“Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint” Integrates Engineering, Planning and Environmental Perspectives



Note to Reader:

In Metro Vancouver, the spotlight is on a “course correction” in the way Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (i.e. “ISMPs”) are developed and implemented. The Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint is a demonstration application of the “ISMP Course Correction”. North Vancouver is showing how to leverage more with the same resources.

ISMPs are a regulatory requirement as spelled out in the Metro Vancouver region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan. When the Environment Minister approved the plan in May 2011, he also imposed requirements that link land use planning to the direction provided by the ISMPs. The conditions of plan approval focus attention on the how the degree, type and location of land development can affect the long-term health of watersheds.



Integration of Priorities: Things Changed with the Hastings Blueprint

“Before Hastings Creek, the notion of ISMPs seemed too big to tackle; as well, it was disconnected from the District’s priorities,” reflects Susan Haid, Manager of Sustainable Community Development. “Despite our awareness and support for integration, there was still a disconnect between engineers and planners on this initiative, largely due to us having different priorities. We did not realize it at first, but our thinking began to change after we completed the Official Community Plan Update and commenced development of implementation plans for five Town Centres.”

“The Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint has helped us figure out the context for the Lynn Valley Town Centre. In the process, we have demonstrated how to move back and forth between scales. We have also learned how to work with imperfect information and work towards a solution. We have enough information to make decisions.”

“Richard Boase, Ariel Estrada and Karen Rendek are the three individuals in the trenches who drove our change in thinking. Their collaboration on the Lynn Valley Town Centre demonstrates what integration of environmental, engineering and planning perspectives looks like in practice. They showed us that the pathway to an ISMP is through an integrated project.”


Watershed-Based Approach Integrates Perspectives

“Our watershed-based approach to development of the Hastings Creek Blueprint captures the stewardship ethic which is deeply rooted in the North Vancouver community. In our jobs, Ariel Estrada and I deal with the unintended consequences of changes in land use. A key goal in problem-solving is striving to balance environmental protection and sustainability with community drainage and flood protection,” states Richard Boase, the District’s Environmental Protection Officer. He and Ariel Estrada are the Watershed Blueprint co-champions.

“Through an evolving process of integrating interdisciplinary perspectives, we are planning habitat and watershed enhancements that can be realized through the redevelopment process. We understand what is needed to restore watershed and stream health, what is possible and how to implement change,” adds Ariel Estrada, Project Engineer responsible for drainage infrastructure.


Transferability to Other Town Centre Projects

“Integrated community design is very much about a sense of place and, in the case of Lynn Valley Town Centre, weaving nature into the urban fabric. The Hastings Creek tributaries are the skeleton of the system. They are affected and influenced by everything that we do on the land. Hence, it boils down to focussing on areas of change and issues related to ecological threats,” continues Susan Haid.

“The Hastings Blueprint is enabling us to develop principles. These will be transferable to integrated planning for the other town centres. Furthermore, our watershed-based approach means the District can demonstrate that we are fulfilling our ISMP commitments.”


“Draft Implementation Plan for Lynn Valley Town Centre” Integrates Geography, History & Culture

“The Draft Implementation Plan for the Town Centre celebrates Lynn Valley’s natural and cultural setting and strong sense of community. Sustainable rainwater management is one of six ‘key principles’ used to help shape the development of the concept plan,” continues Karen Rendek, Policy Planner and the District’s project leader for plan development.

“Yet rainwater management is more than just one of six principles. Rainwater management embodies the integration of geography, history and culture. This is the reason why we have viewed the Town Centre through a rainwater lens, as one of the key lenses. It is integral to the form and character of redevelopment.”

“In telling the Hastings Creek story, a key message is that redevelopment of the watershed represents an opportunity to make things better and restore hydrological and ecological functions. Through our commitment to a landscape-based approach, the District can show how to mimic the water balance; improve watershed health; and comply with regulatory requirements,” concludes Susan Haid.


To Learn More:

To read the complete story about what Susan Haid has to share about the Hastings Creek experience, click on Reflect and Look Ahead to download Section 9 of “A Watershed Blueprint for Hastings Creek”.