Green Infrastructure on Vancouver Island: City of Langford turns the sustainability corner
Westhills Green Community
“Langford is a burgeoning Victoria suburb in which the development spectrum is famously broad, from big box stores to ''signature'' golf courses. It may, sometime soon, generate another reputation: for sustainable development,” writes Suzanne Morphet in a feature article published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on July 4, 2009.
“The 6,000-home 'village' of Westhills will offer residents not just a place to live and play, but will offer places to work, go to school and shop….Perhaps most notably, Westhills will be based on LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Traditional Neighbourhood Design (TND) standards.”
Westhills is British Columbia's largest LEED-Neighbourhood Development pilot project. The project features heat recovery from wastewater; and 'purple pipes' for a non-potable water system that can supply irrigation and toilet flushing needs. It is reported that the Westhills system may achieve reductions in potable water use greater than 40%, with a similar energy use reduction.
Parkdale Creek Subdivision
“The first subdivision is known as Parkdale Creek and its 71 detached and duplex units are being developed in three phases. While green may be the colour of the day, affordability is key to any development since the stock market meltdown of 2008.”
“Part of the answer, at least in Parkdale Creek is incorporating rental suites within some of the single family homes and over the garages of others.” To learn more, click on the first Westhills subdivision is called Parkdale Creek.
2008 Showcasing Innovation Series
In 2008, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI) collaborated with the Capital Regional District and the Green Infrastructure Partnership to present Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Capital Region: The 2008 Series. The second in the series was hosted by the City of Langford. The City collaborated with the Westhills development team to showcase the Westhills Green Community.
The focus of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the City of Langford was on how to create neighbourhoods that integrate both good planning and innovative engineering designs, for overall greater sustainability, that is: environmental, social and economic.
Previous Stories About Westhills
Six web stories published on Water Bucket elaborate on the program content for Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the City of Langford. From the last to the first to be published, the six are listed below:
CONVENING FOR ACTION COI: Convening for Action in the City of Langford: Transforming the Community – Integrated Service Delivery — The Making of Westhills Green Community – Creating a Community in the Fullest Sense
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COI: Westhills Neighbourhood in the City of Langford: Creating a Community in the Fullest Sense — Westhills is a Canadian pilot for LEED Neighbourhood Development
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COI: The Making of Westhills Green Community on Vancouver Island —- City of Langford showcases a new standard for development in the West Shore of the Capital Region
CONVENING FOR ACTION COI: Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the City of Langford: Transforming the Community — City of Langford hosts second of three showcasing events in the 2008 Vancouver Island Series organized by CAVI
CONVENING FOR ACTION COI: “2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series on Vancouver Island” features community-scale projects — Series builds on 2007 Georgia Basin program successes to demonstrate what “The New Business As Usual” means
CONVENING FOR ACTION COI: Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2008 Capital Region Series — CAVI announces partnership with CRD to deliver program that builds capacity for Climate Change Adaptation
Learn by Doing
At the heart of the City’s approach to innovation is its corporate philosophy for managing risk, learning by doing, and adapting quickly to new information and changing circumstances. “A corporate culture that is willing to accept and then manage risk with regards to infrastructure standards can open the door to creativity, innovation – and its rewards,” states Mayor Stewart Young. “Langford has a tradition of adapting quickly to new information and changing circumstances.”
At Showcasing Innovation, rainwater management was one of the examples used by City Engineer John Manson to illustrate the Langford approach to “learn by doing”. The City was an early proponent of rainwater infiltration – in fact, its Subdivision Bylaw calls for 100% on-site rainwater management. Furthermore, the Langford experience serves as a case study application of how to implement Adaptive Management as envisioned in Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.
To learn more about what John Manson had to say about rainwater management in general and infiltration in particular, click on City of Langford subdivision bylaw requires 100% infiltration to achieve rainwater management objectives.
According to John Finnie, CAVI Chair (and General Manager, Water & Wastewater Services, Regional District of Nanaimo), “The goal of the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series is to promote networking, inform and educate practitioners, and help local governments move ‘from awareness to action’ in doing business differently — The New Business As Usual — through sharing of approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned that will ultimately inform a pragmatic strategy for climate change adaptation.”
Posted July 2009