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Convening for Action in Lower Mainland

CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “The Township is a living demonstration of adaptive management in action,” wrote Kim Stephens in the Watershed Case Profile released by Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (October 2017)


The phrase ‘Convening for Action’ means use what we have learned so that we can take action and make a difference in our professional lives to change the way we develop land. “The essence of the adaptive approach is to ‘learn by doing’ and to change direction when there is a better way,” explained Kim Stephens. “The Township has done that, and has gone full circle a number of times in adapting green infrastructure innovation in successive neighbourhoods.”

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Site development is integrated. The components inform design,” explained Dave Cocking, Manager of the Township’s Green Infrastructure Services Department


“Our integrated process results in a better community,” stated Dave Cocking. “The infrastructure we build today is integrated. We recognize that each part is a component of the whole. We strive to make all the parts work together without compromising any component. Working together, we are solving community design issues. We have a shared goal – improve the community and provide amenities. This requires integrated thinking.”

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “Langley is planning neighbourhoods based on catchment areas. This means managing each as a system,” stated Al Neufeld, the Township’s Manager of Parks Administration


“Creating a dedicated group within Community Development meant we could focus on innovation regarding green approaches to neighbourhood development,” explained Al Neufeld. “Through the community and neighbourhood planning process, multidisciplinary teams collaborate in Neighbourhood Technical Teams to integrate the landscape architecture, planning and engineering perspectives.”

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “There has been an evolution in our thinking and in our approach as successive neighbourhoods have been developed,” says Yolanda Leung, the Township’s Landscape Design Coordinator int the Green Infrastructure Services Department


“Building on a history of successes, we are now implementing what the Township describes as blue links,” stated Yolanda Leung. “A driver for this ongoing evolution is the incorporation of habitat compensation for the fisheries resource. We are learning by doing. In this way, we refine expectations for the finished product. The designs are more refined and the level of coordination for rain garden design and construction has improved.”

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “Whole –system thinking is part of our culture,” stated Kevin Larsen, Manager of Water Resources & Environment


Asset management has traditionally been about hard engineered assets such as waterlines, sanitary and storm sewers. Kevin Larsen recognizes that watershed systems are also ‘infrastructure assets’. “The Township is implementing a life-cycle approach to valuing and managing our hard engineered assets,” stated Kevin Larsen. A future next step would be to extend the life-cycle approach to include valuation of the services provided by watershed systems.

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “Langley is unique in that DFO approved the water balance strategy at a neighbourhood scale for each of Routley, Yorkson and Northeast Gordon,” stated Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority, Partnership for Water Sustainability


The Township was one of the first municipalities to apply the Water Balance Methodology. Three neighbourhoods established successive provincial precedents that informed the evolution of the methodology. “DFO approval meant that design standards were applied uniformly across each neighbourhood. This was a time-saver for everyone. The approach resulted in consistency of implementation,” stated Jim Dumont.

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CREATING THE FUTURE IN THE TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY: “Patrick Condon inspired me to think about HOW to implement a vision that would be self-fulfilling and self-sustaining over time,” stated Ramin Seifi, the Township’s General Manager for both Engineering & Community Development


“The adaptive process for implementing green infrastructure is ongoing. Each time we learn. We strive to find better ways to mimic nature and protect the natural water balance in Langley’s watersheds,” stated Ramin Seifi. “But the public does not see integration. This means the next step is to educate the community as a whole so that everyone understands the importance of green infrastructure and protecting the water cycle. Buy-in has to be from everyone.”

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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


There are a lot of good things happening throughout Metro Vancouver. Because people are so busy in their own world, it takes a third party to connect them. That was the role the Green Infrastructure Partnership played in organizing the 2007 Showcasing Innovation Series. The goal was a simple one: build regional capacity. “Learning is achieved through conversations that take place when we are in the field,” observed Ray Fung, “So it is very interactive.”

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DESIGN WITH NATURE: North Shore Streamkeepers action plan focuses on “what we can do” to encourage local governments to implement effective rainwater management and protect streams on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore mountainside


“Community input has confirmed that we can work together to reduce the impact of stormwater on our communities and creeks. A consistent theme was that there are a lot of good things being done but it is time for ‘the next step’,” stated Glen Parker. ” Modified sewer/drainage taxes will motivate property owners to manage their stormwater and/or provide resources for our communities to manage it for them.”

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DOWNLOADABLE BACKGROUNDER: Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks-What Can Streamkeepers Do? (released in March 2017)


“The stewardship community can work with local governments to inform the broader community,” stated Zo Ann Morten. “We can open eyes and minds. We can open doors so that together we can make the changes necessary to achieve a vision for a watershed. It is the streamkeepers who have the on-the-ground knowledge needed to establish restoration priorities within a watershed. That is the key to benefiting from local input.”

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