DOWNLOAD: Integration of Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: A Provincial Perspective
Note to Reader:
In October 1997, a focus group workshop convened by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities set in motion a chain of outcomes that culminated in Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in June 2002. This was a catalyst for change that has resulted in British Columbia achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing green infrastructure.
Five years later, the evolution in thinking was captured in Beyond the Guidebook: Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia. Released in June 2007, this succinct guidance document foreshadowed Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative, both of which were launched in 2008.
The formal rollout of Beyond the Guidebook commenced in November 2007 at a seminar organized in collaboration with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC). Branded as Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure: Resources and Successes for Protecting Stream Health, the seminar provided a platform to present federal and provincial perspectives on applying a science-based approach to “doing business differently”.
‘Made in BC’ Educational Approach
At the Beyond the Guidebook Seminar, Chris Jensen, Ministry of Community Services, explained the regulatory and legal framework in a presentation titled Integration of Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure: The Province’s Perspective. His presentation was structured in two parts: Education; Financial Incentives.
“In BC, we have come to the realization that prescriptive approaches stifle innovation. By telling people how far they must go, that’s as far as they go. They don’t go much beyond what is required for an approval. This is the story that we are hearing from people in Washington State,” stated Chris Jensen.
”In BC, the approach that we are taking is to set the goal. As a result, we are seeing people in local governments leapfrogging each other to see how close they can get to the goal,” continued Jensen, “Our observation is that people are not stopping at the numbers on the page and saying ‘well, we have met that criterion’. Rather, they are often going above and beyond what is required.”
Jensen added that the Province made a conscious decision to create change through practitioner education, and after a decade this approach is now paying dividends.
A Road Map for Leveraging Change
After providing the audience with the highlights and examples of provincial grant program, Chris Jensen then described how the Ministry is using the Green Communities Initiative to advance green infrastructure province-wide.
“We are slowly raising the bar for local government,” stated Jensen, “For example, we are saying show us what you are doing to protect stream health.”
Jensen also emphasized that the Ministry is providing cash awards to recognize the efforts of local governments in achieving design with nature outcomes.
In his closing remarks, Chris Jensen made it clear to his audience that: “In terms of providing you with a road map, today’s expectations are the standards of tomorrow. At the Ministry of Community Services, we believe that change for the better will be created through the combination of education and financial incentives.”
To Learn More:
To download and read the complete story about the presentation by Chris Jensen, click on Integration of Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: The Province’s Perspective.
To download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Chris Jensen, click here.