Seminar 1 – from Expectations to Standards

TODAY’S EXPECTATIONS ARE TOMORROW’S STANDARDS – theme for Seminar 1 of inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (September 2008)

The first Comox Valley seminar on September 19th 2008 was introductory in scope, with the objective of stimulating the interest of participants in doing self-exploration by digging into a list of web resources at their leisure. “A set of four presentations provided context for the day and set the scene for a walkabout through the Glacier View Pond area in East Courtenay. After the walkabout, we delved into the details of BC’s Stormwater Guidebook and how the Water Balance Model had been developed as an extension of the Guidebook,” stated Kim Stephens.

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

“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 and 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,” stated Kevin Lagan. A key objective is consistency at local front counters so that developers and development consultants hear a consistent message as to what is expected of them.

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CREATING LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES & PROTECTING STREAM HEALTH: “Adapting to climate change and reducing impact on the environment will be conditions of receiving provincial infrastructure funding,” stated Catriona Weidman when she explained how the Province of British Columbia is helping goals become practice through the use of grant conditions (2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series)

The Province enacted legislation (Bill 27) that will help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities. The legislation came into force in June 2008. “The Province is leveraging its grants programs to influence changes on the ground. British Columbia is in transtion. Today, assessment criteria are based on a philosophy of ‘the greener the better’ Tomorrow, all projects must meet a green standard,” stated Catriona Weidman.

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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)

A seminar presentation by Ian Whitehead set the scene for a walkabout through the Glacier View Pond area. His 20-year history as the City’s consultant of record provided a historical retrospective on the evolution of drainage practices in east Courtenay. The walkabout provided an on-the-ground illustration of those practices. “In the last 15 to 20 years, we have seen dramatic changes in the Comox Valley in terms of land use. Rainwater effects on the environment have been dramatic,” stated Ian Whitehead.

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Role of building inspectors in green infrastructure: “To get to the big picture, it starts with the smallest pieces”

“We are looking at our building inspectors doing more than just inspecting plumbing and buildings. We want them to be more involved at the front-end of the process, not the back-end when the building is being built. We want them involved at the subdivision stage so that they understand what we want to achieve. In other words, it is more than just a building going up, The building permit is for the site. The site needs to be managed,” stated Kevin Lagan.

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CONNECTING DOTS: Stormwater Guidebook > Performance Targets > Water Balance Model

“What we want are liveable communities and healthy streams. In 2002, the Guidebook brought together Washington State biology and British Columbia hydrology. We are ready for the next big push. Lessons learned since publication of the Guidebook have been incorporated in the ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ initiative. What we once believed to be unachievable is now within our grasp. We can now relate how you manage volume on the site to what you see in the stream … the stream is the canary in the coal mine,” stated Kim Stephens.

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