World class innovation at Southeast False Creek informs Metro Vancouver Reference Panel
Sustainable Region Vision
Appointed by the Metro Vancouver Regional Board in April 2008 to provide independent review and recommendations on the Liquid Waste Management Plan update, the Liquid Waste Management Reference Panel is a community advisory group that brings expert knowledge and relevant experience in liquid waste/resource and rainwater management.
“The strategies and actions in the Liquid Waste Management Plan will have an impact on Metro Vancouver’s sustainability for generations to come,” observes Kim Stephens, Reference Panel Chair. “Hence, it is important to link those actions to a picture of a desired outcome that will inspire people to strive for constant improvement – this is what we want our region to look like, and this is how we will get there.”
“The desired outcome can be achieved by managing sewage and rainwater as resources, not waste,” adds Susan Rutherford, a non-governmental organization representative on the Reference Panel. “The Liquid Waste Management Plan is a powerful regulatory tool because it enables Metro Vancouver municipalities to integrate community design with desired outcomes at a regional scale and individual actions at a site scale.”
The Goal: Improve the Natural Environment
The Reference Panel has identified five theme areas that it believes must be integrated if Metro Vancouver is to shift from the current practice of managing waste to one that values all its resources; these theme areas are: Natural Environment, Built Environment, Sewage Treatment, Financing and Implementation. As part of the process of completing its due diligence regarding strategies and actions in the Draft Plan, the Reference Panel has visited Metro Vancouver sewage treatment plants and green developments at the University of British Columbia, at Southeast False Creek, and at several locations within the City of Vancouver.
Southeast False Creek
In April 2009, the Reference Panel toured the Southeast False Creek (SEFC) project, which includes the Olympic Village development. This will showcase some of BC’s most innovative engineering on one unique site.
Southeast False Creek will be a leading model of sustainability in North America, incorporating forward-thinking infrastructure, strategic energy reduction, high-performance buildings and easy transit access.
The development, planned during the early 90s as a model and futuristic community, includes three focal areas: a neighborhood energy utility (NEU) that will use raw sewage to generate heat, engineering expertise in the village buildings and surrounding area, and, finally, the reclamation of a former industrial area into a stunning pedestrian and bicycle path with a nature island. The Official Development Plan was enacted in July 2005.