Ministry of Community Development Circular informs BC local governments about 'Beyond the Guidebook'



Beyond the Guidebook: Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia

Glen brown (160p)On February 10, 2009 the Ministry of Community Development sent out a circular to all Municipal and Regional District Chief Administrative Officers, Engineers and Planners regarding the Beyond the Guidebook provincial initiative. Signed by Glen Brown, the purpose of the Circular is to explain how a number of provincial initiatives support and/or complement each other. Glen Brown is the Executive Director, Local Government Infrastructure and Finance. The full text of the Circular is reproduced below:

The Circular states that….

Beyond the Guidebook reflects a ‘design with nature’ approach to climate change adaptation. Beyond the Guidebook was released in June 2007 as a guidance document to introduce a methodology for correlating green infrastructure effectiveness in protecting stream health through using a pragmatic approach to achieve performance targets based upon rain water balance.

Beyond the Guidebook 2007The ongoing Beyond the Guidebook provincial initiative builds on the guidance provided in the original Stormwater Planning:  A Guidebook for British Columbia. In 2008, Vancouver Island was home of the pilot region for a regional team approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure implementation.  Partnerships and the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series enabled capacity building for stakeholders, local municipal staff, developers and consultants.

The Water Balance Model for British Columbia is a web-based decision support tool that provides easy access to the Beyond the Guidebook approach and is available at This tool bridges engineering and planning and links the site to the stream and watershed.  The Ministry of Community Development is a member of the inter-governmental partnership that develops and maintains the Water Balance Model.  The Guidebook and supplementary guidance documents are downloadable from the website.

Over time, sustained application of the water balance methodology can help local governments protect and/or restore stream health.

Beyond the Guidebook supports and/or complements other provincial initiatives, notably: Living Water Smart, the Green Communities Project and A Guide to Green Choices.  Collectively, these initiatives establish expectations that, in turn, will influence the form and function of the built environment in general and green infrastructure on the ground in particular.

For more information regarding the Beyond the Guidebook initiative and infrastructure grant programs, please contact the Local Government Infrastructure and Finance Division at 250 387-4060.

Downloadable Version of the Circular:

To download a copy, click on Ministry of Community Development – Beyond the Guidebook Circular – February 2009.

More About Beyond the Guidebook

Beyond the Guidebook is founded on a runoff-based approach to urban drainage modeling that connects the dots between source control evaluation and stream health assessment. This approach is described as “where science meets analysis’ because rainwater runoff volume management is directly linked to stream erosion and water quality.

Ted_trmmed_160pIntegration of the Water Balance Model web interface with the QUALHYMO hydrologic engine now enables hydrological engineers to assess source control performance plus simulate what happens to “overflows” once source controls have reached their absorptive capacity,” reports Ted van der Gulik (Ministry of Agriculture & Lands), Chair of the Inter-Governmental Partnership that developed and maintains the Water Balance Model.

Watershed Approach to Stream Protection

Beyond the guidebook circular - jim dumont (160p)“The Beyond the Guidebook methodology allows practitioners to assess both site-level rainwater management measures AND flood relief projects so that they can develop a watershed approach that addresses stream protection and/or restoration,” explains Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority for the Inter-Governmental Partnership. “In the process, practitioners will view the watershed and its streams from a much more holistic perspective.”

Surrey wbm forum - remi dube (142p)The pilot for Beyond the Guidebook is the City of Surrey Fergus Creek watershed plan. “The plan is based on implementing green solutions as an alternative to conventional engineered blue solutions,” reports states Remi Dubé, Drainage Planning Manager with the City of Surrey. “There will be no large-scale storage ponds. Rather, rainwater runoff volume will be mostly managed through the creation of contiguous large-scale greenways.”

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Design with Nature Outcomes

Surrey wbm forum - kim (120p)“In embracing a ‘design with nature’ philosophy, we have borrowed from Ian McHarg and the title of his 1969 book,” explains Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. “Furthermore, we have developed a definition that goes beyond McHarg in terms of synthesizing Smart Growth principles with an infrastructure way-of-thinking. Also, the Design with Nature paradigm captures the essence of climate change adaptation.”

Surrey wbm forum - lynn (120p)“Adaptation is about responding to the changes that will inevitably occur. Adaptation is at the community level and is therefore about collaboration. If we can show how to get the water part right, then other parts are more likely to follow,” adds Lynn Kriwoken, Director, Innovation and Planning in the Water Stewardship Division of the Ministry of Environment.

Lynn Kriwoken is the Province’s lead person for delivery of the Living Water Smart program.

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