Getting Green Infrastructure “Built Right”: City of Surrey has Moved Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach

Note to Reader:

In April 2013, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC recognized the City as a Champion Supporter. This designation recognizes government and non-government organizations that are playing a leadership role in the ‘Convening for Action in British Columbia’ initiative.

Presentation of the “letter of recognition” to Surrey City Council by Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director, provided the opportunity to reflect on the historical and provincial significance of successive transformational events hosted by the City over the past decade.

Historical and provincial significance of events hosted by the City of Surrey under umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan

“The City of Surrey’s long-term commitment is helping the Partnership advance the vision for achieving watershed sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices,” stated Kim Stephens when he presented Champion Supporter recognition to Mayor Diane Watts.


“We value our relationship with the City and greatly appreciate that you have hosted regional forums and/or local government training sessions in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.”

“Surrey is leading by example and Surrey experience is currently informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative.  Collaboration will help everyone go farther, more efficiently and effectively, to achieve watershed health objectives in the Metro Vancouver region and on Vancouver Island,” concluded Kim Stephens.

To Learn More:

Download Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context: The City of Surrey is a leader by example,  a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens.

Provincially Significant Events Hosted by the City

After presenting the “Champion Supporter” letter of recognition, Kim Stephens took City Council on a trip down memory lane and informed Councillors about the significance of these events:

  • May 2005: Green Infrastructure Consultation Workshop
  • June 2006: Celebrating Green Infrastructure Innovation Pilot Series
  • November 2007: Beyond the Guidebook Seminar
  • March 2009: Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum
  • November 2011: Pilot Course on the “ISMP Course Correction”

“Surrey case studies are foundation pieces for evolution of provincial approaches and tools. Surrey experience is currently informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. Collaboration will help everyone go farther, more efficiently and effectively, to restore and protect watershed health,” concluded Kim Stephens.

To Learn More:

To read the complete story posted on the Convening for Action community-of-interest, click on Getting Green Infrastructure “Built Right”: City of Surrey has Moved Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach.

The story comprises a  set of set vignettes that provide context for the evolution of the City’s outcome-oriented approach to watershed-based planning. Quotable quotes and links to online resources are brought forward from stories posted previously on the website. Vignettes such as the one below set the scene for an introduction to the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative.

2007 – Beyond the Guidebook Seminar

Branded as Rainwater Management & Green Infrastructure:  Resources and Successes for Protecting Stream Health, the Seminar commenced the rollout of  Beyond the Guidebook: Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia, released in June 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.”

“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.

To Learn More:

“Beyond the Guidebook” refers to a runoff-based approach to drainage modeling that connects the dots between source control evaluation and stream health assessment. To download a copy of Beyond the Guidebook 2007, click here.