2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Forum: "Living Water Smart and Making Green Choices to Create Liveable Communities and Protect Stream Health" – inter-governmental ‘share & learn’ event hosted by City of Surrey (March 2009)

Note to Reader:

In March 2009, the CIty of Surrey hosted the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Forum in collaboration with the Green Infrastructure Partnership, the Inter-Governmental Water Balance Partnership and three provincial Ministries, namely: Community Development, Agriculture & Lands, and Environment. The Forum was held in Council Chambers at Surrey City Hall. 

To download a copy of the Agenda, click on Lesson Plan – Draft Outline of What We Want to Achieve.


Getting Green Infrastructure Built Right in the Metro Vancouver Region

Hosted by the City of Surrey, a member of the Green Infrastructure Partnership, the Metro Vancouver Forum was undertaken as part of the implementation program for Convening for Action in British Columbia.

Making Green Choices

The Forum purpose was to promote alignment of local actions in Metro Vancouver with provincial goals. The Forum program was built around the HOW question as it pertains to green infrastructure:

  • HOW will the City of Surrey get it built right;
  • HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver?

The Forum was co-sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Water Balance Partnership and the Green Infrastructure Partnership, with a goal of moving beyond pilot projects to a watershed-based approach to achieving performance targets for rainwater management and green infrastructure.

The Province’s  Green Communities Initiative and Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan provided the backdrop for the Surrey Forum.


The Story of the Forum

The story of the Forum is told in a series of six stories published weekly on the waterbucket.ca website. These describe the elements of the Forum program, and are consolidated in a stand-alone document.

ray-at-eagle-lake_2008_120pThe Surrey Forum was a first step in advancing a regional team approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure that would align local actions in Metro Vancouver with provincial goals as stated in Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan.

“We are adapting the experience gained and the lessons learned from the Vancouver Island pilot program,” stated Raymond Fung, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership.

To Learn More:

Download a PDF copy of the consolidated document:The Story of the 2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum.


Moving Beyond Pilot Projects

The following challenge statement provided context for advancing a ‘regional team approach’ in Metro Vancouver:

How do we simultaneously work together as staff within a municipality and as a region AND externally with developers and other private sector players, to ensure we implement sustainable approaches to development?

“The Forum was designed to start a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers,” states Vincent Lalonde, the City’s General Manager, Engineering, and aSurrey wbm forum -  vince lalonde (160p) member of the Green Infrastructure Partnership steering committee.

“We approached the program design from a shared responsibility perspective; we explored how policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to ensure responsible outcomes.”

The Forum Audience & Outcome

“The audience comprised a mix of Surrey staff from different departments, developers and designers who do work in Surrey, representatives from a large number of Metrokim-stephens_120p_dec2009 Vancouver municipalities, and provincial regulators,” reported Kim Stephens, Forum team leader and Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

“At the end of the day, this learning event had achieved our stated objective of starting a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers.“

“The Forum was a success,” added Remi Dubé, Drainage Planning Manager with the City of Surrey. He was responsible for developing the morning program.Remi Dube_120p

“We have been getting some pretty good feedback from many of the people who attended the workshop (specifically developers and consultants).  It’s leading into more direct communication with certain developers who are looking at different approaches … they seemed encouraged with the dialogue that the forum appeared to promote.”


Joint Statement by the City of Surrey, Inter-Governmental Partnership and Green Infrastructure Partnership

At the conclusion of the Forum, the co-organizers released the following Joint Statement:

“To get to the big picture, it starts with the smallest pieces. For this reason, the Surrey Forum is advancing a regional team approach that aligns local actions with provincial policy goals as articulated in the Living Water Smart and the Green Communities initiatives  Making this happen requires partnerships, collaboration, innovation and integration.”

“We see the Forum as providing an opportunity to generate positive energy in the region. In particular, the Forum will inform the actions identified in the rainwater/stormwater component of Metro Vancouver’s updated Liquid Waste Management Plan. We believe this is where the opportunity for implementing a regional team approach resides.”

“We anticipate that the Forum sharing sessions will show that there are solutions if people talk to each other about what they each could do differently. This will help all parties collaborate to more effectively fulfil their piece of the sustainable development puzzle.”

“Once we know what we want our watersheds and neighbourhoods to look like, the next step is to decide what the tools are that will get us there. All of us ….whether we are regulators, developers or designers ….need to understand and care about the goal if we are to create the future that we all want.”

PowerPoint Presentations &
Links to YouTube Videos

To both provide a record of the day and capture the flavour of presentation segments at the Forum, video clips have been selectively uploaded to YouTube. The maximum length is 10 minutes.

To Learn More:

Click on 2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Forum: YouTube videos complement PowerPoint presentations to create historical record and Forum legacy

Links to YouTube videos and associated PowerPoint presentations are listed there. You can listen to the audio track while scrolling through the corresponding PowerPoint slides.