EDUCATIONAL PROCESS BRIDGES GAP IN UNDERSTANDING IN ENGINEERING COMMUNITY: “The result is an approach where assumptions and simplifications are understood by both parties and where there is mutual agreement as to their applicability to development site characteristics and the rainwater management objectives,” stated Shelley Ashfield, Director of Operations with the Town of Comox

    Comox is a beacon of inspiration for the Town’s water balance approach to land development. Their experience illustrates what it takes to successfully move the land development industry and engineering profession in a new direction. “Opening minds to accept changes in practice is challenging, especially when there is no direct regulatory or prescriptive requirement at the provincial level. Now that the Northeast Comox rainwater management plan is in place, water balance modeling is a requirement, and supporting bylaws help us regulate what developers must do on the ground,” stated Shelley Ashfield.

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    URBAN DESIGN, NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING & PACKAGE OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Town of Comox precedents are working examples of what “reconnecting hydrology and ecology” looks like in practice

    Town of Comox experience demonstrates that ‘Ecological Services are Core Municipal Services, not an Add-On’. Mayor Russ Arnott elaborates: “The ecological services within Brooklyn Creek are integral components of the Town’s core services of rainwater management, parks and fish habitat protection. Once the Town switched to viewing ecological services as core municipal services, we then asked ourselves: how can we do things better? The Draft Anderton Corridor Neighbourhood Concept Plan is the result.”

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    WHOLE-SYSTEM, WATER BALANCE TRAINING FOR ENGINEERS: “The Town’s experience is that the weak link in drainage analyses is always the assumptions,” stated Shelley Ashfield, Municipal Engineer, when she explained why the Town of Comox took on responsibility for an educational process to bridge a gap in practitioner understanding

    How water gets to a stream, and how long it takes, is not well understood among land and drainage practitioners. “A lack of explicit identification and justification of the assumptions and simplifications made in the analysis of stormwater impacts has resulted in stormwater systems that address hypothetical as opposed to actual site characteristics and development impacts,” stated Shelley Ashfield. “Learning from this experience, the Town now requires that assumptions be stated and explained. We are saying WHAT is your assumption, and WHY.”

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