Integrated Watershed Management: “Collaborate for the greater good,” states the City of Coquitlam’s Jim McIntyre


Note to Reader:

The Coquitlam story is the second in a series of Watershed Blueprint Case Profiles published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. By telling the stories of those who are spearheading changes in practice, this helps other local governments eliminate the “disconnect between information and implementation” that may otherwise hold them back.

OCP - support_Coquitlam

Requirement for Watershed Plans

“In 2001, Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities recognized the benefits of a watershed-based approach to integrating drainage, ecology and land use planning. The region made a commitment to the Province to have watershed-based plans in place by 2014,” explains Melony Burton, the City of Coquitlam’s Watersheds and Drainage Coordinator. Melony Burton and Kim Stephens co-authored the Coquitlam story.Melony-Burton_Dec-2013_120p

“Metro Vancouver piloted two watershed studies which incorporated the guiding principle of planning at the watershed scale as well as developing a high level vision and objectives.  The City of Coquitlam was a participant in both regional pilot studies, and drew on that experience when developing our first municipal ISMP (Integrated Stormwater Management Plan) in 2002.”

Build on Pragmatic Experience

“The Coquitlam story is important because the City has been evolving an effective and adaptable approach to development and implementation of Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMP) over the past decade,” adds Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“The City has built on pragmatic experience in first securing political support for a watershed-based approach to community planning; and then developing, implementing and refining practical rainwater management applications that mimic the natural Water Balance.”

Move From Awareness to Action

“The issue has always been about HOW to implement practical measures that work,” adds Jim McIntyre, General Manager for Planning and Development. “As the result of a very difficult process of learning while under fire, we have learned to find solutions that achieve multiple objectives.”

Jim-McIntyre_Coquitlam_trimmed_120pIn 2002, a report to Council highlighted the need for the City to identify watershed boundaries, to prioritize watersheds for study, and to determine a method for preparing and incorporating plans into municipal processes.”

“Council directed staff to develop a city-wide watershed management planning strategy and accompanying action plan. In May 2003, Council amended the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP).”

“The OCP amendments in May 2003 addressed the needs concerning city-wide watershed planning and integration with neighbourhood planning processes.  The new policies required that Neighbourhood Plans be completed after applicable watershed studies and that land use plans take into account watershed conditions and needs.”

“A decade later, we communicate better. We cooperate better. We coordinate better. It is a good story!”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the Watershed Case Profile, click on Watershed Planning & Rainwater Management: Creating the Future in the City of Coquitlam.

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