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What is “Green Infrastructure”? – Looking back to understand the origin, meaning and use of the term in British Columbia

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"Two complementary strategies can 'green' a community and its infrastructure: first, preserving as much as possible of the natural green infrastructure; and secondly, promoting designs that soften the footprint of development," wrote Susan Rutherford. "Green infrastructure design is engineering design that takes a ‘design with nature’ approach, to both mitigate the potential impacts of existing and future development and growth and to provide valuable services."

Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: Supporting the Vision for Integration of Natural Systems Thinking into “The BC Framework”

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"Coined in 2010, the term Sustainable Service Delivery was introduced by the Province to integrate financial accountability, infrastructure sustainability and service delivery. While the BC Framework was only launched in early 2015, it has garnered both national and international attention. Other provinces, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, are integrating the BC Framework into their respective work," wrote Glen Brown.

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is the keeper of the GIP legacy,” observes Paul Ham, a Past-Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership

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“I see my years of chairing the Green Infrastructure Partnership as helping to get the ball rolling and ideas disseminated, on green infrastructure, all of which has subsequently been taken up by others to a much greater degree of implementation and success. Our efforts a decade ago moved the state of-the-art of green infrastructure to a more mainstream level," said Paul Ham.

FLASHBACK TO 2007: Seminar on how to implement ‘green solutions’ that actually protect stream health – “Beyond the Guidebook Initiative” formally launched by the British Columbia Green Infrastructure Partnership at event held in Vancouver; attracted an audience from regions across the province

“The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in BC being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Minister of Environment Barry Penner in 2007. “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to move beyond rainwater management to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management.”

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – Reduce risk, reduce financial liability by implementing the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach (watch the webcast)

"We were delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology, via a Forester University webcast,” stated Emily Shine. "At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we described Water Balance Methodology as a webinar that could not be missed."

FLASHBACK TO 2004: Consultation Workshop on “Model Subdivision Bylaw & Green Infrastructure Standards” was the launch event for the Green Infrastructure Partnership

"The primary purpose of the consultation was to explore the diversity of issues and difficulties inherent in defining and implementing a green infrastructure approach to land development. The consultation resulted in identification of 17 recommendations in five theme areas," reported Chuck Gale. "An over-arching theme that emerged from the discussion revolves around the need to provide the bridge between those who make the decisions and those who implement the decisions."

MIMIC THE WATER BALANCE: Flashback to 2013 – the United States can learn from British Columbia experience, concluded Paul Crabtree, leader of the US-based Rainwater in Context Initiative

“The Canadians do appear to be ahead of the US in this field because the US EPA took a really bad approach to LID that was based on the premise that enforcing every site to the same standard would somehow fix the problems of water quality in the US,” commented Paul Crabtree. “The USA EPA approach has done some good, but has several crippling drawbacks."

FLASHBACK TO 2004: “Judge progress by the distance traveled, not the distance remaining,” stated Kim Stephens at Consultation Workshop that was the launch event for the BC Green Infrastructure Partnership

“We have come a long way in just four years. Our experience in bringing the vision to fruition for the UniverCity Sustainable Community on Burnaby Mountain provides relevant context. It was not that long ago that the project was hanging by a thread. We have been successful in overcoming fear and doubt," stated Kim Stephens. “In 2000, translating high expectations for UniverCity into practical design guidelines meant revisiting accepted drainage engineering practice."

LEADING CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA: Can Money Really Grow On Trees? Increased Tree Canopy Boosts Sydney Property Values

The value a city derives from its urban trees is difficult to measure due to the disconnect between the beneficiaries and the direct costs borne by the councils, utilities and road authorities who manage them. “Our report found that without sufficient ‘green infrastructure’ Sydney would be hotter, more polluted and could be worth $50 billion less," stated James Rosenwax, report co-author.

ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROTOCOL: Embed ‘state-of-the-art’ hydrology in engineering ‘standard practice’ as a first step to valuing watersheds as infrastructure assets

"Use of the Water Balance family of methods and tools will help local governments bring state-of-the-art hydrology into engineering standard practice,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “Our objective is to make it easy for local governments to establish, require and implement Water Balance performance targets. The methods and tools exist. It is a matter of enhancing them to support EAP (Ecological Accounting Protocol) plus expand their use."

FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Adapting to Climate Change – An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities” reported that the impacts of changing climate were already evident in Canada and globally

"The book provides municipal decision-makers and staff with information to help them understand the need for climate change adaptation and how to put adaptation measures in place. It includes 11 case studies that illustrate how municipalities of varying sizes from across the country are taking adaptation action now," states Robert Hicks.