Organizers choose access to urban water as focus issue at film festival

NANAIMO – Eighth annual Urban Issues Film Festival is set for tomorrow (Nov. 8).

Water issues will be a major focus of the eighth annual Urban Issues Film Festival tomorrow (Nov. 8) at Vancouver Island University.

Chris Sholberg, the city’s community planner and member of the Planning Institute of B.C.’s North Island chapter, said the film festival – which is co-sponsored by the university’s geography department and the institute – will have a number of films focusing on the role water plays with respect to urban planning, particularly when there is too much or too little.

“You can’t have a city without a water system. Look at Lantzville, look at that whole [water sharing agreement with Nanaimo] situation. For a city to grow it does need an adequate water system and we’re in the same boat in Nanaimo,” Sholberg said. “We’re looking at our projections for up to 2020 and the question is will we have enough water to support the growth that we’re going to have here?”

While there will be films like A World Without Water, Designs that Hold Water: Sustainable Drainage Systems, Revolutionizing The Role of Water in Urban Planning, there will be others that deal with non water-related planning issues. Sholberg will be talking about the short documentary The Walkable City, which deals with over-dependence on cars, and the films Urbanized and Walk in Beauty: Clean Energy For A Changeable World will also be screened.

As a matter of coincidence, the date of this year’s festival falls in line with the international World Town Planning Day, which promotes public awareness of urban planning, something Sholberg said is fitting.

“We thought, ‘Let’s also feature that and try to work with the theme that World Town Planning Day had,’ which is the use of water in urban areas,” Sholberg said. “It’s really just us trying to do at a local level the same thing that’s being done internationally, which is to promote awareness of urban planning and the planning profession here in Nanaimo.”

The film festival begins at 3 p.m. at Room 109 at the Nanaimo campus’ Building 356 and runs until 9 p.m. While the event is free, Sholberg recommends pre-registering at as space is limited.

Food and beverages will be provided. More information can be found at