“Currently, Australia has no consistent policy approach to GRGW except for the City of Sydney and the City of Melbourne, which have policies that align with their respective 2030 and 2040 sustainability targets,” stated Sara Wilkinson. “Barriers to adoption here in Australia include installation and maintenance costs, and a lack of awareness, professional guidance and experience when it comes to working on projects involving this kind of green infrastructure.”
Green Value Development
Vision for Kus-kus-sum estuary restoration in the Comox Valley: “This is a generational moment to create a legacy. Kus-kus-sum shines a light for many estuary communities in the province,” stated Tim Ennis, Executive Director, Comox Valley Land Trust
“After nearly 75 years, tides may soon flow again over Kus-kus-sum’s shoreline,” wrote Tim Ennis. “This is a generational moment for the Comox Valley to create a legacy based not on conquering nature, but a new era of collaborating to restore our relationships with the land and each other. One of its greatest values is that it’s literally creating common ground where citizens can imagine together with First Nations partners what a healthier, more inclusive and sustainable future looks like.”
“The Buttertubs Marsh pilot study added up the value of natural infrastructure, and found that environmental assets have dollar value,” says Rob Lawrance, City of Nanaimo environmental planner
Buttertubs Marsh is a bird and wildlife sanctuary located in the middle of the City of Nanaimo. The marsh is man-made. For anyone looking at a wetland or watercourse, the value is clear but it’s also subjective, said Rob Lawrance, who noted the study put the marsh in the context of a physical utility asset and a language city financial planners speak. The natural system is able to handle increased pressure and has resiliency, he said, adding it has more value than he thought.
Architect Stefano Boeri is passionate about green infrastructure and demonstrates the art of the possible. “Cities are two per cent of the entire Earth’s land surface, but they are producing 70 per cent of CO2. If we seriously want to deal with climate change, we have to study where climate change is produced. Forests absorb approximately 40 per cent of [man-made] CO2, so increasing the number of trees and plants inside a city is a crucial issue,” comments Stefano Boeri.
LEADING CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA: Can Money Really Grow On Trees? Increased Tree Canopy Boosts Sydney Property Values
The value a city derives from its urban trees is difficult to measure due to the disconnect between the beneficiaries and the direct costs borne by the councils, utilities and road authorities who manage them. “Our report found that without sufficient ‘green infrastructure’ Sydney would be hotter, more polluted and could be worth $50 billion less,” stated James Rosenwax, report co-author.
An innovative approach to valuing a community’s natural assets promises to reduce service delivery costs while increasing other public benefits. Councillor Jeremy Valeriote described how Gibsons is finding that their intact watershed, with its ponds, streams and deep aquifer, are immensely valuable as part of their drinking water and storm water management systems. Protecting the natural foreshore along their portion of the Salish Sea provides a natural barrier from the ocean, protecting homes and property.
“Recognise green infrastructure as we do grey infrastructure, so it is properly considered as an asset,” said Shahana McKenzie, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
Green infrastructure asset recognition issue is aimed at having green infrastructure formally recognised by Treasury as an asset class. According to Shahana McKenzie, “The big issue regarding funding green infrastructure is really about the source of the money and whether you can depreciate for an asset’s replacement or not. In local government there are a number of instances where landscape works are not able to be capitalised.”
Ecological Accounting: “The emphasis is on ‘civil services’ that provide a municipal function,” says Tim Pringle
Tim Pringle coined the phrase ecological accounting protocol to make clear the distinction vis-à-vis ecological economics. “The purpose of the proposed accounting protocol is to enable comparison of engineered infrastructure to natural systems by means of common units of measurement and value,” states Tim Pringle. The need for measurement and valuation is paramount.”
What Emanuel Machado, Town of Gibsons Chief Administrative Officer, learned at the “2015 World Forum on Natural Capital”……
At the World Forum held in Scotland last November, Emanuel Machado shared the story of the Town of Gibsons Eco-Asset Strategy with an international audience. “After two exciting days, I walked away with a sense that we in Canada, and BC in particular, are heading in the right direction and, perhaps, even leading in some ways. In terms of how best to address natural capital in the context of cities and urban areas, Canada is ahead of the game.”
“Salmon-Safe is now active across the entire Pacific Northwest region with more than 38,000 hectares of urban and agricultural land certified from Northern California to British Columbia. Following introduction to BC in 2011, Salmon-Safe has certified more than 45 agricultural properties and recently in 2015 certified the first urban site in BC – the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Head Office in Vancouver,” stated Naomi Robert.