The Story of East Courtenay over the past two decades: from fields and forest to urban community

Note to Reader:

In 2008, Vancouver Island was the pilot region for a collaborative and inclusive approach to practitioner continuing education. A key objective was to establish consistency at local front counters so that developers and development consultants hear a consistent message as to what is expected of them regarding rainwater management and green infrastructure.

The Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series was an integral part of this provincial initiative. The implementation program built on the foundation provided by Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, published in 2002, and incorporated lessons learned over the past six years in moving from planning to action.

Create Liveable Communities and Protect Stream Health: East Courtenay Case Study

According to Kevin Lagan, Director of Operational Services for the City of Courtenay. “We featured the east Courtenay area in the first seminar because this part of the city has evolved from fields and forest over the past two decades, and so has our approach to rainwater/ stormwater management. We incorporated a walkabout at the front-end of the seminar program so that participants would have a visual frame of reference for concepts that will be covered in the curriculum for the second and third seminars.”

Ian Whitehead’s 20-year history as the City’s consultant of record provided a historical retrospective on the evolution of drainage practices in east Courtenay. To view his PowerPoint presentation, click on this link to The Story of East Courtenay over the past two decades: from fields and forest to urban community. These slides are complemented by a set of video clips. See below for YouTube links.

East Courtenay – that was then, and this is now

Shown below are two aerial photos, the first from 1964, and the second within recent years (circa 2008). This comparison illustrates the change from fields and forest to urban community. The remaining area of forest is protected as parkland.

Stormwater Paradigms

In 2001, Andy Reese introduced the concept of a continuum of stormwater paradigms. People and communities progress at different rates along the continuum – nearby communities in the same region may even be guided by different paradigms. This provides context for the East Courtenay experience.

To Learn More:

To read the article, click on this link to Do you know where you really are in the shifting paradigms of stormwater management?

Links to YouTube Videos

The presentation by Ian Whitehead set the scene for a walkabout through the Glacier View Pond area. The walkabout provided an on-the-ground illustration of how the engineering approach to detention pond design has evolved in response to changing expectations. Click on the individual images to view the set of YouTube videos corresponding to the three segments of Ian’s presentation.

In this first 10-minute clip, Ian Whitehead introduces the evolution theme and drew on his experience over 20 years to provide context for the Glacier View case study. He reflects on changes in drainage practice as he has implemented in East Courtenay over the past two decades.

In the second 10-minute clip, Ian delves into the next level of detail in terms of illustrating what the evolution in drainage practices looks like on the ground in Courtenay. His emphasis is on how to achieve a water balance through ground infiltration of rainwater runoff.

In the final 9-minute clip, Ian sets the stage for the walkabout by describing the elements of the Glacier View case study. He presents a series of slides taken during construction, completed in 2008.

Walkabout – YouTube Videos

To view a set of videos taken at points of interest along the the walkabout route, click on this link to EXPECTATIONS EVOLVE OVER TIME: A walkabout through the Glacier View Pond Area illustrated changes in rainwater management practice in the City of Courtenay (September 2008).