Convening for Action at the University of Victoria: Towards a New Infrastructure – Integrated and Water-Centric Planning
Stage set for an integrated approach to urban watershed restoration that can inform A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island
Building on the interest and momentum generated by successful series on both sides of the Georgia Basin in 2007, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island collaborated with the Capital Regional District and the Green Infrastructure Partnership to present Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation in the Capital Region: The 2008 Series.
The third in the series was held on October 10 at the University of Victoria, and was co-hosted by the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. For a program overview, click on this link to download a copy of Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation at the University of Victoria.
A compact, complete community
A community of more than 25,000 people, the University of Victoria (UVic) is a case study for green buildings and compact growth. Over the past five years, UVic has been able to transition from an incremental approach in planning and resource management to a water-centric approach that is much more holistic and integrated –– the new business as usual.
“This transformational experience resulted in a new vision for constructing water and energy efficient buildings in a built environment that respects the natural environment,” reports Sarah Webb of the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.” UVic is leading by example in implementing approaches and practices that achieve Design with Nature outcomes, and reduce physical impacts resulting from intensive urbanization.”
A set of five PowerPoint Presentations in the morning provided context for the day and set the scene for a campus walkabout after lunch. The walkabout provided an on-the-ground opportunity to see exactly how UVic is implementing its vision for ‘designing with nature’.
- Eric Bonham: Creating Our Future – The New Business As Usual (Visualize What We Want Vancouver Island to Look Like in 50 Years). Eric Bonham explained how CAVI got started and provided insight as to why this bottom-up initiative is resonating with local government and beyond. To watch and listen to a video of Eric’s 10-minute presentation, click here.
- Glen Brown: Green Infrastructure: Leadership in Water Sustainability. Glen Brown explained how the Province is employing its infrastructure grant programs to influence green infrastructure policie and practices, and thereby facilitate change on the ground. To watch and listen to a video of Glen’s10-minute presentation, please click here.
- Oliver Brandes: Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps. Oliver Brandes elaborated on the concept and principles of the Soft Path for water. He emphasized that water conservation is emerging as a new kind of infrastructure and is the next best source of “new” water for growing communities.
- Susanne Porter-Bopp: Turning Research into Action – Water Soft Path Pilot Projects in BC and Beyond. Susanne Porter-Bopp built on the presentation by Oliver Brandes. She elaborated on the Water Conservation and Stewardship Pilot Program launched by POLIS in Spring 2008. This is the first test anywhere in the world of the application of water soft path planning concepts in a variety of jurisdictional and geographical settings.
- Sarah Webb: Integrated Planning and Sustainability. According to Sarah Webb, “The UVIC Campus has many of the same challenges that small cities do…The knowledge and expertise from our students, faculty and staff can help create practical and innovative solutions!” She then went on to describe how the 2003 Campus Plan outlines the university’s commitment to low impact development; smart growth and integrated building design to enhance and protect UVic’s unique campus environment.
Afterwards, Eric Bonham observed that “The presentations were excellent and the continuity of the sustainability message from one speaker to the next was clearly well thought out and obvious to those attending.”
“The CAVI Leadership Team is delighted with the UVIC-CAVI partnership and also note the innovative partnership between POLIS and the Ministry of Community Development,” continued Eric Bonham. “UVIC clearly has a unique role to play in the sustainability story in the CRD and beyond. Without doubt the academy is well placed to push the envelope and try new ideas.”
Group Exercise – providing input to UVic’s Sustainability Policy & Action Plan
Throughout 2008, the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability is undertaking a process to develop a new and innovative Sustainability Policy and Action Plan. This one of the key strategies to help achieve the UVic mission:
- “We are committed to promoting the development of a sustainable society through our programs of education and research and the stewardship of our own financial and physical resources.”
“On October 10, participants had a sneak peek at the water section of the draft action plan and provided ideas and input from their own knowledge and experiences,” explained Sarah Webb. “It was a unique opportunity to help shape the future of sustainability at UVic.” To watch and listen to a video of Sarah explaining the rules of engageement for the group exercise, click on this link to Water-Centric Planning at UVic.
“The ‘brainstorming’ exercise was a worthwhile component of the session program,” added Eric Bonham. “Once again the University can stretch across the campus to include social sciences, engineering, political science, environmental studies, law, philosophy and education to address issues around sustainability including, I would suggest such topics as ethics, values etc.”
Shaping Our Region’s Future
After the working group exercise, Councillor Vic Derman of the District of Saanich presented his blueprint titled The Natural City. “Accomplishing it will not be easy but the rewards will be worth the effort,” stated Derman. “Getting even close to The Natural City would: fulfill the vision of the Regional Growth Strategy, help meet the challenge of climate change and all but guarantee our future economic success. Can we afford to do anything else?”
The design process outlined by Vic Derman does not differ greatly from traditional approaches with one exception. “The usual approach is to acquire land, decide what will be placed on it, then go about making it sustainable as possible,” explainied Vic Derman. “The layered approach effectively turns this upside down. Rather than being ‘fitted into the project’ after key decisions have been made, elements such as sustainability, amenity and social equity become the drivers of development outcomes.”
To read more about Vic Derman’s presentation, click on this link to The Natural City Vision: Three Lenses to Shape the Future of Southern Vancouver Island.
Informing A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island:
“The CAVI Leadership Team anticipates that The Natural City vision will help shape the design of the program elements for the 2009 CAVI program, in particular how the current multi-jurisdictional Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative could inform A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island,” observes Kim Stephens, organizer of the Showcasing Innovation Series and Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
Links to YouTube Videos
Click on the links below to access and view video clips on YouTube of the members of the UVic presentation team telling their stories. These videos supplement the PowerPoint presentations and provide context and flavour.
Delegates toured a number of different LEED buildings, viewed innovative landscape projects, and learned about the campus waste water treatment system and rainwater management programs. “The walkabout demonstrated that sustainability leadership at UVICis truly happening on the ground,” observed Eric Bonham. To gain an appreciation for the accomplishments of UVic, click on this link to Sarah Webb explains green roof.
About the 2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series
The goal of the Showcasing Innovation Series is to promote networking, inform and educate practitioners, and help local governments move ‘from awareness to action’ in doing business differently — The New Business As Usual — through sharing of approaches, tools, experiences and lessons learned that will ultimately inform a pragmatic strategy for climate change adaptation.
Previous Waterbucket Stories:
Seven stories about Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation at the University of Victoria and the Capital Region Series as a whole were posted previously:
- The Natural City Vision:Three Lenses to Shape the Future of Southern Vancouver Island — Vic Derman publishes a “call to action” – implement an integrated approach to urban watershed restoration!
- Meeting the Climate Change Challenge on Vancouver Island: The Natural CIty Vision – getting from here to there — At the University of Victoria on October 10, Sannich Councillor Vic Derman will outline an integrated approach to urban watershed restoration that can inform A Positive Settlement Strategy for Vancouver Island\
- The University of Victoria’s POLIS Project Thinks Beyond Pipes and Pumps – and Takes Action Towards a New Water Infrastructure in BC and Beyond —University of Victoria and POLIS co-host third of three showcasing events in the 2008 Vancouver Island Series organized by CAVI (October 10, 2008)
- Sustainability Policy and Action Plan: University of Victoria showcases on-the-ground implementation — UVic precedent provides local governments with a template for moving from talk to action
- Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation: Towards a New Infrastructure – Integrated and Water-Centric Planning at the University of Victoria and Beyond — University of Victoria and POLIS co-host third of three showcasing events in the 2008 Vancouver Island Series organized by CAVI
- “2008 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series on Vancouver Island” features community-scale projects —Series builds on 2007 Georgia Basin program successes to demonstrate what “The New Business As Usual” means
- Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2008 Capital Region Series — CAVI announces partnership with CRD to deliver program that builds capacity for Climate Change Adaptation
Posted October 2008