Advancing a Regional Team Approach to Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in Metro Vancouver
The 2009 Surrey Forum
The City of Surrey hosted the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum on March 12, 2009. The co-sponsors for this learning event were the Water Balance Model Inter-Governmental Partnership and the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
The following challenge statement provided context for advancing a 'regional team approach' to rainwater management and green infrastructure in Metro Vancouver:
How do we simultaneously work together as staff within a municipality and as a region AND externally with developers and other private sector players, to ensure we implement sustainable approaches to development?
The Surrey Forum is the first step in advancing a regional team approach that will align local actions in Metro Vancouver with provincial goals as stated in Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan.
Regional Team Approach
The Forum is part of the implementation program for Convening for Action in British Columbia, reports Ted van der Gulik, Chair of the Inter-Governmental Partnership. Collaboration, innovation, integration and partnerships are helping local governments in three regions (Metro Vancouver, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island) make the best choices for sustainable, healthy and vibrant communities.
“Experience gained in one region can be adapted to suit the needs of the other regions, Cross-fertilization between regions creates the opportunity to continually build on the experience of others and take turns leapfrogging ahead.”
Liquid Waste Management Plan
“Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Management Plan is the appropriate vehicle for bringing the desired collaboration to fruition,” adds Kim Stephens. He represents the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia on the Metro Vancouver Liquid Waste Management Reference Panel, an advisory group that was appointed by the Metro Vancouver Regional Board in April 2008 and reports directly to the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee.
“The Liquid Waste Management Plan comprises eight strategies to achieve two over-arching goals; it also identifies actions to be led by SILG under four of those strategies. The Draft Plan specifically references collaboration with the Green Infrastructure Partnership and the Water Balance Model partnership to facilitate on-site rainwater management and promote innovative approaches to sustainable infrastructure.”.
“High-level endorsement of the Draft Plan by Metro Vancouver municipalities in March 2009 creates the opportunity to build on the momentum that has been generated by the Surrey Forum, and to further align local actions under a regional team framework,” concludes Ray Fung, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.
The Story of the Surrey Forum
Leading up to the Forum, a set of five stories was published on the Water Bucket website to progressively connect the dots and foreshadow what participants would learn. To access links to these stories, click on Living Water Smart and Making Green Choices in the Metro Vancouver Region.
“The Forum was designed to start a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers,” states Vincent Lalonde, the City’s General Manager, Engineering. “We approached the program design from a shared responsibility perspective; we explored how policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to ensure responsible outcomes.”
For the complete story on what transpired at the Forum, click on Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver: Moving Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach.
Posted June 2009