FLASHBACK TO 2004: City of Courtenay established a precedent when it was the first BC municipality to adopt and implement a ‘Soil Depth Policy’ for rainwater management



Capturing Rain Where It Falls

The projected growth of Vancouver Island and resulting cumulative impacts are drivers for reassessing where and how land is developed, and water is used.

Courtenay’s Soil Depth Policy

The City of Courtenay’s Soil Depth Policy was one of four case studies featured as part of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Comox Valley in October 2007. The event was co-hosted by the Comox Strathcona Reglonal District and the City of Courtenay. The theme for the event was ‘Connecting to Sustainability’.

Courtenay - an aerial viewThe City of Courtenay was the first BC municipality to adopt a policy requiring developers to provide a minimum soil depth on building sites as a rainwater management tool.

The policy was adopted in January 2004 immediately after the City became a founding member of the Inter-Governmental Partnership that developed the Water Balance Model for British Columbia.

Kevin Lagan (120p)“The Official Community Plan states that a minimum depth of 300mm of topsoil or amended organic soil will be provided on all landscaped areas. The required depth is increased to 450mm for shrubs, and is 300mm around and below the root ball of all trees of a property. Soil depth is a requirement in all new subdivisions,” reported Kevin Lagan, the City’s (former) Director of Operational Services.

To Learn More:

Click on 2004 decision by Agricultural Land Commission was conditional upon use of Water Balance Model to download the January 2004 news release.

Richard Boase_soil-water demo

Sharing & Learning from Other Jurisdictions

“A defining moment for me for was the soil-water demonstration that Richard Boase of North Vancouver District did at the December 2003 training workshop for Water Balance Model partners,” continued Kevin Lagan.

“The infiltration process sounds complex when you use words to describe it. But when you observe how water moves through a soil profile, it is a powerful learning tool.”

The On-the-Ground Challenge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to Sandy Pridmore, (former) Engineering Technologist with the City of Courtenay, “The challenge for the City is in how to ensure that developers and house builders fulfil their obligations to provide and preserve the minimum required depth. This will be the focus of my presentation.”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of Sandy’s PowerPoint presentation, please click on this link to Absorbent Soils For Rainwater Management and Achieving Compliance To Meet Green Infrastructure Goals .

Courtenay - absorbent soil