Village Vancouver

Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities

Vancouver is in the midst of installing a separated storm sewer system costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars.  Some few special projects aside, the city now requires new development to direct all rain run-off into the storm sewer system, from roof gutters and other impermeable surfaces.

Just one street in the entire city has been built under Low Impact Development (LID) design principles, Crown Street in 2005.  This street includes surface stormwater drainage and natural filtration, but the consulting contract ($311,000) to design this 485 metre street section cost almost as much as the construction budget ($396,000).  At double the price of standard street construction, this project was truly unsustainable from an economic perspective.  

Other cities undertake LID street retrofits and SAVE money, as shown in the first article attached below.   The third attachment, also from Sightline, reviews in just 5 pages (with a comprehensive bibliography) the toxic nature of stormwater run-off, especially to fish life.  The death of an egg-bearing Coho salmon takes centre stage.

Vancouver's water table cleans our local beaches and ocean water, and protects our salmon and the millions of other species of plant and animal life that depend on the water that falls onto our city.  At stake, however, is not just our city's reputation for ecological sustainability, but our high water table actually holds up our housing stock, keeping both peat and even clay layers under our foundations from drying up and shrinking.

Read the three attached articles, two short articles from Sightline on LID, the first of which which mentions Vancouver's Crown Street, and a longer study by USC on stormwater management best practices from 5 years ago.  For additional information, see Sightline's 10-part series on stormwater here.

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Hi Randy --


Thanks for the shout out to Sightline in your post. I was just poking around looking for more examples of LID in BC and came across it. You note that Vancouver hasn't done much in the way of building green streets. Since you did this post, have you heard about any other efforts to support LID in your area? Always looking for more examples to feature.





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