FLASHBACK TO 2007: City of Surrey provided core content for launch of “Beyond the Guidebook Initiative”


Note to Reader:

In April 2013, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC recognized the City of Surrey as a Champion Supporter of the Partnership. The presentation of a framed “letter of recognition” to Mayor and Council provided the opportunity to reflect on the historical and provincial significance of successive transformational events hosted by the City over the past decade.

The vignette presented below is extracted from Getting Green Infrastructure “Built Right”: City of Surrey has Moved Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach. Note that the vignette incorporates supplementary detail that expands on the significance of the City of Surrey’s contribution to the Beyond the Guidebook Seminar in 2007.

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

In October 1997, a focus group workshop convened by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities set in motion a chain of outcomes that culminated in Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in June 2002. This was a catalyst for change that has resulted in British Columbia achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing green infrastructure.

Five years later, the evolution in thinking was captured in Beyond the Guidebook: Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia. Released in June 2007, this succinct guidance document foreshadowed Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative, both of which were launched in 2008.

Glen brown (160p)In February 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 was to explain how a number of provincial initiatives support and/or complement each other. Glen Brown is the Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.

Beyond the Guidebook reflects a ‘design with nature’ approach to climate change adaptation, and introduced a methodology for correlating green infrastructure effectiveness in protecting stream health through using a pragmatic approach to achieve performance targets based upon rainwater balance,” wrote Glen Brown.

2007 Beyond the Guidebook Seminar

Branded as Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure:  Resources and Successes for Protecting Stream Health, and organizded in collaboration with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC), the Seminar commenced the formal rollout of Beyond the Guidebook in November 2007.

“The response by the engineering community and others was overwhelming, and came as a welcome surprise Attendance was capped and there was a waiting list. We squeezed as many people as we could into the room,” reported Paul Ham. “The primary attraction was the mini-charrette that we built around Surrey’s Fergus Creek Watershed Plan.”

“We now have the tools and the experience to design with nature and move from stormwater management to RAINwater management”, Corino Salomi told participants. He delivered a presentation that provided Surrey wbm forum - corino (160p)the federal DFO perspective. He summarized by emphasizing that the objective is protect stream health, which is broader than how much volume one can infiltrate on a particular development. “While we need to have volume reduction targets, at the end of the day it is how effectively we apply the suite of available rainwater management tools that will ultimately determine whether we will succeed in protecting stream health at a watershed scale.”

City of Surrey’s Fergus Creek Watershed Plan: A Pilot for Beyond the Guidebook

The seminar was structured in three parts to deal with the Why, What and How in going Beyond the Guidebook.  The City of Surrey created a knowledge-transfer group exercise based on the Fergus Creek watershed plan, which is the provincial pilot for Beyond the Guidebook. The purpose of the exercise was to engage practitioners so that they would focus on the practical aspects of implementiing changes in land development practices.

“The learning outcome for the mini-charrette was that participants would be able to express how green infrastructure policies and practices can be successfully implemented at the site scale to protect stream health at the watershed scale. Participants worked in groups to resolve ‘how to do it’ implementation issues related to four (re)development scenarios,” recalls the City of Surrey’s Remi Dubé. He designed and presided over the mini-charrette.

The audience primarily comprised engineers (about 80%), with a sprinking of planners and biologists to provide an interdisciplinary mix in the charrette segment.

“Having engineers do a plannning exercise was brilliant,” observed Carolyn Drugge of the City of Vancouver’s Engineering Department, “It was fun and inspirational to be part of the process.”

“I never thought I would see the day when a group of engineers would actually say we need a planner,” added Darcey Kohuch, Director of Engineering for the District of Sooke, “But that is what happened in our breakout group when we were trying to think like planners in doling the land use planning for our development scenario.”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the agenda, click on Seminar Program; and to download a copy of the program objectives, click on Seminar Learning Outcomes. And to download three other documents that capture key information that was presented at the seminar, click on the links below:

Integration of Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: The Province’s Perpsective

Moving from Stormwater Management to RAINwater Management: A Federal Fisheries Perspective.

Beyond the Guidebook – Why the Water Balance Model Powered by QUALHYMO.