Implementing Watershed-Based Community Planning in Coquitlam: Source Control Challenges Led to a Refined Strategy


Coquitlam_LID Manual_challenges led to refined strategy

Low Impact Development (LID) Policy & Procedures Manual

In December 2004, the City of Coquitlam adopted a Low Impact Development Manual to provide developers with direction. The manual applied a prescriptive approach which included specifications and detailed drawings. Implementation of site-level rainwater source control measures required changes to the development application process at both the subdivision approval and building permit levels.

Jim-McIntyre_Coquitlam_trimmed_120p“Developers and builders had difficulties implementing the LID requirements,” states Jim McIntyre, General Manager for Planning and Development. “Questions were also raised about the effectiveness and longevity of essentially private, onsite works.”

Need to Revisit the LID Strategy!

“The requirements for restrictive covenants, securities and professional oversight for design and installation proved to be particularly difficult for single family home builders and home owners,” reports Jason Cordoni, the City’s Development Servicing Supervisor. 

Jason Cordoni_Coquitlam_120p“The requirement for an additional regulatory process and inspection at the building permit level also proved to be challenging for the City to implement.”

“In April 2007, Council put a hold on the full implementation of LID measures until the City could demonstrate, through analysis and testing, that the implementation of the measures met benchmark standards for their function.”

“While interim measures such as roadside infiltration, absorbent topsoil and rain barrels were still being incorporated into the subdivision and building designs, further analysis and study were required to justify the use of more complex applications such as the on-lot infiltration systems at the single family home level.” Jason explains.

Coquitlam_LID Manual_need to re-think approach

Back to the Drawing Board

Melony-Burton_Dec-2013_120p“During the next couple of years, the City underwent a renewal process that took a critical look at its rainwater management requirements and reaffirmed commitment to the watershed-based approach to community planning. The process culminated in the development and adoption of the Rainwater Management Design Requirements and Guidelines (March 2009),” adds Melony Burton, the City’s Watersheds & Drainage Coordinator.

To Learn More:

The foregoing is extracted from the “Coquitlam story”, the second in the Watershed Case Profile Series released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. To download a complete copy, click on Watershed Planning & Rainwater Management: Creating the Future in the City of Coquitlam.

Coquitlam Watershed Planning and Rainwater Management Article (Jan 2014)_cover