Photo credit: Roy Hales

What does “a space for the community to talk about practical solutions to ecological challenges” look like? Quadra ICAN created such a space at the Quadra Community Centre on February 11th.  We cooked up some delicious food, hired some babysitters, and invited the community at large to join us in a safe, welcoming and well nourished space. Special invites went out to other local groups with similar mandates and the Regional Director.

When the day arrived, over sixty people showed up to put their hearts and heads together for this important conversation. Over a shared meal and using various facilitation tools, we worked in small groups to determine what we can do as a community to become more resilient and self-sufficient in the face of ecological challenges, and what is important for us to be working together on right now. Many wonderful ideas emerged!

The next part of the agenda was to prioritize the ideas. So often groups are not short on ideas, but then have a hard time figuring out which to implement and in what order. It can be very overwhelming and difficult to make these decisions. So on this day a tool called an “Impact/Effort Grid” was used. It’s a simple but very useful tool that asks you to quickly plot out every idea based on how much effort it will take to implement and how much impact it will have in meeting the stated goal. It allows you to see which ideas are the low hanging fruit, which ones will take more time, and which ones are not worth your time no matter how cool they might sound or which person suggested them. Of course more time and research is required to really know what is required for implementation, but a quick snapshot provides the momentum to move forward to next steps.

Here are a few of the groups that formed and the top ideas that emerged from their Impact/Effort grids:


  • Some “quick wins” were education about water conservation, grants for water infrastructure, and increased use of gray water and rainwater.
  • Some “will take some planning” ideas were recharging wetlands, protecting riparian areas, maintaining/re-establishing natural water flows, and working with SRD, Island Health, and other entities on making changes to the current requirements for new housing on Quadra in terms of water and sewage treatment.


  • Some “quick wins” were education around “pack in/pack out” for tourists, a compost pick-up program, and helping fund a garbage pick up program.
  • Some “will take some planning” ideas were a physical Free Store, co-op purchasing, and a transfer station for Quadra.


  • Some “quick wins” were green building audits, solar panel bulk buys, and EV charging stations.
  • Some “will take some planning” ideas were a solar hot water project, adding energy sustainability items to the Quadra Island Library of Things, and partnering with the We Wai Kai Nation.


  • Some “quick wins” were re-installing community benches at the grocery stores, designating public spaces for discussion and to work with other organizations to hire a Paid Coordinator or Liaison/Grant Writer to coordinate the work of all the organizations on Quadra.
  • Some “will take some planning” ideas were skill sharing, facilitating engagement across generations and culture, and creating some kind of structure to help different groups on Quadra to work together more effectively.


  • This group came up with one master list of priorities that included a trades/career fair for youth, skill sharing, maker space, craft collective/co-op, and more advertising by ICAN of all of their initiatives.

Other topics that were discussed were housing, forest and land management, oceans and beaches, and emergency services. Currently this work is primarily being done by other groups on Quadra. ICAN is sharing the ideas generated with these groups and looking at ways to partner if appropriate and desirable.  Please see the notes or the final report for a list of all of the ideas that were generated.

The other important piece is to identify potential partners for this work. ICAN cannot possibly do all this work alone, nor should they. There are over 80 groups on Quadra and working together where alignment can be found is key to making progress in building resiliency and self-sufficiency at a community level.

The full report from the Session as well as the handouts and slides can be found HERE.

ICAN is now in the process of reporting back to the community, identifying some potential partners/collaborators, and engaging with volunteers. The ideas from February 11th are being shared with existing and possibly new Action Teams and Committees for further discussion in order to determine what to move forward on this year and in the future.

At the close of the Session, it was suggested that community engagement sessions by ICAN become a regular occurrence on Quadra. This would be a great way to continue the conversation and the sharing of ideas and capacity.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in a practical project or more idea sharing please contact ICAN at or fill out a volunteer form HERE.