East Clayton Sustainable Community in the City of Surrey: Lessons learned implementing on-site rainwater management will be shared at Water Balance Model Forum


Surrey wbm forum - east clayton aerial (360p)

The City of Surrey is hosting the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum on March 12, 2009. This learning event is co-sponsored by the Water Balance Model Inter-Governmental Partnership and the Green Infrastructure Partnership. To learn more about the program content, click on Living Water Smart and Making Green Choices in the Metro Vancouver Region.

Surrey wbm forum - program overview


East Clayton Sustainable Community

“The Forum program is built around the HOW question as it pertains to green infrastructure: HOW will the City of Surrey ensure it gets built right; HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver?,” states Remi Surrey wbm forum - remi dube (142p)Dubé, Drainage Planning Manager with the City of Surrey. “We anticipate a lively exchange of perspectives by designers, developers and regulators.”

“After describing the evolution of drainage planning in Surrey, we will focus on what we have learned on the ground in the East Claytorn Sustainable Community.”

“We have three objectives or learning outcomes in featuring East Clayton: provide the sustainability context; review the implementation experience for private and public rainfall capture systems; and reflect on lessons learned.”


The Neighbourhood Plan

The 250-hectare neighbourhood of East Clayton in Surrey was designated as ‘urban’ in 1996, setting the stage for an unprecedented new neighbourhood plan to increase residential density, promote social cohesion and maximize affordability and walkability.

Different housing zones were created, each with guidelines on lot configurations, including widths and setbacks, allowing developers to choose the housing mix. A ‘special residential’ category was included that allows small-scale businesses to be combined with residential units. Sixty per cent of the lots were to have rear lane access for cars, which allows property owners to build secondary units at the rear.


Good Intentions

A decade ago, the driver for innovation was the need to protect the downstream Surrey wbm forum -  east clayton objectives (240p)agricultural lowlands from flooding that would otherwise have resulted from the increase in annual rainwater runoff as the formerly rural East Clayton was converted to intensively urbanized residential development,” observes Remi Dubé.

“To provide the complete picture, we are approaching the story of East Clayton in two parts. First, Jim Dumont and David Hislop will describe what we intended to build and what the models show. In part two, Monty Hurd, the City’s Manager of Engineering Inspections, will elaborate on what was actually built and where we ran into implementation challenges.”

Surrey wbm forum -  jim dumont & david hislop



“We are anticipating that Monty’s part could be quite powerful in stimulating a sharing of experience. We hope that land development consultants in particular will tell their stories… because we will be getting into construction timing issues, in particular what happens to the topsoil and swales once the builders commence Surrey wbm forum - remi dube (160p)house construction, states Remi Dubé.

“The City and others certainly learned a lot from the East Clayton experience; and we have applied the lessons learned and adapted our approach in order to do business differently in Campbell Heights, Grandview Heights, South Newton, etc.”

“In addition to design and construction issues, the City also learned some lessons from a site development perspective. An unintended consequence was the higher than expected percentage of hardscape. With a different approach to built-form, we could have had both higher density and substantially more green space.” This is illustrated by the following comparison. On the left is what East Clayton looks like; on the right is what it might have been:

Surrey wbm forum -  east clayton - expectation vs actual



Posted February 2009