Toronto Region hosts second in the “Across Canada Workshop Series” on Resilient Rainwater Management (Oct 28)
Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC will visit Toronto on October 28, 2014
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is partnering with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC to host the second in the five-city Resilient Rainwater Management: Across Canada Workshop Series on Adapting to a Changing Climate.”
For Workshop Registration Information:
TRCA was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. TRCA monitors, protects and regenerates the nine watersheds which flow through the Toronto region into Lake Ontario.
- TRCA’s partners are the City of Toronto, the regional municipalities of Durham, Peel and York, the Town of Mono and the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio.
- TRCA serves a population of 4.3 million.
- TRCA is the largest owner of green space in the Toronto region with over 40,000 acres.
The Living City Foundation raises money for projects undertaken by TRCA. The vision is for a new kind of community, The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity.
TRCA works with its partners to ensure The Living City is built on a natural foundation of healthy rivers and shorelines, greenspace and biodiversity, and sustainable communities.
To Learn More, Visit:
Lead By Example
“The TRCA is a catalyst for changes in planning, engineering and environmental practices in the Toronto region. TRCA’s mission is to lead by example. We are doing this through our STEP and Living City Campus initiatives,” states Glenn MacMillan, TRCA Senior Manager, Water and Energy Management.
In his current leadership role, Glenn MacMillan is both a trainer and an educator. He is also the TRCA lead person for STEP; as well as the planned BRE Innovation Park @The Living City Campus.
Springboard to an Ongoing National Initiative?
“STEP is the acronym for Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program. Our goal is to foster sustainability through innovation. We hope to evolve STEP into a national initiative that would promote sharing and learning among practitioners across the country,” continues Glenn MacMillan.
“We would also like to expand the scope of STEP to include American participation. In fact, the folks with the Water Environment Federation have stated their desire to collaborate with us. To get the process rolling, TRCA has been invited to share our STEP story at the 2014 WEFTEC Conference in September.”
“The 2014 Across Canada Workshop Series organized by the BC Partnership for Water Sustainability could be the springboard to an annual convening of those practitioners who are leading change across the country. In ‘convening for action’, it would be about sharing what the champions in each province are doing. Sharing of stories is a powerful way of inspiring others to do things differently.”
“Showcasing the ‘BC story’ at a Toronto workshop supports what we would like to accomplish in the Toronto region. Our two provinces clearly share a vision where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity. It is the processes to reach the goal that differ. In large part, that is because the BC and Ontario regulatory environments are at different points along a continuum.”
“We wish to understand what BC’s collaborative and adaptive approach to ‘rainwater management and watershed sustainability’ looks like on the ground. The workshop is an opportunity to learn from those who are leading change in BC.”
“This understanding could then help TRCA and others in the Toronto region who are championing implementation of a natural systems approach. Also, this might inform aspect of our approach to the planned BRE Innovation Park,” states Glenn MacMillan in summarizing an expected outcome for the workshop.
The Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) is a multi-agency initiative, led by the TRCA. The program was developed to provide the data and analytical tools needed to support broader implementation of sustainable technologies and practices within a Canadian context.
Technologies evaluated under STEP are not limited to physical devices or products; they may also include preventative measures, implementation protocols, alternative urban site designs, and other innovative practices that help create more sustainable and liveable communities.
To learn more, visit: http://sustainabletechnologies.ca
Vision for Canada’s “BRE Innovation Park”
“TRCA is very excited about our partnership with the BRE Trust, the largest United Kingdom charity dedicated specifically to research and education in the built environment. The BRE Innovation Park@The Living City Campus will be part of the BRE Innovation Parks Network,” reports Glenn MacMillan.
“TRCA is building Canada’s BRE Innovation Park. The mission statement is to accelerate the commercialization and adoption of green building products and services into the Canadian mainstream and provide a platform for international recognition and acceptance.”
“The BRE Innovation Park will further enhance the existing building technology research, demonstration, testing and showcasing at The Living City Campus. It will also help us build stronger and more effective collaborations,” concludes Glenn MacMillan.
About The Living City Campus:
Nestled in an oasis of nature, The Living City Campus is designed to inspire people from all over the world to live more sustainably. From renewable energy to green buildings to new technologies and sustainable transportation, visitors experience the latest in green living, inspiring change in how we live, work and play today for a healthier tomorrow. The Living City Campus grows out of TRCA’s vision for healthy urban environments and The Living City.
To learn more, visit:
Enabling Philosophy in BC Means….
“BC local government is among the most autonomous in Canada, and BC is perhaps the least prescriptive province. Historically, the Province has put in place enabling policy, legal and technical tools in response to requests from local government,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director. He is the leaders of the BC team that is delivering the Across Canada Workshop Series.
“The enabling approach means the onus is on local government to take the initiative. Local government can choose to act, or not. We are challenging local governments to choose to act.”
“Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. Their action-oriented focus has resulted in ‘how to do it’ examples that help decision-makers visualize what ‘design with nature’ policy goals look like on the ground.”
To Learn More:
‘Beyond the Guidebook 2010’ is the story of what has been accomplished on the ground over the preceding decade, through partnerships and collaboration, under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
To download a copy, click on Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia (complete document) (PDF/9.0MB)
The Adaptive Approach: Learn by Doing
“BC’s Community Charter Act recognizes that communities are in the best position to develop solutions which meet their own unique needs and local conditions. This autonomy provides local government champions with flexibility to apply science-based understanding to 1) develop tools, 2) establish precedents and 3) gain the experience necessary to implement a collaborative and adaptive approach to community design.”
“Adaptive means ‘learn by doing’. Do not get hung-up on engineering criteria because that risks paralysis by analysis. Get started, build the first one (whatever it may be) and learn as you go. Change direction when the science or experience leads to a better way. Eventually you will reach your destination.”
“A strength of the collaborative and adaptive approach is that it is founded on what we in BC have coined the regional team approach. BC local governments are sharing and learning from each other. This is accelerating replication and implementation of new standards of practice that can restore watershed health over time. Our mantra is: develop tools; develop talent; focus on outcomes.”
Changing the Local Government Culture
“More than a decade ago, the Province of British Columbia made a conscious decision to follow a collaborative rather than prescriptive path to change the way that land is developed and water is used,” continues Kim Stephens. “Patience is a critical ingredient. It takes time to incrementally change the practitioner culture and implement a new way of doing business.”
“Collaboration grows from a shared vision about the future and commitment to action: Collectively this is what we want to incrementally achieve and, over time, this is how we will work together to get there.”
“In BC, it has been about turning the whole game around to ‘design with nature’ as a consistent approach to development and redevelopment, urban infrastructure practices, and protection/restoration of stream and watershed health. Such collaboration incrementally raises the bar for leading practices and builds practitioner capacity.”
“It has taken patience and consistent messaging over the past decade to inform and educate, build consensus and facilitate a new way of doing business. Practical research and new tools are enabling engineers, planners and other disciplines to do business differently in BC’s local government setting,” concludes Kim Stephens.