“We have arrived at a good place, but the journey has not been easy. In fact, we had to work our way through some pretty contentious periods. We persevered, we adapted and we progressed. We want other local governments to know about the good, the bad and the ugly of the Coquitlam story so that they may learn from our experience and know that it is okay to stumble," states Peter Steblin.
“In 2003, the City was clearly visionary when it first embraced and then formalized a watershed-based approach as a foundation piece in the Official Community Plan. The City has never stopped progressing. (we are) implementing change one step at a time and acknowledging that adjustments can be made along the way," explains Raul Allueva.
“The issue has always been about HOW to implement practical measures that work. As the result of a very difficult process of learning while under fire, we have learned to find solutions that achieve multiple objectives. We communicate better. We cooperate better. We coordinate better. It is a good story!," states Jim McIntyre.
“A decade ago, the new language and direction in the Official Community Plan provided City staff with the mandate to turn ideas into action,” says Dana Soong. "Linking watershed and neighbourhood planning processes gave all departments a vested interest in the outcome."
“The requirements for restrictive covenants, securities and professional oversight for design and installation proved to be particularly difficult for single family home builders and home owners. The requirement for an additional regulatory process and inspection at the building permit level also proved to be challenging for the City to implement,” reports Jason Cordoni.
“Council endorsed a new ‘systems approach’ philosophy which aims to offset impacts in one area of a watershed with gains in another for a ‘net environmental benefit’. The objective was to meet or exceed the standard of no net loss (of fish habitat) used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans," explains Bill Susak.
“The proposed land use pattern evolved, through an iterative process, to maximize environmental protection and rainwater management outcomes, while still meeting the financial objectives of the development," states Perry Staniscia.
“The new strategy promotes a practical and proactive approach to erosion and sediment control that includes updated discharge criteria, clear roles and responsibilities, and mandatory best management practices. These changes were necessary to counter the erosion and sediment issues we were experiencing, especially in sensitive areas with substantial construction,” states Steffanie Warriner.
“Watercourse inventory and classification assists in determining appropriate riparian setbacks and protection. The plans also identify opportunities for improvements which can be used by the City or developers looking for compensation or by streamkeepers with access to grant funding," states Hagen Hohndorf.
"The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable was formed in 2011 as a unique organization focused on advancing the health and sustainability of the watershed. The mandate of the group is to provide support to those with legislative authority so that they can make informed decisions about activities in the watershed," states Margaret Birch.
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