Towards Watershed Sustainability: City of Surrey experience is informing the ’Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative’

Note to Reader:

The Champion Supporter designation recognizes government and non-government organizations that are playing a leadership role in the ‘Convening for Action in British Columbia’ initiative. In April 2013, the presentation of a framed “letter of recognition” to the City of Surrey by Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC provided the opportunity to reflect on the historical and provincial significance of successive transformational events hosted by the City over the past decade.

Getting Green Infrastructure “Built Right”: City of Surrey has Moved Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach

“The City of Surrey’s long-term commitment is helping the Partnership advance the vision for achieving watershed sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices,” states Kim Stephens.

“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,” elaborates Vincent Lalonde, General Manager of the Engineering Department for the City of Surrey. “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.”

“Surrey hosted the 2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum because we wanted to start a dialogue in this region between policy-makers and project implementers. 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.”

Provincially Significant Events Hosted by the City

After presenting the “Champion Supporter” letter of recogition, Kim Stephens took City Council on a trip down memory lane and informed Councillors about the significance of these events:

  • May 2005: Green Infrastructure Consultation Workshop
  • June 2006: Celebrating Green Infrastructure Innovation Pilot Series
  • November 2007: Beyond the Guidebook Seminar
  • March 2009: Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum
  • November 2011: Pilot Course on the “ISMP Course Correction”

“Surrey case studies are foundation pieces for evolution of provincial approaches and tools. Surrey experience is currently informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. Collaboration will help everyone go farther, more efficiently and effectively, to restore and protect watershed health,” concludes Kim Stephens.

To Learn More:

To read the complete story posted on the Convening for Action community-of-interest, click on Getting Green Infrastructure “Built Right”: City of Surrey has Moved Beyond Pilot Projects to a Broader Watersheds Objectives Approach.

Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative

When he presented the “letter of recognition”, Kim Stephens also foreshadowed how collaboration with Vancouver Island local governments will help Metro Vancouver members fulfil regulatory requirements for protecting watershed health.

Integrate the Site with the Watershed and Stream

“In May 2011, the Minister’s conditions of approval for the region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan connected the dots between land use planning and watershed health.”

“This is the year that we wrestle this issue to the ground. The Partnership is facilitating an inter-regional collaborative process that will bring together local government representatives from the Metro Vancouver region and four largest Vancouver Island regional districts, as well as representatives from two regional offices of the Ministry of Environment.”

“The theme is Watershed Health: how to measure it and how to monitor progress.”

“The concept is that each of the five regions will host a ‘sharing and learning’ working session: what each is doing, what works and what does not.”

Consistent Application of Outcome-Oriented Actions

“The desired outcome is inter-regional consensus on a performance monitoring framework that can be used to adjust actions and inform land use planning that maintains healthy streams. The framework must be effective, affordable and adaptable.  And a key to creating a long-term legacy is that implementation would involve the stewardship sector,” concluded Kim Stephens.