Creating the Future in Coquitlam: Implementing a Watershed-Based Approach to Community Planning


Note to Reader:

The Coquitlam story is the second in a series of Watershed Blueprint Case Profiles published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. Co-authored by Melony Burton and Kim Stephens, the Case Profile describes how the City of Coquitlam has evolved an effective and adaptable approach to watershed-based community planning.


Introduction to Coquitlam Story

“An interesting aspect of Coquitlam’s story is that it demonstrates, on a local level, how attitudes and approaches in the Metro Vancouver region have evolved with watershed management and the recognition of rainwater as a resource,” reports Melony Burton, the City’s Watershed and Drainage Coordinator.  Since 2007, she has been the champion tasked with drainage utility planning and driving the ISMP process.

Melony-Burton_Dec-2013_120p“Going back to the 1990s, and the start of watershed-based planning approaches, Coquitlam has been involved in pilot projects that put these theories to the test. Since then they have continued to take concepts introduced regionally, and implement them incrementally, each effort building on the successes or lessons of the last. In the process, Coquitlam has learned by doing.”

“Changing the way we do things means taking on new challenges and not always getting it entirely right the first time.  But all attempts generally have some salvageable elements to move forward on,” emphasizes Melony Burton.

Historical Perspective

“Over the past decade, the City has built on pragmatic experience in first securing political support for a watershed-based approach to community planning; and then developing, implementing and refining practical rainwater management applications that mimic the natural Water Balance,” continues Melony Burton.

To tell the Coquitlam story in a seamless way, the steps along the way are grouped under these seven themes that serve as section headings:

Peter-Steblin_Coquitlam CAO_120p“We have arrived at a good place, but the journey has not been easy,” reflects Peter Steblin, Coquitlam City Manager. “We want other local governments to know about the good, the bad and the ugly of the Coquitlam story so that they may learn from our experience and know that it is okay to stumble.”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the Watershed Case Profile, click on Watershed Planning & Rainwater Management: Creating the Future in the City of Coquitlam.

Coquitlam Watershed Planning and Rainwater Management Article (Jan 2014)_cover