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Cynefin meets the Maribyrnong and Moonee Ponds Creek


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Presentation to Melbourne Emergence Meetup of a mid-course reflection on the progress of Melbourne Water's Health Waterways Refresh Catchment Collaborations. The process has drawn on Dave Snowden's Cynefin framing via Twyfords.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

Cynefin meets the Maribyrnong and Moonee Ponds Creek

  1. 1. Cynefin meets the Maribyrnong and Moonee Ponds Creek Tony Smith, Melbourne Emergence Meetup, 13 July 2017 Site Visit to Fish Ladder at Brimbank Park
  2. 2. • Dave Snowden, Cynefin and Melbourne Emergence Meetup • Complexity, Chaos, Collaboration • Quick overview of long processes • Healthy Waterways Strategy refresh: Co-Governance Lab • Five major sub-catchments starting with Maribyrnong as pilot • City of Melbourne concern over Moonee Ponds Creek engages Melbourne Water re catchment who in turn engage Twyfords • Forced mixing and movement • Site visits and subcommittees • Sticky notes and sticking points • Identifying likely collaborations • Enduring working relationships
  3. 3. Dave Snowden cofounded of Melbourne Emergence Meetup November 2004. As Director of IBM’s Institution for Knowledge Management in the early 2000’s he established the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity in Wales. This was spun out when Dave left IBM in 2004 to found Cognitive Edge. On 13 June 2013 Dave returned to Melbourne Emergence Meetup to present “Doing More with Less, the Pragmatic Lessons of Complexity Theory”.
  4. 4. Complexity Chaos Collaboration Complex is not complicated Complicated is not complex Complexity emerges where chaos and order combine with deep history and deep connectedness Physical systems and computer models Social systems and knowledge management Biology is the defining question of complexity and emergence where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts Waterways are complex systems, deeply connected to and providing vital services to other components of urban and rural environments. Funded projects too often have a siloed focus on a single function. Collaboration between stakeholders and interested parties can bring multiple functional considerations to the table, improving outcomes.
  5. 5. Why we care about Black Swan events aka Unknown Unknowns, disruptors, …
  6. 6. Viral hit Black Swan weeding garden and feeding fish Original Kororoit logo swan Black Swan event inspires four more years productive research Bill’s Black Swans from Lake Rotorua At MPCreek catchment collaboration Black Swans head back to their Railway Canal bank gardening after finding cameraman on other side has no bribes
  7. 7. Quick overview of long processes City of Moonee Valley Integrated Waterways Advisory Committee brought together community with interests in Moonee Ponds Creek, the Maribyrnong and tributaries. Melbourne Water needed to replace an important ancient water main, above which an old pedestrian bridge crossed Steele Creek, far from modern shared path standards. With standard single function focus, pipe project planned to lift and put back old bridge. But IWAC said stop and interested parties were forced to sit together and sort it out. Our Catchment Collaborations prepare participants to get together at the right time.
  8. 8. Healthy Waterways Strategy refresh: Co-Governance Labs All events in familiar territory of Wonky Deal House, as was a Port Phillip Environmental Management Plan session in December, first home of Hub Melbourne and on Bourke Street, conveniently close to Southern Cross. Missed the Healthy Waterways Strategy refresh launch Friday 2 September 2016, 9.30 am-2 pm Waterways Co-Governance Lab Wednesday 23 November 2016, 9.30 am-2 pm Getting Prepared for Co-Design in the Maribyrnong Wednesday 29 March 2017, 9.30 am-1.30 pm Umbrella group is expected to get back together to prepare for the other four major sub-catchments.
  9. 9. Five major sub-catchments with Maribyrnong as pilot The Maribyrnong Catchment Collaboration has met on three Thursdays, 9.30am-1.30pm: Brownstone Café, Brimbank Park, 20 April with inspection of fish ladder; Sunbury Football Social Club, 11 May; The Boathouse, Moonee Ponds, 8 June with tour of Riverside Park. And there are more issues and opportunities that haven’t yet taken much of our attention and more easily discussed here with pictures.
  10. 10. West Gate Tunnel (aka #WestChoke) Environmental Effects Statement: Kororoit Institute submission lodged 10 July Preliminary presentation at Melbourne Emergence Meetup, 8 June
  11. 11. Maribyrnong Defence site Current political football Contaminated development opportunity All locals want is adequate riparian fringe
  12. 12. My immediate priority: responding to request to extend Industrial 1 Zone to river’s edge directly across from Brimbank Park.
  13. 13. Local interest group representatives and new City of Brimbank councillors on way to first look at confluence of Deep & Jacksons Creeks forming the Maribyrnong.
  14. 14. Bendigo railway line bridge above Jacksons Creek at Sunbury
  15. 15. Recently very shallow Deep Creek hardly flowing beneath Sunbury Road bridge at Bulla
  16. 16. But we might need a closer look at the upper catchment where Deep Creek wraps around Lancefield on 3 sides.
  17. 17. West of Tooborac RoadNorth of Kilmore Road Selfie east of Tooborac RoadSouth of Kilmore Road
  18. 18. City of Melbourne, concerned over potential Arden precinct flooding, engages Melbourne Water re whole of Moonee Ponds Creek catchment. Healthy Waterways in turn engages Twyfords across both catchments. City of Melbourne, concerned over potential Arden precinct flooding, engages Melbourne Water re whole of Moonee Ponds Creek catchment. Healthy Waterways in turn engages Twyfords across both catchments.
  19. 19. Moonee Ponds Creek Catchment Collaboration has met five times and had two extra site visits: Moonee Valley Sports Club, Wednesday 22 February (am) Docklands Community Hub, Tuesday 21 March (am) Hume Global Learning Centre, Thursday 6 April (am) Gowanbrae Community Centre, Tuesday 16 May (pm) walk from Jacana Station via retarding basin spillway Essendon Hockey Club, Monday 19 June (pm) look at adjacent concrete-lined section Site walk to see west bank access north of Macaulay Road Tuesday 13 June 2:00 pm-4:30 pm Site walk thru #WestChoke bridge plans, Arden-Macaulay Thursday 6 July 10:00 am-12 noon
  20. 20. Heading off with extras from #WestChoke Authority, Council, Melbourne Water and Victorian Planning Authority
  21. 21. Alignment of first #WestChoke bridges
  22. 22. More Overshadowing Creek doesn’t need
  23. 23. Looking at west bank access issues a little north
  24. 24. Provokes discussion of litter perennial
  25. 25. Walk to Gowanbrae looked at recently upgraded Jacana Retarding Basin. What to do with it when it isn’t retarding that once in 500 years flood?
  26. 26. Opportunistic development on long banked land just above that once in 500 years flood level.
  27. 27. North end of Japan Wetland scheduled for a refresh. These last three pics from a walk after inspecting that refresh plan, day before Hume workshop.
  28. 28. Forced mixing and movement After a short break participants stood in a line to demonstrate how committed they felt to working collaboratively on the future of Moonee Ponds Creek catchment. Those clustering on the right indicated that they had a high level of commitment to working collaboratively. Those on the left were less committed. —Twyfords report on Moonee Ponds Creek Stakeholder Workshop 1
  29. 29. Unlike road megaprojects, when we get stuck we go back down and revisit earlier positions.
  30. 30. Site visits and subcommittees The majority of both Maribyrnong and Moonee Ponds Creek Catchment Collaborations have been held proximate to the respective waterways, enabling groups of participants to re?-familiarise themselves with those places. This looks to be ongoing, as should specific site visits led by those with local knowledge. There has also been an ad hoc start to deferring issues to subcommittees for offline/online resolution between full co-laboratory sessions. Ideally our collaborations will become something with a life which exceeds the contributing life of participants, the very fact of their ongoing participation becoming integral to the consciousness of the groups they represent. Removing the need to forever repeat one’s justification for involvement, that can so impede getting down to business, should pave the way for worthwhile collaborative projects up and down the catchments.
  31. 31. Breaking down habituated separation between stakeholder consultations and wider community engagement appears significant, but questions remain: Melbourne Water has a dominant history of rotating chairs in its local community liaison roles which may have benefits framed from its own human resources perspective but is seen very negatively by volunteer groups whose essence is continuity of commitment. Yet there are also clearly long held cultural divisions internal to the likes of Melbourne Water and VicRoads which impede new knowledge flowing from outward facing functions into areas that stay more internally focused. There is also a wider policy disconnect between those pushing these and similar processes in fear of more severe weather events flooding downstream and those of us who recognise that locked in sea level rise is a bigger risk coming upstream. So one of our key objectives becomes trying to improve collaboration within Melbourne Water.
  32. 32. The Essentials In preparation for design of the pilot of consultation at local level, participants were asked: “What will make or break the process of agreeing on priorities at local level?” Lab members also identified (on post it notes - slides 4 to 7) where they had expertise and interest to support how these ‘essential elements’ get put into practice. Sticky notes and sticking points
  33. 33. Government policy is to identify priority waterways. “We will improve the health of priority waterways and their catchments to support our environmental, social, cultural and economic needs and values now and into the future.” Sorry, that doesn’t work for anybody who cares. While doing some good, Water for Victoria misses point. Vastly different performance of urban v rural waterways. The most valuable project for Moonee Ponds Creek right now is happening on Stony Creek, arguably far from a priority waterway as the base flow through this project will continue to be diverted through a flood relief tunnel to the Kororoit. A significant length of concrete is being removed and the creek renaturalised to make a more attractive backdrop to redevelopment of City West Water’s old headquarters.
  34. 34. Identifying likely collaborations
  35. 35. Researching the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek submission to the recent Water for Victoria policy process, called Julie Law to refresh knowledge of issues on the upper creek while scrolling satellite map on computer. Spotted something worth further investigation via the 1981 MMBW report, leading to being able to include in submission: There is a big cutoff meander in Westmeadows dating from 1976 which could easily be reversed as a test case. (right) With respect to “flood channel (...) cut across the neck of the meander loop” the 1981 MMBW report admits: The combined effects of erosion and deposition have caused the abandonment of the meander loop, even during low flow. The flood channel is now the waterway and the meander loop is almost completely silted up; in fact, the only time that flow now occurs within the loop is during a flood, which is virtually the opposite of what was planned! (their exclamation mark) Forty years on there appear to be no new impediments to rectification.
  36. 36. Enduring working relationships Back in the late 1980s, when Complex Systems were new and I was running a growing business, I encouraged staff to think differently about how we worked. Realising that critical work gets done through the interaction of two people, my challenge was to get us all to work on our working pair relationships. To that end we arranged an outdoor workshop at Woodlands Park Essendon with dogs and staff photographer. Back to catchment collaborations, it is hard to imagine any particular project will bring more than a portion of the participating parties to the table. So I’m looking to the process to build strong bridges between each pair of agencies and community groups so that they will know who to call and anticipate shared understandings when some new opportunity or challenge appears.
  37. 37. Questions?
  38. 38. Collaboration?