The year 2022 saw the province emerge from the restrictions of Covid. Our BWS group all welcomed this return to in-person meetings and more live community engagement.
This last fiscal year was BWS’s most significant in our brief time in the community. We grew in size and scope not seen previously. All aspects of our activities, fiscal strength, and community standing have grown. Congratulations to all who have helped moved the dial!!
However, the results of these advances now point to an increasingly mature organizational path – a strong forward-planning phase of BWS – yes, the five-year plan is in the works!!
Let us recap the changes for BWS in 2022:
Transition with no President: Last year Roger Chayer stepped down as president, with no one available to fill that position. Thanks to all other members for helping with this transition and sharing the duties. In 2023, the position will be filled by Dave Weaver.
Fund Raising and Spending: Our fiscal bottom line increased from $10,507 in 2021 to $22,705 in 2022. Refundable fundraising was a major factor – yielding $14,293. Thanks to all for working so hard, especially the ‘Can Captain’ Lise and her ‘staff’ Pam, for running the show. Greater funds have enabled increased spending for mileage reimbursement, monitoring equipment, and the purchase of a shelter for the processing of refundables. Special thanks to Roger and Sandra for the use of their space for the “office”.
Projects: The number of projects increased slightly with the addition of the 6PPD-Quinone Tire Contamination sampling project. BWS’s project status has increased with the acceptance of our first scientific publication of findings based the 2021 data from our Resistivity Project. The article will be accessible on the BC Government site “Water Science Series” in early 2023. Congratulations Mark!!
Membership: We now have approximately 50 members, up from 35 last year. Volunteer hours stayed about the same overall, with a little more time in sorting refundables.
Community Outreach and Advocacy: We expanded the number of presentations this past year, including a full evening Town Hall for the Watershed Health Report Card study. This also resulted in six other community and provincial presentations of this report’s findings. In addition, we expanded our representation by joining the Comox Lake Watershed Advisory Group.
Profile: I believe we have elevated BWS’s profile with our continued engagement with the University of Victoria resistivity project, and now in 2023, we are sponsoring a Geographic Information System (GIS) practicum student from Vancouver Island University (VIU). As well, our sampling data are going national; we will be entering our data into a public-access source of Canada-wide watershed data “DataStream”.
Partnerships: Our corporate community partnerships expanded at the end of 2022 and look to blossom in 2023. We anticipate a formal partnership with GW Solutions, a Nanaimo-based environmental company focused on assessment and protection of groundwater. They will act as both technical mentor and future contractor. Our relationship with K’omoks First Nation shows signs of growth, including an invitation to present our resistivity project results in 2023.
Moving into hiring contractors: We have engaged the services of a GIS technician to aid with the 2023 Tsable River Watershed Health assessment. As well, we hope to continue to hire a practicum GIS student from VIU, and possibly other contractors in 2023 for planning and stream mapping.
The first member Christmas Party – Dec. 2022: It was too much fun!! Thanks to Lise and Pam for organizing and facilitating a good time – especially roasting the long-time members crowd.
Our group’s commitment and continued drive to make water the prime focus of BWS, is a testament to our collective success.
In recognition of that energy and purpose, I would like to share as an inspiration to all members, what Dr. Gilles Wendling of GWS shared with a few of us who met with him recently. He felt it should be BWS’s ultimate goal: “to lead the transfer of BWS data…into….local community knowledge”.