Category:

Leading Change

SPONGE CITIES: “It’s important to make friends with water. We can make a water protection system a living system,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design


Kongjian Yu is best known for his “sponge cities”. President Xi Jinping and his government have adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. “The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse,” stated Kongjian Yu. “Based on thousands of years of Chinese wisdom, the first strategy is to contain water at the origin, when the rain falls from the sky on the ground. We have to keep the water.” Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts and floods.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Beyond the Guidebook 2010 showcases how a ‘convening for action’ culture has taken root in British Columbia. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams,” observed Glen Brown


“In 2005, we said that the Guidebook would be the ‘telling of the stories’ of how change is being implemented on-the-ground in BC. Before the chapters could be written, however, the regional case studies had to run their course,” stated Glen Brown. “Five years later, this is the story of how we got to here and where we are going next. Similar to the way the 2002 Guidebook is structured, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is written in a way that provides the whole story for those that want it, or just key tidbits for others.”

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Embracing Shared Responsibility & Leading Change on Vancouver Island: “A paramount goal is to ‘get it right’ in the stream channel,” reports Peter Law, Vice-President, Mid Vancouver Island Enhancement Society


“MVIHES has morphed from ‘Stewards of the Englishman River Recovery Plan’ to ‘Stewards of the Watershed’. The Shelly Creek Plan is a provincial precedent. Community-driven action can restore watershed hydrology, prevent erosion and ensure fish survival,” stated Peter Law. “The challenge for MVIHES is to facilitate the community’s journey from awareness to action, expressed as follows: Once a community as a whole acknowledges that there is a problem, and also understands why there is a problem, what will the community do about it?”

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FLASHBACK TO 2015: Release of “Beyond the Guidebook 2015” drew attention to what Watershed Health issue means in practice and provincial game-changers that enable local government action in British Columbia


In British Columbia, three landmark provincial initiatives came to fruition in 2014. All embody the enabling philosophy. “Looking into the future, collaboratively developed Water Sustainability Plans can integrate water and land use planning and can be combined with other local, regional or provincial planning processes to address water-related issues. “The scale and scope of each plan – and the process used to develop it – would be unique, and would reflect the needs and interests of the watersheds affected,” states Jennifer Vigano.

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BLUEPRINT COLUMBUS – Clean Streams, Strong Neighborhoods: "One of the most exciting aspects to Blueprint is its creativity. Blueprint attacks the root problem by addressing the rain water that is entering the sewer system," stated Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman


“The City was concerned that building 28 miles of tunnels to eliminate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) was of questionable value, because SSOs are such a small volume of overflows compared to Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). The proposed tunnels would cost approximately $2 billion and only be used 4 or 5 times a year,” stated Mayor Michael Coleman. “Blueprint Columbus will be significantly better for the environment.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2009: “Our goal in constantly improving the Water Balance Model is to serve an ever widening range of user sophistication and problem-solving capabilities," stated Ted van der Gulik when he announced the plan for implementing a $500,000 program over 3 years


“Among the many enhancements that will be implemented over the next three years are capabilities not currently available in commercial software,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “The rapid growth and success of the present second generation model has made it clear that the time has come for the next bold leap forward in the evolution of our web-based tool.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “We are using the slogan ‘The New Business As Usual’ to convey the message that practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm," stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister, when he announced that Vancouver Island would be the demonstration region for green infrastructure capacity building


“Vancouver Island is the pilot for the Learning Lunch Seminar Series, a continuing education program for local government practitioners. This program will build capacity to apply ‘the new Water Balance Model’, and it will help make the transition to The New Business As Usual,” announced Dale Wall. “The Cowichan Valley Regional District and the City of Courtenay are the host local governments for series in the Spring and Fall, respectively.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: Cochrane Innovations in Urban Development Conference introduced Alberta audience to the Water Balance Model


The conference resulted from concerns about protecting escarpments, riparian areas, groundwater supplies and the Bow River watersheds during development. According to Bert van Duin, the pre-conference workshop provided an opportunity for the British Columbia team to inform Albertans about the benefits of the water balance way-of-thinking. “We received excellent feed-back on the format and contents of the conference, in general, and the workshop in particular,” he said.

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LOOK AT RAINFALL DIFFERENTLY: "Best practice falls dramatic short of effective waterway protection," stated Rod Wiese, a champion for 'doing business differently' in Australia, at the 2016 Stormwater Australia National Conference


“This study explores the genuine desire to protect and enhance urban waterways through whole of water cycle measures having wide ranging benefits to community health and climate change resilience,” wrote Rod Wiese in a conference paper titled Why Best Practice is Destroying Our Waterways. “Clearly, we need to manage volume and restore water balance pathways as Kim Stephens explained in his keynote at Stormwater 2016 about the primacy of hydrology.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: At the Water in the City Conference, Tom Liptan explained why City of Portland coined the RAIN acronym as an alternative to 'Stormwater' Management'


“It is great to see that the Province of British Columbia is proactively encouraging the drainage community to start using the all-encompassing Rainwater Management as an alternative to single-objective Stormwater Management,” stated Tom Liptan. “The language-shift that you have initiated in British Columbia is what we would like to see happen in Portland.”

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