ELC Client: John Roe, Veins of Life Watershed Society
Working with staff and students from the ELC has benefited me immensely. I have enjoyed, the professionalism, the ability of understanding a concept, research skills, questions and explanation of how laws apply to our projects, reports, presentations to councils and public. These three projects will leave a legacy of conservation in our community, looking forward to continue on and more into the future.
John Roe is a founder of Veins of Life Watershed Society (VOLWS), a community environmental organization focusing on habitat restoration projects,pollution prevention and garbage removal initiatives along the shorelines and streams in our local watershed.
Through a number of community projects, VOLWS was responsible under John’s leadership for vastly improving the water quality of Victoria’s Gorge Waterway.
Since 2008, the ELC has worked with John Roe and VOLWS on several projects. The first project was prompted by John’s concerns over the management of storm sewers and urban run-off in the Capital Regional District. That resulted in Re-inventing Rainwater Management: Protecting Health and Restoring Nature in the Capital Region, which involved multiple presentations to local councils and a community seminar in 2010 that was attended by First Nations, local Councillors and community leaders. In 2016, the City of Victoria took some direction from the storm water report and adopted a Storm Water Utility.
During this time, John also worked with the ELC on a submission for the Water Act Modernization Process that examined the concept of forming a Conservation Authority for the Gorge Waterway / Victoria Harbour Watershed, which would include six municipalities and four First Nation communities.
Most recently, VOLWS reached out to the ELC about concerns over protecting public green spaces.
"Protecting public green spaces is a project that is dear to my heart," says John. "We in the Conservation community have observed for a long time the encroachment and restriction of public spaces by private entities. The economy has changed and homes on waterfront are in demand. Through onsite research, defining the regulatory laws / bylaws and a presentation to Saanich Municipality, ELC students have guided the community and progress is being made to resolve these issues and return these public spaces back to the public."
In response to the ELC’s submission, local governments are addressing the need to restore access to public waterfont lands that have been appropriated for private use by adjacent neighbours. The Clinic is advocating a comprehensive Greenways Strategy to link the public accesses.