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Contextual Resources

FLASHBACK TO 2014: “Coquitlam’s story demonstrates, on a local level, how attitudes and approaches in the Metro Vancouver region have evolved with watershed management and recognition of rainwater as a resource,” stated Melony Burton, co-author of Creating the Future in Coquitlam, second in the Watershed Case Profile Series that features communities leading by example in British Columbia


“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 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,” stated Melony Burton.

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RECONNECTING HYDROLOGY & STREAM ECOLOGY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Historical context for an ecosystem-based approach to managing land and water in the urban environment – the coming together of a group of change agents in 1997 set in motion a chain of outcomes


The late Erik Karlsen conceived and championed the idea of a Watershed/Landscaped-Based Approach to Community Planning. His last assignment while in government was to collaborate with a Metro Vancouver interdisciplinary working group to produce the conceptual framework for the approach. The underpinning premise is that resource, land use and community design decisions will be made with an eye towards their potential impact on the watershed. is a prime application of the ‘watershed/landscape-based’ approach.

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Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems: “We need to re-learn basically ‘how we think’, using both the right and left hemispheres of our brain,” says Eva Kras, author of THE BLOCKAGE


“Short-term thinking governs much of what we do. In many organizations, the long-term view has somehow become excluded. Both ways of thinking are important, but the sad part is that we have convinced ourselves that the Left Hemisphere can do EVERYTHING. The new research by Ian McGilchrist now ‘turns the table’ because it demonstrates the true and indispensable role of the Right Hemisphere for ALL sustainable development work,” states Eva Kras.

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Flashback to 2003: "Re-Inventing Urban Hydrology for Watershed Protection" – British Columbia process showcased by EPA to an American audience at national conference


“The timing of this national conference, and the exposure to the British Columbia experience, coincided well with the implementation of U.S. EPA’s Phase II NPDES Storm Water Program during 2003,” recalls Eric Strecker. “We invited Kim Stephens to present a paper about the British Columbia Guidebook because we thought it would make a good fit with the theme of thinking beyond regulations to solving the problem.”

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MILESTONE RECOGNITION IN 2012 – 'Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia' has proven to be a catalyst for decade-long action


“In 2002, the Guidebook applied a science-based understanding, developed the water balance methodology to establish performance targets, and demonstrated that urban watershed restoration could be accomplished over a 50-year time-frame as and when communities redevelop,” states Peter Law. “The premise underpinning the Guidebook was that land development and watershed protection can be compatible.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: "Visualize what we want our watersheds to look like in 50 years" – theme for ISMP Course Correction in British Columbia


“The genesis for Integrated Stormwater Management Plans was a desire to integrate the community, engineering, planning and environmental perspectives. The implicit goal was to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with ecology. Local governments knew they had to do business differently to restore watershed health,” stated Robert Hicks.

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Affordable & Effective Asset Management: Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool supports implementation of “Sustainable Service Delivery” by local governments in British Columbia


“The Screening Tool is an intermediary step in the assessment process that also happens to include the opportunity to provide a look at how climate change will affect the drainage systems. The tool also makes it is easy to assess the relative significance of changes in land use, in particular densification. Local governments can now consider both climate change and land use change at the same time, and with the same tool,” says Jim Dumont.

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Creating the Future in British Columbia: Recognize and Address the “Shifting Baseline”


“Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss. You can have a succession of changes. At the end you want to sustain miserable leftovers. And the question is, why do people accept this?,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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Mantra for Sustainable Rainwater Management in British Columbia: "Build a Vision, Create a Legacy"


“Fundamental change in the scope of rainwater/stormwater planning, development standards, construction and operations will only happen if there is a broad understanding as to why the changes are needed, what they are, and how they can be practically implemented. The ability of consumers and the development community to adapt will then set the pace of change,” stated Erik Karlsen.

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Adapting to a Changing Climate: “We try to inspire communities to have a vision of their future, what they will look like on the ground in fifty years,” says Tim Pringle


“After ten years of involvement with the Partnership for Water Sustainability, I feel as committed as ever. At times, I find myself amazed at the collective expertise of the volunteers who work in Partnership initiatives. Their wisdom makes the work of the Partnership efficient; it allows a great deal to be done with very limited dollars. We collaborate with practitioners as equals and take services to their territories,” states Tim Pringle.

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