Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series in Metro Vancouver launched in Delta



Delta5_New way of thinking

First of three events highlights the importance of small-scale projects in achieving the big picture

The projected growth of the Metro Vancouver region and resulting cumulative impacts are drivers for reassessing how land is developed and water is used. To promote a new way-of-thinking related to infrastructure policies and practices, The Green Infrastructure Partnership has organized Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Greater Vancouver: The 2007 Series.

The Showcasing Innovation Series comprises three one-day events. Each is structured as presentations in the morning and a tour of project sites in the afternoon.

The goal in showcasing innovation and celebrating successes is to promote networking, build regional capacity, and move ‘from awareness to action’ – through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned as an outcome of  designing with nature. To learn more, click on Design with Nature to Enhance the Builit Environment.



Showcasing Innovation in Delta

The first event in the series of three was co-hosted by The Corporation of Delta on September 21. “The Showcasing Innovation Series creates pride and enables local governments to tell their stories in a way that no other forum currently provides,” APEGBC - kim stephens -june 2006 (120p)observes Kim Stephens, Series organizer and event Moderator, and Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

“The Showcasing Series is a regional pilot program that is being implemented by the Green Infrastructure Partnership under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” adds Stephens.

The Delta event attracted over 60 people, including a contingent from as far away as Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. The diverse audience was comprised of representatives from Metro Vancouver, thirteen municipalities, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a half-dozen private sector organizations, and several non-government organizations. Included in the audience were senior managers and on-the-ground practitioners.

To read a story that provides a comprehensive overview of the program design for ‘Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in The Corporation of Delta’, please click here.


The Delta Program

The Delta event was titled Greener Developments, Roadside Rainwater Management and the Urban Forest. The core program comprised a set of four case study presentations that described Delta’s green infrastructure initiatives and lessons learned. Please click on the links below to access the PowerPoint slideshow for each case study:

To download a copy of a handout that contains program information for the Showcasing Innovation Series, the Delta agenda, and other pertinent information relating to the Green Infrastructure Partnership and the Water Sustainability Action Plan…please click on this link to Delta Showcasing Innovation Handout.


Setting the Context

Mayor Lois Jackson, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board, welcomed attendees at the Delta1A_Mayor lois jacksonDelta event. In her opening statement, Mayor Jackson observed that “…when you have examples of what can be done, and projects are being built, you can then wrap your mind around the green infrastructure vision and say to yourself: “what’s the big deal….this is really common sense….if we can do this, then we can do more.” To read the complete text of her remarks, please click here.

Delta2_Paul ham (120p)According to Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership (and General Manager, Engineering, City of Surrey), “Experience shows that intra-region communication among local government practitioners is the exception rather than the rule. The Showcasing Innovation Series creates opportunities to have conversations where learning takes place.”

In his context remarks, Paul Ham provided an historical overview of how the Showcasing Innovation Series was an outcome of a 2005 Consultation Workshop hosted by the City of Surrey. He reported that the 2006 pilot program in Metro Vancouver has spawned a Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island Series.

“For six consecutive Fridays in September/October, there are alternating events on Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver,” stated Paul Ham.

To download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Paul Ham, please click on this link to Convening for Action to Change the Way We Develop Land: Design with Nature.

Stops on Field Tour

The field trip portion of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in The Corporation of Delta comprised five stops and a number of ‘drive-bys’. Please click on this link to Delta Showcasing Innovation Tour Map  to find where these stops of interest are located. The feature location was the Community Rain Garden at Cougar Canyon Elementary School. The other four stops were:

  • The 86 Avenue swale
  • Delsom Estates / 108 Avenue parking lot improvements
  • Huff Boulevard comunity plantings
  • Evergreen Lane parking lot

“Experience shows that the site tour creates those unplanned moments for spontaneous and effective sharing of knowledge and lessons learned,” observes Kim Stephens, “We also find that the presentations in the morning serve to whet the appetite of the audience, and people then seek out the one-on-one opportunities to have a conversation on the bus. It is then that the real learning takes place.”

Delta8 - group scene on the bus tour


Case Study 1 – Delsom Estates Development Sustainability Template

The set of sustainability principles adopted by Council for the Delsom Estates Development that evolved into a checklist that became the Sustainable Template for Development. In her presentation, An element of Delta’s Climate Change Initiative is to determine how the municipality can apply the Sustainability Template to other projects. For an earlier story  on this initiative, click on The Delsom Development in Delta, British Columbia: A Case Study for the Sustainable Template. To download a copy of the checklist, please click on this link to Delsom Sustainabiltiy Template.

Marcy Sangret placed emphasis on the progression from a checklist…to a commitment…to implementation. To download a copy of her PowerPoint presentation, please click on this link to Delsom Estates Development Sustainability Template

Case Study 2 – Rainwater Management Landscape-Based Solutions

Delta has some 500 kilometres of roadways, and has embarked upon a long-term program to systematically and incrementally improve the urban landscape. The vision is to enhance community livability by beautifying streets, one block at a time. For an earlier story on this initiative, click on Delta Embraces Green Infrastructure to Resolve Problems and Create Amenities.

Hugh Fraser and Sarah Howie provided the engineering and landscape architecture perspectives, respectively, on the simple measures that can completely change the character of a street. To download a copy of their PowerPoint co-presentation, please click on this link to Rainwater Management Landscape-Based Solutions


Case Study 3 – 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 creation of a rain garden to infiltrate runoff from the parking lot at Cougar Canyon Elementary School. For an earlier story on this initiative, click on  Cougar Canyon Rain Garden in Delta, British Columbia: A Community Project.

Sarah Howie and Deborah Jones provided the local government and community activist perspectives, respectively, to explain how this unique project came to fruition. To download a copy of the two-part PowerPoint co-presentation, please click on these links to Cougar Canyon Rain Garden  and  Step-by-Step to a Successful Rain Garden.


Case Study 4 –  The Urban Forest – Planning for Climate Change

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, and highways.For a previous story about this initiative, click on The Urban Forest: Planning for Climate Change in Delta, British Columbia.

Frank van Manen and Nancy McLean told the story of how a series of letters to the editor of the local newspaper got the ball rolling, and how this resulted in a vision for an ‘urban quilt’ comprising patches of green. To download a copy of their PowerPoint co-presentation, please click on this link to The Urban Forest – Planning for Climate Change 

Delta6 - former premier bill vander zam (120 p)A special guest for this segment of the program was Bill Zander Zam, former Premier of British Columbia (from 1986 through 1991). He was the letter writer whose call for action struck a chord with Nancy McLean and led her to pick up the phone and ask: “Okay, together how can we make the Green Gateway happen?”



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.


Green Infrastructure Partnership

The mission of the Green Infrastructure Partnership is to provide leadership and encourage others to implement ‘design with nature’ design practices and regulation province-wide. Implementation by local governments will be voluntary, but once the decision is made to embrace green infrastructure, implementation will need clearly defined standards.

Green infrastructure partnership - logo (may2007 version)

Posted September 2007