Mayor Lois Jackson of Delta opens ‘2007 Showcasing Innovation Series’


Metro Vancouver Chair lauds program that celebrates green infrastructure successes

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 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 three events in the 2007 program are:

  • Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Corporation of Delta (September 21)
  • Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Township of Langley (October 5)
  • Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation at UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain (October 19)

Experience shows that intra-region communication among local government practitioners is the exception rather than the rule. According to Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership (and General Manager, Engineering, City of Surrey),  “At the 2005 consultation workshop hosted by the City of Surrey, Greater Vancouver municipalities told us that they wanted to hear firsthand from those who are implementing green infrastructure, and they want to see what it looks like.”

“In response to this need, 2006 was the first year of the Showcasing Innovation Series“, continues Paul Ham, “In Year Two of the program, our aim is to continue promoting region-wide networking and sharing of lessons learned.”

Change the Way Land is Developed

In October 2006, a delegation from the Green  Infrastructure Partnership was invited by Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, Chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now known as Metro Vancouver), to meet with the elected representatives who comprise the Sustainable Region Initiative (SRI) Task Force. For the complete story of that meeting, click on Changing the Way We Develop Land: Design with Nature.

An eventual outcome of the October 2006 meeting was a decision by the Corporation of Delta to host the first event in the 2007 Showcasing Innovation Series.

Mayor lois jackson, gvrd chairMayor Lois Jackson, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board, welcomed attendees at the Delta event: “I really wanted to be here today. The Showcasing Innovation Series is a major priority for me because this is where it happens. Later this morning I will be chairing a meeting of the Metro Vancouver Board, and I will tell them about where I was this morning. And I will get them excited about hosting showcasing events in their municipalities too.” The Mayor’s remarks are reproduced in full below.

Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in Delta

The Delta event was titled Greener Developments, Roadside Rainwater Management and the Urban Forest. To learn more about the program content, please click here. The Delta event had 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 x 10” 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.

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.

Opening Statement by Mayor Lois Jackson, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors

“It was exactly a year ago that I met Paul Ham, Kim Stephens and Ray Fung of the Green Infrastructure Partnership. We talked about the success of the Showcasing Innovation Series as a pilot for the Convening for Action provincial initiative, and how it might help provide an on-the-ground focus for the Sustainable Region Initiative Task Force which I chair.

Delta1_Mayor lois jackson (120p)I remember that first meeting quite clearly. At first I was not sure I understood what was meant when they talked about “green infrastructure” and “celebrating successes”. And then the light went on when I realized they were talking about things like Delta’s sidewalk retrofit strategy and our program for transforming ditches into landscaped amenities that beautify roadways – projects that you will be hearing about from Hugh Fraser and Sarah Howie this morning and then visiting this afternoon.

I remember saying “now I get it!” – the point being 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.’ And before you know it, the ball is rolling and the landscape is changing for the better. This is the essence of what Nancy McLean and Frank van Manen will be telling you when they explain our Urban Forest Strategy and Delta’s vision to create a sustainable Olympic legacy by planting 20,100 trees by 2010.

Council is also very proud of what Marcy Sangret has accomplished with the Sustainable Template for Development, and we’d just love to share our “lessons learned” with other municipalities.

The Corporation of Delta is excited to be the host for the first event in the 2007 Showcasing Innovation Series. And I am excited to report that last year’s pilot program spawned a Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island Series. Starting today, and then every Friday for six consecutive weeks, there will be alternating events on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver.

Clearly, this program is resonating with local government. No other forum provides us with the same kind of opportunity to “tell our stories”. It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing.  This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask what will this community look like in 50 years, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years.”

Delta5_New way of thinking

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