Watershed Case Profile Series: Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township – ‘Design with Nature’ to Create Liveable Neighbourhoods

Note to Reader:

In October 2017, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia released the 5th in the Watershed Case Profile Series. It recognizes the good work being done by the Township of Langley. Download Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township: ‘Design with Nature’ to Create Liveable Neighbourhoods.

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Harmony and Integration

Time provides perspective!

We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of champions who are leading by example in their communities. The story of green infrastructure innovation in Langley Township is indeed compelling.

In 2007, the Township hosted one of three events in the Metro Vancouver Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series. A decade later, we have the perspective of time when we reflect on their approach and connect the dots between past, present and future.

In 2007, the Township chose Harmony and Integration as its theme. A decade later, how have things played out? Is the Township accomplishing what it set out to achieve with its bold vision for an attractive and liveable community? Is the land and water stewardship ethic deeply instilled in the corporate culture? What is next on the horizon?

These questions provided a focus for storytelling and created the storyline for Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township, released today by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

2007 Showcasing Program - first, the project review; then, the site visit.

2007 Showcasing Program – first, the project review; then, the site visit.

Cathedral Thinking

The stewardship ethic for creating liveable neighbourhoods in Langley is shaped by “cathedral thinking”, that is – a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment by elected representatives, staff and community to long-term implementation.

Celebrate ‘Good Work’

Design with nature, a whole-system approach, learn by doing and adapt. These three phrases capture the essence of how the Township builds neighbourhoods. The record of success to date is impressive.

This Watershed Case Profile celebrates the ‘good work’ done by the Township. By showcasing and sharing the ‘story behind the story’ of green infrastructure innovation, the Partnership for Water Sustainability hopes is that other communities will learn from Township experience. Langley is demonstrating the critical success factors that must be in play to achieve a vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management.

Integration in Action

“When the previous General Manager of Engineering retired in 2011, our Chief Administrative Officer listened when I presented the case for doing both jobs – Engineering and Community Development,” stated Ramin Seifi.

Ramin Seifi - July 2017_120p“The Township needed more integration to respond to the demands on infrastructure and the risks to the environment resulting from rapid population growth. Achieving integration depended on the Township having a better structure.

“Replacement of curb-and-gutter with a ‘blue link’ rain garden is a perfect illustration of integration in action. Everyone could see that it made sense. Because I could see the need from all angles, I said to staff ‘just do it’. Integration helps everyone get it.”

The ‘blue link’ is the new drainage standard in Langley. It replaces the traditional curb-and-gutter detail for all but arterial roadways.

The ‘blue link’ is the new drainage standard in Langley. It replaces the traditional curb-and-gutter detail for all but arterial roadways.

Going Beyond Staff

“The adaptive process for implementing green infrastructure is ongoing. Each time we learn. We strive to find better ways to mimic nature and protect the natural water balance in Langley’s watersheds,” states Ramin Seifi.

Educate the Community

“But the public does not see integration. This means the next step is to educate the community as a whole so that everyone understands the importance of green infrastructure and protecting the water cycle. Buy-in has to be from everyone.

“Time is of the essence to get buy-in, especially with the population currently projected to double. People are attracted to Langley because it is a community of choice. Protecting the natural values that make Langley attractive underscores the importance of going beyond staff to inform and educate homeowners. Achieving this outcome will require that we go door-to door.”

Rain Gardens on 208A Street at 69A Avenue, Langley

Rain Gardens on 208A Street at 69A Avenue, Langley

Table of Contents

The table is a synopsis. It distills the essence of each section into a succinct statement. These create a storyline. Readers are asked to pause and reflect on them before reading the story itself.

To Learn More:

To download the 5th in the Watershed Case Profile Series, click on Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township: ‘Design with Nature’ to Create Liveable Neighbourhoods.

Langley_Table of Contents