ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We need a new way forward and a healthier narrative. We have been so focused on the right information that we are not cultivating the right conditions,” stated Christina Benty, former Mayor of the Town of Golden, in an article written for the Winter 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter
“We must create environments where the brain can make rational, logical, evidence-based decisions. Here is what I believe to be true. Investing in psychological safety will do more for asset management than any data, software, policy, plan or roadmap. This is no longer an ideological argument; this is an economic one. Psychological safety as a shared belief that the environment is conducive to interpersonal risks,” stated Christina Benty.
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: “Local governments require a methodology and metrics to operationalize ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of stream corridor systems under the umbrella of their Asset Management Plans,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process Initiative, in an article published in the Winter 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter
“A central idea of the EAP methodology is that a stream system has a ‘package of ecological services’. This concept refers to the combined range of uses desired by the community. Three key words capture the essence of what the phrase ‘range of uses’ means, namely: drainage, recreation and habitat. This is plain language that elected Councils and Boards understand,” stated Tim Pringle. “The EAP methodology has evolved as we have learned from, and adapted, each successive case study application. Each situation is unique, but the approach is universally applicable.”
CONVENING FOR ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If we are going to tackle the huge challenge that is the climate emergency, then we are absolutely going to need to work with nature and put aside the idea that we can dominate it,” stated Laura Dupont, President, Lower Mainland Local Government Association
“Salmon brought me a strong sense of community, something I had never really felt before. That came as an unexpected surprise. I felt protective of what we share, and that the next generation deserves it as much as we do. I got political and ran for city council. I talked to everyone who would speak with me and found out that a lot of people shared those values. It was rare to come across someone who didn’t care about the parks and trails and nature we are so fortunate to have right outside our door,” stated Laura Dupont.
DESIGN WITH NATURE: “Floods will always come, but we can build better to prepare. How do we dispose of large volumes of water when they collect in inconvenient places is the question,” – Elizabeth Mossop, University of Technology Sydney
“Traditionally, we have tried to armour rivers and waterfronts with levees, barriers and sea walls to keep all floodwaters out. Increasingly, however, planners, designers and engineers are looking to new approaches. Instead of trying to keep all floodwaters out, we can design landscapes to accommodate the water without damaging cities or farmland. There are many examples around the world of buildings and landscapes where flooding is ‘designed in’,” stated Elizabeth Mossop.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN URBAN CENTRES: “Our goal was to design a course to have appeal and applicability for professionals from diverse disciplines seeking to understand green infrastructure’s potential for managing the impacts of urbanization and climate change,” said Dr. Joanna Ashworth, Simon Fraser University
“Whether it’s the community coming together to build rain gardens or adopt catch basins, dedicated volunteer streamkeepers who put in countless hours restoring and protecting important salmon habitat, or government decision-makers and employees enacting policies, everyone has a role to play in advancing Green Infrastructure implementation. There’s more work to be done as we collectively travel along a path to find upstream, proactive solutions to climate change impacts and growing urban centres,” stated Joanna Ashworth.
CLIMATE ADAPTATION: “NYC, Vancouver, Sydney, Auckland, Copenhagen and Amsterdam present differing narratives toward pluvial flooding. Vancouver has embraced an image of environmental friendliness and constructs a narrative of rainfall management full of ‘green’ improvements,” stated Charles Axelsson, PhD candidate, University of Venice (January 2021)
“As a geographer researching urban environments, I really enjoy focusing on where scientific environmental research meets urban policy. In developed cities, decades and centuries of urban growth have led to a jigsaw puzzle of urban infrastructure. Storm drainage systems are ageing, built at different times to different standards, and often follow political boundaries not drainage basins. With climate change stressing these systems, it is all the more urgent to understand how to design with nature to prevent rapid runoff,” stated Charles Axelsson.
STUDENT INVOLVEMENT AS A FOUNDATIONAL PIECE: “The Partnership’s vision is to nest EAP within a university program for training the next generation of land use professionals. We see this as a key element of mainstreaming EAP,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (January 2021)
Tim Pringle has introduced three concepts for operationalizing maintenance and management of stream corridors and their regulated riparian areas within local government Asset Management Plans: 1) Streams are Natural Commons; 2) A Stream in Settled Areas is a Land Use; and 3) A Stream is an Ecological System that has Worth. “The philosophy, methodology and metrics for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, recognize the importance of a stream system in the landscape,” stated Tim Pringle.
FLASHBACK TO 2008 / CREATE LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES: “In the first year of the Living Water Smart rollout, my lead-off presentation in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series traced the evolution of rainwater and stormwater management policies and practices in British Columbia. This provided a frame-of-reference and a common understanding for subsequent seminars,” stated Kim Stephens, series team leader
“In 2008, the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series was held in both the Comox and Cowichan valleys. This program was the first step in building a regional team approach so that there would be consistent messaging regarding on-the-ground expectations for rainwater management and green infrastructure in BC. By spreading the curriculum over three sessions, this enabled participants to take in new information, reflect on it, blend it with their own experience, test it, and (we hoped) eventually apply it in making decisions,” stated Kim Stephens.
FLASHBACK TO 2008: “We really have to look at how we develop land. Ultimately this requires leadership and champions on the ground. The message is that the provincial government is rewarding good behaviour,” stated Glen Brown at the 2nd in the Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series on creating liveable communities and protecting stream health
An over-arching goal of Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan is to encourage land and water managers and users to do business differently. “Living Water Smart is a provincial strategy; we must look at it as a shared responsibility. It is not one strategy; the Province has a number of strategies. The Province is looking at raising the bar as far as what we are trying to accomplish with standards and provincial legislation,” stated Glen Brown.
FLASHBACK TO 2008: “It strikes me that we have created a new social norm; and it is being accepted by the development community as a whole,” stated BC Environment’s Maggie Henigman during a town-hall session when she commented on changes in rainwater management practice at the second in the Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series
“Since 1996 I have been working across Vancouver Island, both reviewing development proposals and monitoring project implementation. In the last couple of years I have been really pleased to see a huge shift take place in the way projects are being done. As I reflect on the current situation, the change in attitude is really gaining momentum. Everywhere I go I am seeing evidence of the new ethic. It is not that everyone is perfect, but the change is really coming,” stated Maggie Henigman.