS Directors sent a letter to Mayor and Council of the City of Courtenay to address this issue. Below are the relevant documents.
From: Christine Hodgson <> Sent: July 26, 2019 2:12 PM To: <> Cc: Robert Deane <>; Erin Nowak <> Subject: Fw: FW: Planning Referral-OCP00007&RZ(Lannan Rd & 333Clubhouse Dr)
Hello – I’ve been asked to forward comments on behalf of Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society regarding the proposed development. I believe Silverado Land Corp is in agreement that residents value greenspaces; in fact, I was recently told that 75% of Crown Isle residents don’t play golf but choose to live there because they enjoy the park-like setting the golf course provides. I hope the following comments will resonate with applicant as we are advocating more greenspace in addition to considered management of the headwaters of Brooklyn Creek.
I must admit I had difficulty reading with the various maps and trying to line things up.
I believe where the proposed storm retention pond on Longlands golf course is currently a red-listed aspen wetland area. As well, the area listed as Stratum 3 on the environmental report provided by Silverado is also a aspen wetland, but the report states the vegetation doesn’t fie any wetland type. I’ve attached screenshots of the two maps from two reports to show the differences/similarities.
The letter from Cindy Hannah appended to the assessment indicates that drainage patterns of the area should be retained. I’ve attached a screenshot of her recommendations. I see nothing in the development plan that takes this into consideration. And, the environmental report makes no mention of that.
I’m not an expert on these things but it seems the environmental report provided with this application dismisses the fact that these are the headwaters of Brooklyn Creek. I’d appreciate learning how the red-listed vegetation communities are to be protected and how the drainage patterns to Brooklyn Creek will be accommodated, aside from two storm-retention ponds.
BCWS is mostly interested in retaining the function of the wetlands as reservoirs for water feeding Brooklyn Creek. As well, we advocate the preservation of natural spaces that have walking trails for people to utilize. We believe such natural assets will add aesthetic value to the neighbouring properties.
Retention of natural vegetation not only adds aesthetic value to the surrounding neighbourhood, but is also helps to maintain shade, humidity, and temperature of the wetland and watercourses. Greenways that follow the natural drainage patterns would be a good first step. The characteristics of the watercourses and wetlands allow water to be retained in the Brooklyn Creek headwaters for longer periods of time. They also provide functions such as water retention, filtration, flood control, and nutrients input for down stream area of Brooklyn Creek. The construction of trails alongside the watercourses would allow local residents to enjoy the natural elements, not unlike how residents currently enjoy the paths in the golf course.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposal. Please feel free to contact Robert Deane, President of BCWS (cc’ed here) or me should you have any questions.
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Blamire, Susan <>
Date: Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 2:21 PM
Subject: FW: Planning Referral-OCP00007&RZ(Lannan Rd & 333Clubhouse Dr)
To: <>, Department of Fisheries and Oceans <>, Erin Nowak <>, <>, <>
Cc: Buck, Ian <>, Fitzgerald, Matthew <>