FLASHBACK TO 2014: Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC recognized City of North Vancouver as a Champion Supporter and celebrated the accomplishments of staff

Note to Reader:

The Champion Supporter category of membership is the way in which the Partnership for Water Sustainability formally recognizes agencies and organizations that are playing a leadership role in assisting the Partnership with implementation of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

On October 20, 2014 the Partnership’s Executive Director (Kim Stephens) presented Mayor and Council of the City of North Vancouver with a framed “letter of recognition” because the City is a leader by example in the Metro Vancouver region.


About the City of North Vancouver

The City of North Vancouver is a waterfront municipality on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, directly across from Vancouver,British Columbia. It is the smallest of the three North Shore municipalities.

North Van City_location mapCompact and fully urbanized, the City of North Vancouver is a community of 48,000 people that is undergoing redevelopment to higher density land use. It is a case study illustration of how a “design with nature” ethic has taken root in local government in British Columbia. Redevelopment creates opportunities to build a greener community, live water smart and adapt to a changing climate.

City of North Van_view from Harbour Air_June 2014_2000p

Making the Connection between Storm Drains and Stream Health

“On the North Shore, people are passionate about their creeks. Protection of salmon habitat and stream health is important to us,” states Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “Yet not everyone recognizes and understands the connection between our actions on the land and the impacts on fish habitat.”Mayor_Darrell Mussatto 2014_trimmed_120p

“Several years ago, I prepared a slideshow that featured catch basins and Wagg Creek. Then I met with a number of community groups. First, I would show the photos of the catch basins. ‘Do you know where the road runoff goes after it enters the storm drain system?’ I would ask my audiences. Often, there would be a lot of blank looks in the room.”

“Then I would show the photos of Wagg Creek. This is where the water goes and look at the consequences, I would say. Seeing images of erosion and channel bank instability would get audience attention. Light bulbs would go on. A common response would be: ‘I had no idea, but now I get it’. Once they saw the images, they understood cause and effect. After that, the next realization was understanding that we all can make a difference by designing with nature. The change starts with rain gardens.”

“A single rain garden will not make a material difference to conditions in Wagg Creek. But 1000 rain gardens would be a different story. These will take time to implement. The process will be incremental.”

“Restoring stream health requires a long-term commitment from the community, successive Councils and City staff. Yes, we can turn the situation around over time,” concludes Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

Kim Stephens (L) presents framed “letter of recognition” to Mayor Darrell Mussatto (R)

City of North Vancouver is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

“It is a pleasure to meet with Council; and it is a pleasure to come with good news The reason that I am here is that the City of North Vancouver is one of the founding members of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, and I am here to talk about rainwater management and watershed sustainability,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, after being welcomed by Mayor Darrell Mussatto.Kim Stephens_Halifax_Nov2014_v2_120p

“The Partnership is pleased to recognize the City of North Vancouver as one of our Champion Supporters. The City’s long-term commitment is helping the Partnership advance the vision for achieving watershed sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices.”

“Local governments learn from each other and progress through sharing of case study experience. Two weeks ago, we released the third in the series of Watershed Case Profiles. This is the City of North Vancouver rain garden story. By telling the stories of those who are spearheading changes in practice, this helps other local governments eliminate the disconnect between information and implementation. Your story is a really important story.”

Recognition of City Staff:

1TonyBarber_120pPresentation of the “letter of recognition” to Mayor and Council provided the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of City staff, notably Tony Barber. He retired in 2013 as Manager, Engineering Planning and Design. Tony Barber was the staff champion whose passion and commitment made the City’s rain garden program a reality.

Queen Mary Rain Garden

Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens:
Creating the Future in the City of North Vancouver

“A French documentary crew came to BC this summer because they wanted to learn about the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” Kim Stephens informed Council. “The director said ‘can you show me a rain garden?’, and that is how we wound up filming at the City’s Queen Mary Rain Garden.”

“The theme for Episode #3 in the television series is ‘what can be done’. And that is where your rain garden story has relevance and importance….because it is more than just about building a rain garden.”

Doug Pope_City of North Van_120p“When Kim Stephens asked for the City’s assistance in hosting the French film crew, we were happy to help out,” reports Doug Pope, City Engineer.

“It was a great opportunity for us to showcase what the City’s ‘design with nature’ approach to rainwater management looks like on the ground. We immediately decided that it would be best to take the film crew to the Queen Mary Rain Garden. This is our flagship project.”

“By all accounts, the Queen Mary location provided a memorable setting for the water documentary. On a sunny day in summer, a rain garden looks just like a garden. A crew from the City’s fire department made the day memorable for our visitors by providing a supply of water. Then they were able to film the rain garden in action. We fully expect to see the fire truck featured prominently in the documentary!”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the accompanying PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context: The City of North Vancouver is a Leader by Example (1.7 MB).

To download a PDF copy of North Vancouver’s story, click on Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens: Creating the Future in the City of North Vancouver.

To download a copy of the “letter of recognition”, click on Staff Report to Council.

Back row: Councillor Craig Keating, Councillor Linda Buchanan, Councillor Guy Heywood, Councillor Rod Clark Front row: Councillor Don Bell, Mayor Darrell Mussatto, Councillor Pam Bookham

City of North Van_Rainwater Management & Rain Gardens_Oct-2014_cover