HISTORY OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “When we formed the GIP in 2003, green infrastructure was an emerging concept. The paradigm-shift that then occurred during Paul Ham’s watch far exceeds our original expectation that the partnership would be a catalyst for change,” stated Chuck Gale, Founding Chair (2003-2004), Green Infrastructure Partnership
Note to Reader:
Published in February 2022 by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, How We Transform the Land – Intergenerational Vision to Change Standards of Practice connects a series of dots about British Columbia’s Green Infrastructure Partnership (GIP) and past interactions with Lois Jackson, former Board Chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Interweaving the GIP storyline provides historical context, serving as a reminder of the importance of knowing one’s history,
Oral History Connects Dots: Know, Understand and Care – Quotable Quotes Help to Tell a Story
Chuck Gale as chair brought instant credibility to the GIP within the Metro Vancouver region. When he retired from local government, Chuck Gale recruited Paul Ham, General Manager of Engineering with the City of Surrey, to succeed him. Paul further elevated the GIP profile because Surrey was seen to be at the forefront of green infrastructure innovation.
Paul then reached out to his peers in the Metro Vancouver region and asked them to participate in the Green Infrastructure Consultation Workshop in May 2005. This event proved to be a game-changer. The program design (shown below) was an application of the What, So What mind-map developed by the late Erik Karlsen (1945-2020) for change management.
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Showcase and Celebrate Innovation
“The 2005 workshop truly was a dynamic and transformational event; and inspired a complete revamping of our approach and work plan for a Model Subdivision Bylaw and green infrastructure standards. This influenced everything that followed, including on Vancouver Island,” stated Ray Fung afterwards. In 2008, he succeeded Paul Ham as GIP Chair. He is a Partnership Director.
“As we went around the table, the stories came out as to what Metro Vancouver municipalities were doing. A common refrain was, we didn’t know you were doing that. The energy in the room just kept building and building. At the end of the day, we literally tore up our work plan.”
“It was clear that practitioners did not need another guidance document that would go on a shelf. Rather, they needed to network and learn from each other. In 2006, the GIP launched the pilot Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series. The goal, share experience and lessons learned as an outcome of designing with nature.”
The storyline for the “How We Transform the Land” legacy document is structured in four parts
Part 1 is the essay by Lois Jackson. Her reflections on what she has observed and experienced over five decades are insightful. Her reflections explain why she was receptive to an overture from the Green Infrastructure Partnership in 2006 when she was in a position of leadership and authority as Chair, Metro Vancouver Regional Board.
Part 2 is the “story behind the story” of the players who were in the right place at the right time in 2003, seized the moment to form the Green Infrastructure Partnership, and developed the “Design with Nature” framework for integrating across infrastructure systems.
Part 3 describes building blocks in a collaborative and consultative process that secured high-level support from elected representatives for a “convening for action” vision to change the way that communities use and develop land by designing with nature.
Part 4 foreshadows how early successes in the Metro Vancouver region were replicated and then built upon by the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative, beginning in 2007. Under the banner of Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan, this work-in-progress continues to this day. It is a building blocks process.
To Learn More:
To read the complete story published on February 15th 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: How We Transform the Land – Intergenerational Vision to Change Standards of Practice.
DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY: https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2022/02/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_Design-With-Nature_2022.pdf