Rainwater Management: “Collaborative initiatives will help municipalities better deliver on regulatory compliance,” Kim Stephens informs Metro Vancouver Regional Engineers Advisory Committee



Note  to Reader:

On September 19, 2013 the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC and the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) are partnering to offer a seminar that integrates regulatory, historical, local government, science and technology perspectives on the subject of Sustainable Rainwater Management in British Columbia. To register for the seminar, visit the APEGBC website: click here.

The seminar program comprises six modules. To learn more about the scope and educational objective of each, click on Program Overview to download a concise synopsis.

The article below reports out on a presentation by Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he met with the Metro Vancouver Regional Advisory Committee (REAC) to inform them about the seminar and its relevance to the municipalities.


Inter-Regional Education Initiative

REAC support in October 2011 has enabled the Partnership for Water Sustainability to develop two web-based tools for use by member municipalities: Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool (2012); Water Balance Model Express for Landowners (2013).

The Partnership is in Year 2 of implementing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI) in collaboration with the Province and local governments in the Metro Vancouver region and on Vancouver Island. The Partnership is building on the “collaborative model” to implement Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative in the local government setting.

Currently, the Partnership focus is on developing an outcome-oriented performance monitoring framework that connects the dots between land use planning and watershed health.

The Partnership has been meeting regularly with elected representatives on the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee to report out on progress.

The 2013 Metro Vancouver Seminar on Sustainable Rainwater Management is an IREI element.




A Collaborative Model: The New Way of Doing Business in British Columbia

“The Province is going down a pathway that integrates regulatory compliance and collaboration. In this regard, British Columbia is moving into uncharted territory. The groundwork was laid over the past decade with a focus on education. The Partnership for Water Sustainability has demonstrated what can be accomplished in terms of fostering a new land ethic. But education canonly take you so far,”Kim Stephens explained tothe REAC audience.  

“When the City of Surrey hosted the pilot ‘Course on the ISMP Course Correction’ in October 2011, the Ministry of Environment released a statement that signalled the Province’s intentions regarding where we go next in the evolution of the Collaborative Model. In the Metro Vancouver region, Avtar Sundher is the face of the regulator.”


Integrate Regulatory Compliance and Collaboration

“Regulatory requirements provide a driver for local governments to protect and/or restore watershed health over time. We also recognize that solutions will be achieved through partnerships, collaboration and regional alignment of efforts,” stated Avtar Sundher, Government and Compliance Section Head in the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Protection Divsion.

To read the full text of his statement in 2011, click on Ministry of Environment highlights importance of land use planning in protecting stream health.


Benefits of Collaboration

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability plays a bridging role between Province, local government and community. This means we are fostering alignment of regional and local actions with provincial goals. We are also facilitating inter-regional collaboration in the local government setting,” Kim Stephens told REAC.

“Our mantra is: we develop tools; we develop talent; we focus on outcomes. This mantra provides the frame of reference for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. The goal of collaboration is consistent application of outcome-oriented actions that will accelerate restoration and/ore protection of Watershed Health.”

“Inter-regional collaboration will help everyone go farther, more efficiently and effectively, to achieve these three objectives: design with nature, implement green infrastructure and mimic the Water Balance.”

“Everything the Partnership does is founded on the proven experience of local government champions who are leading change in BC. In the Metro Vancouver region, the cities of Surrey and Coquitlam and the District of North Vancouver are currently providing core content.”

“The Partnership is the storyteller. We want to know who is doing good work. Then we can profile it, celebrate it and incorporate lessons learned into the curriculum for the Inter-Regional Education Initiative.”

“If local governments are outcome-oriented in the way they do business, the Partnership believes they will be well-positioned to reduce risk, restore stream and watershed health, and comply with regulatory objectives,” concluded Kim Stephens.


To Learn More:

To download a PDF version of the slideshow that provided the backdrop for the presentation to the Metro Vancouver Regional Engineers Advisory Committee by Kim Stephens, click on Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context: Collaborative Initiatives Will Help Municipalities Better Deliver on Regulatory Compliance