CONVENING FOR ACTION IN METRO VANCOUVER: “Chuck Gale brought instant credibility as chair because of his stature among local governments and with the Province,” recalls Ray Fung, a retired Director of Engineering in local government, and former Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership

Note to Reader:

Published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on May 14, 2024 featured Ray Fung, a Past-Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership in British Columbia. In the 2000s, the Green Infrastructure Partnership played a prominent role in leading changes in local government attitudes in the Metro Vancouver region. Between 1996 and 2020, Ray Fung sat at several local government regional tables in Metro Vancouver. This lived experience provides context for his reflections.



Green Infrastructure Innovation in BC

“A confluence of events and circumstances brought a mix of key players together in 2003. It was a teachable year because of the impact of drought, forest fires and floods on public consciousness,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“This was a once in a generation reachable moment because minds were open and receptive to the message, we must do better.”

“Between 1996 and 2020, Ray Fung sat at several local government regional tables in Metro Vancouver. During this period, he followed in the footsteps of Chuck Gale and Paul Ham and served as chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership from 2008 until 2010.”



When the right people are in the right place at the right time…

“Without the vision and initial leadership provided by Chuck Gale, there would have been no Green Infrastructure Partnership. It is that simple. Relationships are key too.”

“In the 1990s, Chuck Gale was a mentor for both Ray Fung and me. Those two had a history of intergovernmental collaboration with Dale Wall, then an Assistant Deputy Minister.”

“As a City Engineer for three Metro Vancouver municipalities over the course of his career, Chuck Gale was known by many as “Mr. Sustainability”. He was an early adopter and a leading voice in the municipal engineering community. He was the driving force behind formation of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.”

“He was also Chair of the Master Municipal Construction Documents Association (MMCD) from its inception in 1995 until he retired from local government in 2004. He wore his  MMCD hat as founding chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.”



Design With Nature: call to action to walk the talk for sustainable community design 

“Chuck was standing at the back of the room as I co-presented “Design With Nature” at the 2003 Annual Convention of the Union of BC Municipalities. It caught my attention that he was beaming,” continued Kim Stephens.

“Chuck rushed up to me afterwards and said, we must talk about how to move this idea forward. The stars were aligning. Ray Fung had succeeded me as Chair of the BC Water Sustainability Committee. He had proposed that “green infrastructure” be a priority under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC.”

“Within a few months, a steering committee was in place and the Green Infrastructure Partnership was a core element of the Action Plan when it was released in February 2004. The rest is history, as they say!”



Peer-based learning builds practitioner confidence to innovate

“The mechanism employed by the Green Infrastructure Partnership for facilitating change in the Metro Vancouver region was peer-based learning combined with a top-down and bottom-up approach. This built confidence to innovate.”

“For high-level context about the Georgia Basin Initiative as a driver, the curious reader is reminded to read previous stories featuring former cabinet minister Joan Sawicki and Dale Wall, a former deputy minister of municipal affairs.”

“The three stories are interconnected and cascading, reveal layers of insightful detail, and illustrate how the rich legacy of the Georgia Basin Initiative continues to ripple through time,” concluded Kim Stephens.


To read the complete story, download a copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Metro Vancouver region.