Greener Developments, Roadside Rainwater Management and the Urban Forest in Delta, BC




Municipality hosts first in 2007 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series

The Corporation of Delta is the host municipality for the first of three events in the 2007 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series. The Delta event will celebrate success stories that are changing standard municipal practice today, and will ripple through time in creating cumulative benefits.

2007 showcasing series - program goal (slide#10)


Climate Change Initiative

This is a time of innovation, and The Corporation of Delta is moving forward systematically in a number of areas. Climate change provides an over-arching frame-of-reference for adaptation / mitigation strategies and plans that will make a material difference over time.

“This is an opportune time for Delta with respect to sustainable practices given growing community awareness”, notes Ian Radnidge, Director of Engineering for Delta, “Our new Climate Change Initiative, sets out a strategy to reduce Delta’s vulnerability and contribution to climate change through a series of individual action plans, the format of which is unique amongst municipalities.  The action plans focus on reducing energy consumption and waste generation, adaptation strategies, and education programs.” 


Scope of Delta Showcasing Program

On September 21, The Corporation of Delta will report out on current green infrastructure initiatives and will share lessons learned in striving for a vision. The presentations cover four theme areas:

  • A checklist of environmental, social and economic elements has evolved into a Sustainable Template for Development
  • Within the engineering department, Delta added a landscape designer to the engineering design team to assist with incorporating BMP technologies into landscaped amenities that beautify roadways.
  • A unique partnership has established a template for involving the municipality, schools and a neighbourhood in creating community rain gardens to protect the health of  downstream creeks.
  • The slogan ”2010 x10″ has taken on a life of its own as Delta has mobilized the community to create a truly sustainable Olympic legacy by planting 20,100 trees by 2010.

For program and registration details, please click on this link to download Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in The Corporation of Delta.


Sustainable Template for Development

Council adopted a set of sustainability principles at the start of the development process for the 40-hectatre Delsom Estates development. These principles evolved 1Delta - sunstone signinto a checklist that became the Sustainable Template for Development. For more on this initiative, click on  The Delsom Development in Delta, British Columbia: A Case Study for the Sustainable Template.

According to Marcy Sangret, Environmental Planning and Agricultural Manager, “In terms of lessons learned, one of the key messages is the role that tradeoffs played in response to public input. The outcome was not perfect, but we established a precedent. An element of the Climate Change Initiative is to determine how we can apply the Sustainable Template to other development projects.”


Landscape-based Solutions to Rainwater Management

Delta is being proactive in taking responsibility for implementing landscape-based solutions that will better manage the rainwater falling on roadways, parks and other municipal lands. About one-third of the urban landscape is covered by road rights-of-way. This creates opportunities to capture a substantial portion of the rain where it falls.

For more on this initiative, click on

 Delta Embraces Green Infrastructure to Resolve Problems and Create Amenities.

“Delta has a vision for infiltrating rainwater runoff into the ground, where possible, rather than just ditch and convey” reports Hugh Fraser, Deputy Director of Engineering, “Our first step was to develop some alternative concepts. Then we hired a landscape designer, Sarah Howie, to work with the engineers and technologists to improve our streetscapes. The third step was to build projects to show what can be done.”


8Delta - streetscape beautification


Cougar Canyon Elementary School Rain Garden

Cougar Creek is Delta’s primary salmon-bearing stream. This provided the driver for galvanizing the local community to protect stream health through a watershed improvement feature. The project involved creation of a rain garden to infiltrate runoff from the parking lot at Cougar Canyon Elementary School.

For more on this initiative, click on

Cougar Canyon Rain Garden in Delta, British Columbia: A Community Project.

According to Deborah Jones of the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers, “The unique 7Delta - deborah jones (120pixels)aspect of this project was the extent of the collaboration in beautifying the urban landscape through creation of a community rain garden. A key to creating a stewardship ethic is getting school children involved early in making a difference, and then sustaining that ethic so that the pilot projects of today become the standard practices of tomorrow.”

“Our vision is that Cougar Canyon will be the template for other local projects and schools to also implement rain garden / BMP projects that establish the connection between what we do on the land and what happens in downstream creeks”, adds Sarah Howie of The Corporation of Delta, “It is now a matter of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.”


The Urban Forest – Planning for Climate Change

James Urban, David Nowak, Greg Ward, Frank Van Manen, Bill Granger, Bill Wilde…All have contributed to Delta’s Urban Forestry environmental education efforts.

Delta’s Urban Forester, Frank Van Manen, has a unique perspective on trees’ effects on the community. Both as a resident and an arborist, he asks, “What does it mean that trees were planted to commemorate an event in the past? Aren’t they like the cornerstones of a building saying what we have done and what we hope to achieve?”

6Delta-tree planting (180p)Planting trees today is a heritage act in itself, with consequences not only today but also far into the future. The implications of tree planting in mitigating climate change are significant to the future of a community. Providing sufficient soil to establish trees is the essence of successful planting programs:  Brown makes green, as James Urban aptly notes.

Mayor Lois Jackson’s proclamation of Arbor Day in Delta years ago started a campaign to plant thousands of trees on public lands. The 2010 X 10 tree-planting project is the impetus to create connectivity with wildlife corridors, parks, roads, 5Delta_gatewayand highways. Landscape architect and planner Nancy McLean aspires to educate staff, fellow professionals, and the community at large on the environmental value of trees and the benefits of creating an “urban quilt” of wildlife corridors and patches of green.

For the complete story, click on

The Urban Forest: Planning for Climate Change in Delta, British Columbia

To download a copy of Delta’s Urban Forest Management Plan, please click here.


Event Registration

For program and registration details for the September 21 event, please click on this link to download Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in The Corporation of Delta.

What bc could look like (with border)


What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Vocabulary

There is a plethora of ‘green’ vocabulary that we now hear on a daily basis. To develop a common understanding plus help advance a new way-of-thinking about land development, the Green Infrastructure Partnership is promoting use of the following hierarchy of ‘green’ vocabulary:

  • Green Value means land use strategies will accommodate settlement needs in practical ways while protecting the ecological resources upon which communities depend. At the heart of a Green Valueapproach is the valuation methodology that provides the business case for reconciliation of short-term versus long-term thinking related to risk and profit.
  • Design with Nature is one approach to achieve Green Value, and is supportive of community goals that relate to building social capacity.Design with nature (320pixels) 
  • Green Infrastructure is the on-the-ground application of Design with Nature standards and practices.
  • Water Sustainability is achieved through Green Infrastructure practices that reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water.

This cascading vocabulary was unveiled at the Creating Our Future Workshop that was held in conjunction with the Gaining Ground Summit in Victoria in June 2007. The Creating Our Future Workshop was a consultation opportunity for Vancouver Island local governments that are interested in implementing infrastructure practices and regulation that result in green value.


Green Infrastructure Explained

Green infrastructure is associated with the management of water that runs off the land and how water runoff impacts on the sustainability of both terrestrial and aquatic habitat and resources.

Green infrastructure is also associated with how water is used and how water use impacts on the sustainability of water supply.

Desired outcomes for water sustainability and green infrastructure can be achieved through infrastructure standards that reflect a full and proper understanding of the relationship between land and water.


Posted September  2007