Regulatory Context for Hastings Creek Watershed Blueprint




Land and Water: Stewardship Vision

The 45 actions and targets in Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan establish expectations vis-à-vis how land will be developed (or redeveloped) and water will be used. The Green Communities Initiative complements Living Water Smart and comprises plans, strategies and enabling tools to achieve the land and water stewardship vision. Together, the two initiatives represent a call to action:

  • prepare communities for a changing climate
  • choose to live water smart
  • strive to build greener communities

Collaboration is the pathway to a consistent approach to water sustainability and green infrastructure policies and practices within and between regions. Collaboration will help local governments leverage, and be more effective, with the same resources,” states Glen Brown, the Executive Director responsible for Local Government Infrastructure and Finance. He is also BC’s Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.


Building on “Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia”

“Embedded within Living Water Smart is the Water Sustainability Action Plan. In turn, the Action Plan is the umbrella for ‘Beyond the Guidebook’, an ongoing initiative to provide local governments with the tools and understanding to ‘integrate the Site with the Watershed and the Stream’,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director for the the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“Since 2007, the Beyond the Guidebook initiative has been building on the technical foundation created a decade ago when the Province and Environment Canada jointly released Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.”


The Mission: Demonstrate How to Integrate Regulatory Compliance and Collaboration

“The Ministry of Environment looks forward to aligning efforts with the Partnership for Water Sustainability to further advance implementation of the “Beyond the Guidebook” initiative; and provide communities with the tools and knowledge to protect and/or restore watershed health,” stated Cairine MacDonald, (former) Deputy Minister, in a September 2012 announcement. “The Ministry’s renewed emphasis on the rainwater management component of Liquid Waste Management Plans has created an opportunity to demonstrate how to integrate regulatory compliance and collaboration.”

“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,” observes Kim Stephens.


Watershed-Based Planning: Why a Course Correction

ISMPs are a regulatory requirement as spelled out in the Metro Vancouver region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan. Two years in the making, the Integrated Plan established the framework for transitioning the Metro Vancouver region to an approach that achieves the Sustainable Region Vision.

When Environment Minister Terry Lake 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.

“Over the past decade,over-emphasis on computer modelling and pipe analyses resulted in engineering-centric plans that were unaffordable and questionable,” comments Kim Stephens in providing historical context. “The consequent paralysis drew attention to the need for a ‘course correction’ in the way ISMPs are approached. At the heart of the ISMP issue is the long-term dilemma of how to pay for infrastructure and watershed improvements if and when there is no source of funding.”


To Learn More:

Click on Framework for a ‘Course Correction’ Leading to a Watershed / Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning to download Part B of “A Watershed Blueprint for Hastings Creek”.


Mimic the Water Balance to reduce risk (both financial and environmental), improve watershed health, and comply with regulatory requirements and/or objectives.
(Image Credit: Courtesy of the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (