CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “The Showcasing Innovation Series is a building block process – each time the objective is to raise the bar when celebrating successes in municipalities,” stated Ray Fung, representing the Green Infrastructure Partnership, when he explained the series vision in 2007

Note to Reader:

Langley_Green-Infrastructure-Innovation_Oct-2017_cover_500pThe Langley Township story is the fifth in a series of Watershed Blueprint Case Profiles published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability.

The series showcases and celebrates successes and long-term ‘good work’ in the local government setting.

The purpose of the series is to inform and facilitate inter-regional collaboration in the Georgia Basin. 

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.

Langley_location map2

2007 Showcasing Innovation in the Township of Langley

“The showcasing concept was an outcome from a local government consultation workshop organized by the Green Infrastructure Partnership in May 2005,” wrote Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director and author of Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township, released in October 2017.

Kim Stephens_IMG_5367_May2017_120p“Metro Vancouver municipalities said that they wanted to hear firsthand from those who are implementing green infrastructure, and they wanted to see what it looks like.

“The series enabled local governments to tell their stories in a way that no other forum could provide. It encouraged a sense of pride.

Harmony and Integration

“The Township of Langley was a co-host for Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Metro Vancouver: The 2007 Series.”

“Titled Harmony and Integration, the Langley event in October 2007 showcased what could be accomplished with large-scale projects when Council, the community and staff are in alignment and embrace a ‘green culture’.”

2007 Showcasing Program:

Case Study 1 – Langley’s GHG Strategy: The Township’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan plots a corporate course for sustainability.  The plan set an aggressive target for reducing Green House Gas emissions.  Initiatives included a LEED-silver Civic Facility, involvement in the E3 fleet certification program, and an anti-idling campaign.

Case Study 2 – Protecting Langley’s Groundwater: The Township relies on groundwater for almost half of its drinking water supply, making it and the City of White Rock unique amongst Metro Vancouver municipalities. This reliance has made groundwater sustainability a top priority: initiatives included the Water Resource Management Strategy, a Township-wide groundwater model, and a Water Management Plan done in partnership with the Province.

Case Study 3 – Integrated Rainwater Management; Harmony & Integration: The Routley, Yorkson and Northeast Gordon neighbourhood communities illustrated how a ‘water-centric’ approach was changing the way that land is developed in Langley. The plans for these neighbourhoods demonstrated not only integration of surface and groundwater (i.e. to protect water supply), but also integration of engineering and parks to enhance liveability.

Case Study 4 – Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS): The society has a close working relationship with the Township.  This partnership has led to many successful outreach and awareness programs such as WaterWise, the Private Well Network, and Water Weeks.  These programs are critical for maintaining public support and encouraging public participation in Langley’s sustainability initiatives.

SHOWCASING FORMAT: First, the project preview. Then, the site visit.

SHOWCASING FORMAT: First, the project preview. Then, the site visit.

Green Infrastructure Partnership Perspective

Ray Fung, Manager of Utilities for the District of West Vancouver, spoke on behalf of Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.

Ray at Eagle Lake_2008_120pIn his overview remarks at the 2007 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation event, Ray Fung highlighted how the Green Infrastructure Partnership was collaborating with local governments at that time to provide a unique forum for them to tell their stories.

“All of us have attended workshops, seminars and conferences where we simply sit and listen all day. And at the end of the day, we go back to our offices and we carry on doing what we were doing,” he stated.

Convening for action…when we are convening in a forum such as the Showcasing Innovation Series, however, it is not just for the sake of listening. Rather, when we leave the forum  we want to use what we have learned so that we can take action and make a difference in our professional lives. That difference is to change the way we develop land.

“Design with nature,” emphasized Ray Fung.

A ‘design with nature’ to community design means….

“When we refer to designing with nature, we are borrowing from Ian McHarg and the title of his 1969 book,” Ray Fung explained, “We are consistent with what McHarg intended in terms of ecological planning and letting the landscape inform development.

“In practical terms, what designing with nature means…is essentially a restatement of Smart Growth principles. What we have found is that the term Smart Growth is sometimes highly charged and political. People often get their backs up because they associate ‘smart growth’ as being all about imposing higher density development.

“We find that people intuitively understand what designing with nature means. It is non-threatening,” concluded Ray Fung.

Showcasing of green infrastructure innovation in Langley Township, 2007

Showcasing of green infrastructure innovation in Langley Township, 2007

To Learn More:

To read the complete story, download a copy of the Watershed Case Profile. Click on Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township, released in October 2017.

The Table of Contents below is a synopsis. It distills the essence of each section into a succinct statement. These create a storyline. Readers are asked to pause and reflect on them before reading the story itself.

Langley_Table of Contents