FLASHBACK TO 2007: “The ingredients for success include passion and a willingness to take a vision and make it happen,” stated Rob Lawrance, City of Nanaimo Environmental Planner, at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island

Note to Reader:

The projected growth of Vancouver Island and resulting cumulative impacts are drivers for reassessing where and how land is developed, and water is used. To promote a new way-of-thinking related to infrastructure policies and practices, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island organized Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series.

CAVI was supported by the Green Infrastructure Partnership in undertaking the Series. The 2006 pilot program was held in Metro Vancouver. In 2007, parallel series were held on both sides of the Georgia Basin on alternating Fridays during the September/October period.

The 2007 Series was launched in Nanaimo and co-hosted by the Regional District of Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo. Rob Lawrance was the team leader for the City of Nanaimo.


2007 Series Launched in Nanaimo

Over 50 people from far and wide registered for the Nanaimo event. The diverse audience was comprised of representatives from four regional districts, ten municipalities, three provincial ministries, and a half-dozen private sector organizations. Included in the audience were elected representatives, senior managers, and on-the-ground practitioners.

City of Nanaimo Program

Consistent with the theme of ‘designing with nature’, a 6–person City of Nanaimo team led by Rob Lawrance (the City’s Environmental Planner) presented three case studies that illustrated Lessons Learned from Piloting Innovation in the City of Nanaimo.

The City’s Green Building Policy requires all new public buildings over 500 square metres to meet the LEED Silver standard. This is part and parcel of the City’s commitment to develop climate change and energy plans under the aegis of the Partners for Climate Change Program.

Completed in 2006, the award-winning Inland Kenworth project applied a unique approach to site development that combined function and design in first capturing and then absorbing rainwater on-site. The project won a City environmental award and a design award.

Pressure to build on hillside lands was the catalyst for adopting the City’s steep slope development permit area and zoning bylaws. Cottle Creek Estates provided an early example of how these bylaws, and Nanaimo’s approach to green infrastructure, were being implemented.

Setting the Context

Rob Lawrance set the context and introduced the unifying themes for the three City of Nanaimo presentations. “Our participation in the Showcasing Innovation Series has served as a catalyst for the City to evaluate our progress to date, and reflect on lessons learned from our experience in piloting innovation,” he stated in 2007.

“The Nanaimo Showcasing focus is on three policies that each address public concerns on different scales. Each policy and application represents a ‘first’ for either the region or the City of Nanaimo.”

In setting the context for three project presentations, Rob Lawrence also elaborated on what is involved in finding the right ‘balance’ to make things happen on the ground. His introductory comments foreshadowed one of the unifying themes for the three Nanaimo presentations, and that is:

It’s all about people, and most of all, it’s about involving the right people at the start. The ingredients for success include passion and a willingness to take a vision and make it happen.“

In his overview presentation, he identified four tools that are enabling City staff to drive green infrastructure innovation in Nanaimo: