“We celebrate rain. We are ready to engage the community in a broader conversation about rainwater management,” says Mayor Darrell Mussatto, City of North Vancouver
Note to Reader:
More than a decade ago, the City of North Vancouver embraced a vision for building rain gardens on public and private lands. The City’s goals are to enhance the City’s streetscapes, restore the health of watercourses, and fulfil regulatory objectives for rainwater management. Released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia in October 2014, the City’s story is told in Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens: Creating the Future in the City of North Vancouver.
Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens: Creating the Future in the City of North Vancouver
“It had taken decades of urbanization to cause the progressive decline of the City’s creeks,” observes Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “Restoring stream health requires a long-term commitment from the community, successive Councils and City staff. The City’s rain garden program is a significant achievement over the past 10 years.”
“Rain gardens have ecological importance, and are a standard requirement for all developments in the City of North Vancouver. In addition, all of our major transportation projects incorporate rain gardens. A single rain garden will not make a material difference to conditions in our creeks. But 1000 rain gardens would be a different story. These will take time to implement. The process will be incremental.”
“Before the City’s mindset was out of sight, out of mind. Now we celebrate rain. We have success stories to share, and we are ready to engage the community in a broader conversation about rainwater management and where future rain gardens could be located. We would like neighbourhoods to get involved in the design of their rain gardens,” emphasizes Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
“We are not re-creating pristine natural conditions. Rather, by designing with nature we are creating an informed and intentionally designed urban landscape,” adds Douglas Pope, City Engineer. “The City is prepared to take a chance in doing business differently. Yes, there will be growing pains and sometimes there will be mistakes. Yet, this is what leads to innovation and efficiencies.”
“Once you get started with any new process, you get feedback that generates ‘collisions of ideas’. The processes get better and the products become stronger. And that is what we are seeing in the City,” explains Peter Navratil, Deputy City Engineer. “Push-back from developers declined once they saw what a rain garden looked like for the first time. From all perspectives, it gets easier and easier with each successive installation.”
To Learn More:
Compact and fully urbanized, the City of North Vancouver is a community of 48,000 people that is undergoing redevelopment to higher density land use. The City’s story is a case study illustration of how a “design with nature” ethic has taken root in local government in British Columbia.
To download a copy of the third in the Watershed Case Profile Series, click on Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens: Creating the Future in the City of North Vancouver.