Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series promotes consistent provincial approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure
Note to Readers:
The City of Courtenay was the host municipality for the second series of pilot Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminars. The series promoted a consistent provincial approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure, comprised three events, and was held during the period September through November 2008. The first series was hosted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and was held in June/July 2008. The meet-and-greet for each Learning Lunch Seminar started at 10:30am. concluded at 3:00 pm.
Beyond the Guidebook
The Learning Lunch Seminar Series was part of the implementation program for Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual. This provincial initiative built on the foundation provided by Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, published in 2002, and incorporated lessons learned over six years in moving from planning to action.
Beyond the Guidebook advances a performance target methodology for correlating green infrastructure effectiveness in protecting stream health. To support Beyond the Guidebook, the Province funded integration of the Water Balance Model with a hydrologic engine known as QUALHYMO. The web-based Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO is unique, bridges engineering and planning, links the site to the stream and watershed, and enables local governments to establish watershed targets.
The City of Courtenay has taken the initiative in bringing together an ad hoc group of mid- and north-Island municipalities to share their experiences and learn from each other.
“We call ourselves the Municipalities Group,” explained Derek Richmond, Manager of Engineering for the City of Courtenay. “In addition to the four local governments from the Comox Valley, we have participation from Campbell River, Qualicum Beach and Parksville to name a few. The membership of the Municipalities Group crosses multiple regional district boundaries.”
“In hosting the Learning Lunch Seminar Series, the City of Courtenay’s objective is to start a dialogue with our colleagues and peers,” continued Derek Richmond. “We want to drill down to the nuts-and-bolts of green infrastructure implementation. We have reached a point where most people in local government understand and accept why we need to change the way we develop land and manage rainwater runoff. The question now before us is this: so how will we do it? This is the focus of the Learning Lunch Seminar Series.”
“In the first seminar, the theme will be evolution of drainage practices over the past two decades. After that, the focus will be on tools, in particular legal and policy strategies that will help implement the New Business As Usual. Finally, the third seminar will look at how all the elements of regional needs fit together,” elaborates Derek Richmond. To download a program synopsis, click here.
Consistency at local government front counters
The series is the first step in building a team approach, both inter-departmentally and inter-governmentally. “The desired outcome is that a common understanding of challenges and solutions will result in consistent expectations at front counters across Vancouver Island,” reported Kim Stephens, seminar team leader and Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
“To that end, the purpose of the seminars is to bring together representatives of planning, engineering, operations, building services, environment and parks departments from various municipalities. When developers and development consultants hear a consistent message about what is expected of them, we believe this will lead to implementation of good local examples that will further accelerate doing business differently.”