Making Nature Count in the Town of Gibsons – celebrating and showcasing 5 years of leading by example
The Town of Gibsons is the Living Laboratory for the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative. It is also a demonstration application for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. “Investing in nature has proven to be rewarding in terms of reduced operational and capital expenditures, increased resiliency to climate change and improved environmental management of the Town’s infrastructure,” stated Emanuel Machado.
“Local governments in British Columbia already face a $200 billion challenge for renewal of aging hard infrastructure – such as watermains, sewers and roads. And now, as communities face the increasing impacts of climate change, there is another unfunded liability – the cost to restore watershed hydrology and water resilience in the built environment. British Columbia has arrived at a fork in the road,” states Kim Stephens.
REGISTER EARLY – Blue Ecology Workshop – a ‘must attend’ event on Nov 28 in Richmond, BC, because…….
Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy developed by Michael Blackstock, professional forester and scholar. Blue Ecology looks at the water cycle differently to interweave First Nations and Western thought. “Interweaving is about creating a new form of knowledge through collaboration by interweaving useful threads from each way of knowing into a more robust way. Interweaving is not integration, just as equality is not about assimilation and creativity is not empirical,” stated Michael Blackstock.
"Sponge Cities" – a catchy way to describe the goal in restoring the capacity of the urban landscape to absorb water and release it naturally
Four years ago, President Xi Jinping offered a new way to think about flooding and drought. At China’s Central Government Conference on Urbanization in 2013, he announced that cities should act like sponges. His proclamation came with substantial funding to experiment with ways cities can absorb precipitation.
SAVE THE DATE (Nov 28) TO BE INSPIRED – CBC’s Bob McDonald (Quirks & Quarks) headlines power lineup for “Blue Ecology Workshop”
In this workshop, the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik along with two well-known personalities – the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) and Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly – will team with Michael Blackstock to share their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach. The Fraser River is a centrepiece for the workshop program. “The program is visionary yet pragmatic. Bob McDonald, Fin Donnelly and Michael Blackstock are a powerful trio. The Blue Ecology theme, blending First Nations cultural knowledge and Western Science challenges us to be more inclusive when addressing watershed systems,” observes Eric Bonham, elder statesman with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
Inspired by a ground-breaking campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the Seattle/Puget Sound region of Washington State, a multi-partner initiative is now underway in British Columbia to build support for a similar rain garden vision in the Metro Vancouver region. “On the North Shore, we can learn from the experience in the Puget Sound region and from the green infrastructure initiatives that are taking place at the municipal level,” states Dr. Joanna Ashworth. “12,000 Rain Gardens is an effective blend of regionally coordinated but locally driven efforts. The campaign has played a major role in taking the rain garden concept from obscure to commonplace, and from outlier to mainstream, in terms of rainwater management strategies.”
NEW REPORT: Insurance industry highlights need to mandate private-side flood risk reduction measures
Titled ‘Assessing local mandatory measures to reduce flood risk and inflow & infiltration in existing homes’, the report focuses on enforcement-based approaches adopted by North American municipalities, including the City of Victoria and Metro Vancouver in British Columbia. “Basement flooding is one of the most substantial drivers of natural disaster losses in Canada,” states Dan Sandink. “Our report explores legal tools that could be used to require private property owners in existing developments to better manage excessive rainwater and protect against flood risk. We examine the legal implications of applying these tools in the Canadian municipal context.”
COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE MEETING ON JUNE 10 – an opportunity to explore sustainable funding mechanisms for watershed initiatives in BC
The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable has made significant advancements under its collaborative model. One highlight is the development of a unique watershed plan. The Community Roundtable Meeting taking place on June 10, 2017 in Port Coquitlam will share multi-sector, public, and expert perspectives on local watershed governance, sustainable funding mechanisms, and collaborative decision-making. “With the development and launch of the Lower Coquitlam River Watershed Plan in 2015, the Roundtable is poised to implement strategies for action in partnership with local municipalities, the regional government, First Nations, and private/public stakeholders to support watershed sustainability.” states Melissa Dick. “To ensure the long-term engagement of the Roundtable in watershed initiatives and planning, sustainable funding sources are required.”
Published in May 2007, The Green Infrastructure Guide is an invaluable reference document for those who embrace a ‘design with nature’ philosophy. The Guide led directly to development of the Shared Responsibility Matrix which embodies a way-of-thinking that is timeless. “The Guide’s purpose is to encourage successful designs, by reporting on what the legal and policy strategies are, what some of the implementation hurdles (and solutions) have been, and how they have been effective in achieving sustainability goals,” wrote Susan Rutherford. “All of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. Each party in the process has a responsibility. There are solutions to be found if all parties in the development process simply talk to each other about how they could all work together more effectively, using law reform or other process changes as tools.”
A report, released by infrastructure firm AECOM in April 2017, compiled urban data analytics across three different suburbs in Sydney, Australia, and found that for every 10 per cent increase in the canopy coverage within the street corridor, the value of properties increased by an average of $50,000 Australian. 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.