An Environmental Strategic Plan for the City of Port Coquitlam March 2011 Prepared by
Our Environmental Mission Port Coquitlam will show leadership in supporting a healthy environment.
Our Environmental Vision A healthy environment sustains us – it provides essential life support systems and valuable resources; it is the pre-requisite for a lasting, strong economy; it is a source of beauty, inspiration and spiritual fulfillment.
We envision a future where: ◊ We generate wealth without degrading or polluting the environment; ◊ We use energy and resources efficiently; ◊ We are aware of and connected to the natural world; ◊ We encourage businesses and residents to act as good environmental stewards; ◊ We recognize the importance of other species and their habitats; ◊ Our families can eat healthy, local food, and enjoy clean water, clean air and clean soils; and ◊ We can enjoy natural beauty, tranquility and the magic of a dark night sky.
Table of Contents
Part One: Introduction
Message from the Mayor
Developing the Plan
Global Changes - Local Issues
Fitting It Together
Building Blocks of the EnviroPlan
Part Two: Our Environmental Plan
Our Environmental Mission and Vision
Community Initiatives and Collaboration
Port Coquitlamâ€™s Big Ideas
Part Three: The Eight Pillars
Part Four: Conclusion
DRAFT Executive Summary The City of Port Coquitlam has embarked on a timely and exciting journey to ensure that a healthy environment is part of our overall strategy for a prosperous, livable and sustainable community. This Environmental Strategic Plan (called the EnviroPlan for short) is a major step in that journey because it identifies our key environmental issues and will help us achieve our environmental goals and demonstrate environmental leadership in the region. The EnviroPlan builds upon the City’s overall Mission that includes “decisionmaking that integrates the social, economic and environmental interests of the community” as well as the City’s Vision that “the environment is nurtured for present and future generations.” The EnviroPlan furthers our leadership com mit ment to t he env iron ment.
It provides an environmental framework for the City, identifies our environmental goals and objectives, and describes strategies to reach these goals.
Our Environmental Mission Port Coquitlam will show leadership in supporting a healthy environment.
The EnviroPlan includes: ◊ a mission and vision that offers an inspiring picture of the future that we are working towards; ◊ a clear and logical framework that organizes our existing and proposed environmental initiatives into eight pillars; ◊ i nformation on key environmental topics and issues; ◊ a range of clearly articulated goals; ◊ “ Strategic Directions” that describe the overall steps we will take to reach our goals; and ◊ a set of “Big Ideas” that represent best practices and innovations in the field.
An Implementation Plan accompanies the EnviroPlan as a complementary internal working document, to guide the City’s activities and plans. The Implementation Plan details specific actions, timelines, roles and responsibilities, and monitoring and evaluation targets. It also indicates financial and other resources necessary to undertake the actions. The EnviroPlan framework and the accompanying Implementation Plan provide important guidance for decisionmaking as well as day-to-day activities of staff. The EnviroPlan is designed to garner the support of the public, local organizations and other levels of governments and coordinate the efforts of all players to act in the best interests of the environment.
The process of developing the EnviroPlan offered opportunities for meaningful dialogue and engagement with the public and key stakeholders; increased the capacity of all those involved to understand and address environmental relationships and priorities; and built support and consensus among the various stakeholders for priority actions. The EnviroPlan organizes the City’s understanding of the issues and its priority responses to them so that efforts can be consistent, well coordinated and effective.
The EnviroPlan provides a platform to let dreams for our future take flight.
Part One: Introduction It seems that just about every day the headlines are filled with a new environmental challenge. As the dominant species in just about every major ecosystem on the planet, we have a duty of care, responsibility and stewardship of the natural world. Municipalities are key players in helping society develop a more responsible relationship with the environment. They are the most immediate and accessible form of government and have considerable powers over waste and resource management, land use, development control and open space design.
The City of Port Coquitlam has a history of demonstrating environmental leadership within the Region. Our EnviroPlan builds upon our successes and offers a path forward to a better future, by creating a vision, goals, and strategic environmental priorities. It is supported by an Implementation Plan - an internal working document that will help City staff identify the detailed steps necesssary to achieve our environmental goals.
The Implementation Plan includes: ◊ specific actions; ◊ roles and responsibilities; ◊ monitoring and evaluation (with performance measures); ◊ timing and priorities; and ◊ financial and resources.
Port Coquitlam’s track record in environmental leadership includes pesticidefree parks and sports fields, anti-idling policies, streamkeeper and watershed programs, integrated watershed management plans, watercourse development permit guidelines, kitchen food scrap collection, a green roof bylaw and triple bottom line sustainability checklist for development reviews.
Despite these positive steps there is still lots to do. Governments, citizens and businesses are essential players in addressing our environmental challenges. The Port Coquitlam EnviroPlan is our way of showing leadership and contributing to a healthy, sustainable environment in the Region. A complete vision of environmental sustainability involves goals that relate specifically to the environment as well as its relationship to social and economic dimensions, as shown in the diagram below. This is part of a “Triple Bottom Line” approach - success and health in the economy, the environment, and society. These relationships were considered in the creation of the EnviroPlan.
The City’s Mission includes “decision-making that integrates the social, economic and environmental interests of the community.” The City’s Vision is that “the environment is nurtured for present and future generations.” Port Coquitlam is demonstrating its commitment to the environment through innovations in policy and programs. In addition to the EnviroPlan, the City has completed a Climate Action Plan and a Heritage Strategy. Port Coquitlam is also a signatory to the Province’s Climate Action Charter.
Port Coquitlam’s EnviroPlan describes the “what” and “why” of the City’s environmental strategy. Ideas were collected from the public, staff and community stakeholders in order to grow a vision that is particularly relevant to our community and context.
Message from the Mayor I’m very pleased to present the EnviroPlan, a critical step in the City of Port Coquitlam’s journey towards environmental leadership and a more complete community. It seems everyone has a different opinion on climate change, but few people can argue that our global climate is changing and that humans have contributed to what is happening. It’s important that, from our own homes and communities, we start to create the change that is required to leave behind a healthier environment for our children. We must turn the corner from damaging our environment to enhancing it. For the City of Port Coquitlam, the EnviroPlan is part of our strategy to help us turn that corner. The City’s first-ever Environmental Strategic Plan, the EnviroPlan will elevate the importance of the environment in the decisions we make every day. It will ensure the City considers the environment to the same degree that we consider factors such as finances, community safety, social issues and transportation. We’ll now have a consistent, effective approach to the environment, just as we do for the other things we value. By moving in this greener direction, we’re also responding to what we’ve been hearing from our community. Our citizens, and the world around us, have been calling for a more environmentally sustainable approach to how we work and provide services. In developing the EnviroPlan, one of our priorities was to reach out to the community and key stakeholders to ensure the plan reflects what’s most important to you. As a result, this plan is based on our citizens’ direction. The community has inspired and driven the EnviroPlan. It’s now up to all of us to embrace the plan and make sure its vision is translated into a healthier earth for future generations.
Mayor Greg Moore
Developing the Plan Figure 1. EnviroPlan Process
The EnviroPlan process includes five phases (shown in illustration, above): In preparation for the EnviroPlan, an Environmental Context Report (Phase 1) was created that involved the gathering of information, programs and policies relating to present environmental conditions in Port Coquitlam. The Environmental Context Report addressed trends, existing environmental initiatives, areas for improvement, and best practices in the following topic areas: ◊ Habitat & Biodiversity ◊ W ater, Rainwater & Liquid Waste ◊ S olid Waste, Materials & Resources
◊ L and Use, Transportation & Development ◊ Climate Change & Energy ◊ Air, Noise & Light Pollution ◊ Agriculture & Food The EnviroPlan involved ideas and comments from a wide variety of community stakeholders, public and staff who helped develop environmental priorities and highlight issues and concerns (Phase 2). This phase gathered input, ideas and feedback and summarized these in a Priorities Report.
The following stakeholder groups were consulted: ◊ L ocal Environmental & Community Organizations ◊ Local Developers ◊ Kwikwetlem First Nation ◊ O ther Government and External Agencies An online survey and an Environmental Forum were used to gather initial ideas and feedback from the public, and staff workshops were held with municipal departments to ensure those that would be implementing the EnviroPlan had a chance to provide input. Phase 3 and Phase 4 were undertaken concurrently, focusing on the creation of a Draft Plan (Phase 3) and a supporting Implementation Plan (Phase 4). The Draft Plan identified priorities, strategic directions, and Big Ideas to address Port Coquitlam’s environmental goals. The internal Implementation Plan was created to ensure that strategies and ideas to support the EnviroPlan vision come to fruition. The Implementation Plan is a working document for City staff and includes roles and responsibilities, specific actions, monitoring and evaluation, timing and priorities, as well as financial resources to integrate the EnviroPlan into City decision-making.
At the end of these phases, the EnviroPlan was presented to the public and community stakeholders for review. In the final phase (Phase 5), the EnviroPlan and Implementation Plan were finalized using feedback received from the public, community stakeholders, City Staff and Council.
Global Changes - Local Issues We live in changing times. Trends in our current and past behaviours have resulted in global and regional impacts on our environment. These global and regional changes will have local impacts and we are already witnessing changes as a result of climate change for example. These changes and issues are important to recognize and understand, so that we may both reduce our contribution to the problem and also ensure that we can adapt to this changing world. Some of the more pertinent change factors are described below.
Climate Change & Energy Use
Possible impacts include severe agricultural collapses, water shortages, droughts, and sea level rise. The Lower Mainland can expect more extreme weather, warmer summers and winters and changes in precipitation patterns. Secondary impacts of these changes include increased disease potential, water shortages or floods, increased heatrelated deaths, poor air quality and negative impacts on wildlife. Port Coquitlamâ€™s most apparent vulnerability is flooding due to rising peak river flows combined with sea level rise. The City is surrounded on three sides by water and a significant portion of the community is in a floodplain.
Climate change is quickly becoming the most urgent issue facing humanity. Global temperatures over the next century are predicted to jump between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius â€“ the most abrupt increase in human history (IPCC, 2008). Climate change will have major impacts globally and locally. The most recent review of scientific evidence by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded global emissions need to peak before 2015, with 50% to 85% reductions below 2000 levels by 2050, if we are to avoid tipping points with dangerous disruptions (IPCC, 2007).
In addition, there are steadily mounting energy supply challenges with policy and price implications. These will likely have a significant impact on behaviour and drive changes in technology related to transportation, buildings, and industrial processes. With the global demand for energy increasing at a much faster rate than the supply, all societies are facing future energy scarcities unless a transition can be made to alternative forms. In BC, electricity prices are expected to rise on average 6.5% per year for the next ten years, almost doubling electricity expenditures (BCUC, 2008).
Increased Demands ON Water QUANTITY & QUALITY The changing climate is expected to alter water flow patterns and levels, affecting water supplies, sometimes in unpredictable ways. Climate change is predicted to lead to a reduced snowpack on which most of the regionâ€™s potable water supplies are based. Diminishing surface water and groundwater supplies, coupled with increasing demands for these resources, will challenge all aspects of water resource management. Water restrictions during extended dry spells are already necessary to manage demand in many Lower Mainland communities.
Associated with demand is water quality. Relative to many other countries, water quality is generally very good in Port Coquitlam, though historically water quality issues have arisen from severe rainfall events. However, pollution from industries, agriculture and other sources continues to enter water bodies; recent studies have found pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and endocrine disrupting compounds in water supplies (Environment Canada, 2008). The volume of wastewater generated, and the infrastructure needed to manage it, is directly related to water consumption. Treated wastewater, typically containing some level of pollutants, is usually discharged back to water bodies in the environment. In the case of Port Coquitlam, this is the Fraser River and eventually the Strait of Georgia. Growth and development add pressures to water supplies and ecosystems, affecting watersheds within the city as well as outside. Potable water supplies in the region are finite and a good supply of clean, fresh water is essential for fish and aquatic species.
Threats to Biodiversity Biodiversity – short for biological diversity – refers to the variety of life in all its forms. It includes the diversity of ecosystems, species and genes and the natural processes that link them. The World Conservation Union has ranked 40% of the 40,000 species it has evaluated as being threatened with extinction. According to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment more than half of the earth’s grasslands, forests, rivers and lakes have been degraded, along with their ability to perform essential ecosystem functions and support life.
British Columbia and the Metro Vancouver region are known and valued for their ecological riches. There are many stresses and pressures on wildlife and their habitats including expansion of the urban area resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation, roadkill, direct harvesting of species for hunting and food, disturbance of sensitive habitats, and pollution of air, water and soil. Efforts in Port Coquitlam have been focused on fish habitat and watercourse and wetland protection. This includes undertaking some fish habitat enhancement projects on Hyde, Maple and Cedar creeks (e.g. instream complexing; alcove ponds) and supporting local streamkeeper and stewardship groups. It also includes the creation of a new Pitt River Intertidal area. Other issues such as the maintenance of forest cover, invasive species, and biodiversity value of the community’s agricultural area have received less emphasis.
Pressures from Land Use, Transportation and Development Globally, the combination of population increases and unsustainable consumption patterns is placing increasingly severe stress on the life-supporting capacities of the earth.
The City of Port Coquitlam has experienced rapid growth in recent decades, a pattern that will likely continue for the foreseeable future. In the next 10 years, population and employment levels are expected to show significant growth, with estimates showing an increase from the current 58,000 residents to 70,000 residents by 2021 (City of Port Coquitlam, 2005). These projected demographic changes will place increased demands on the City’s transportation system and limited land base. In a region bordered by mountains, parks and the Agricultural Land Reserve, land is becoming a scarce resource that must be used wisely. Single-occupancy vehicles are still the most prevalent mode of travel in Port Coquitlam. Emissions from transportation are a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions; compact development and mixed-use neighbourhoods can reduce transportation needs and encourage alternative modes such as walking, cycling and transit.
Solid Waste, Materials and Resources The increasing population in North America, and in the developing world, will continue to direct our decision-making as a nation and the decisions of our local industries and international companies. In particular we can expect a greatly increased demand for raw resources.
Management of materials and resources in cities has far-reaching environmental impacts, from “upstream” impacts such as extraction and processing of resources for manufacturing, to “downstream” impacts such as pollution from waste disposal. Disposal of these materials is causing existing landfills to reach capacity, and it is increasingly difficult to site new landfills to serve the Metro Vancouver Region. The overall recycling, food scraps and yard trimming diversion rate for residential municipal waste in Port Coquitlam is 63% (City of Port Coquitlam, 2010) - ahead of the Metro Vancouver average of 55% (Metro Vancouver, 2010).
Local impacts include pollution of local water bodies and soils from materials that are improperly disposed outside of the solid waste management system. Solid waste accounts for approximately 9% of provincial greenhouse gas emissions (Environment Canada, 2006); landfill-only solid waste emissions for Port Coquitlam were estimated at 3.2% of the total community emissions in 2009 (BC MoE, 2009).
Impacts of Air, LIGHT AND Noise Pollution Air, light and noise affect our health and well-being – essentially the quality of life that is valued by Port Coquitlam residents. Port Coquitlam lies in the Lower Fraser Valley Airshed, part of the Georgia Coast Cascade (GCC) Air Basin. There are thousands of sources of air pollutants in the GCC Air Basin, ranging from passenger vehicles to industrial plants, and bulk refuelling stations to home furnaces. While Metro Vancouver experiences good air quality relative to many other urban areas, not all ambient air quality objectives are met all the time. Emissions of some contaminants such as particulates and greenhouse gases are forecast to increase as a result of population growth, trade and transportation.
Light pollution is recognized as having harmful effects on both wildlife and humans (Environmental Health Perspectives: Journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 117(1) 2009). It obscures the stars and moon that many nocturnal insects, birds and animals use for navigation; it can confuse wildlife and fish. Light pollution has also been linked to depression, sleep deprivation and high blood pressure in humans. Finally, light pollution represents wasted energy and money on a global scale. In North America, the energy waste in illuminating the sky is estimated at a billion dollars. “Noiseload” is the accumulated sounds that we are subjected to each day from traffic, planes, machinery, ventilation, construction, appliances – the list is long. Like light pollution, noise pollution can affect wildlife use of otherwise usable habitat as well as reduce the livability of the human environment. In addition to the impact of noise on hearing, other effects on the body include: loss of sleep, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and cardiovascular constriction (WHO, 1995).
Threats to Food Security Globally, there has been a fundamental shift away from the localized and diversified food production, processing, and distribution systems that were typical in the past. Today, our food system is characterized by large centralized points of production, distribution, and processing in countries all over the world. Sustainable food systems are not just about local farming, they are about resiliency of the farm system in the context of the major driving forces such as the energy crisis, peak oil, food security, and development pressure on farm land. The City of Port Coquitlam is a growing urban area. While population growth in this area can be a positive force in local economic development and in range of services, it can also lead to the erosion of farm land, specifically with the prevalence of low-density single use development. A Ministry of Agriculture report stated an additional 200,000 acres of irrigated farmland is needed in Metro Vancouver in order to continue to feed the current population and the additional 800,000 people expected in the next 15-20 years (Metro Vancouver, 2008). In Port Coquitlam, there are approximately 470 hectares of land designated in the ALR. The current viability of agriculture is limited due to small parcel size, soil conditions, and 12
land purchase for residential (non-farming) use. Currently the majority of farms are a mix of berry farming, nursery uses and hobby farms (OCP, 2005). Additional potential for urban agriculture is present in residential yards and vacant lots throughout the City. Farmers in Port Coquitlam are faced with flooding during the winter months and drought during the summer, making drainage and irrigation costly and sometimes technically difficult. In BC, the average age of farmers is 53.6 years old, up from 48.9 years old in 1991; in 2006, only 5.9% of the provinceâ€™s farmers were younger than 35 (Statistics Canada, 2006). This indicates that the next generation of farmers may not exist - a major problem for future food production.
Fitting It Together For the EnviroPlan to be successful, it must include strategies that can be integrated into the activities of multiple City departments as well as reflect the City’s role in supporting the work of external agencies and provincial, regional and federal governments.
Resource Management Plan, Liquid Waste Management Plan, Regional Growth Strategy, and Air Quality Management Plan. Further details on these requirements and commitments are given in subsequent sections of the EnviroPlan.
Much of the City’s environmental agenda is
The EnviroPlan also must integrate and feed into updates of existing City plans, policies
steered by requirements imposed by Federal and Provincial government legislation such as the Riparian Areas Regulations, the Climate Action Charter, and the BC Building Code. The City also has commitments to support Metro Vancouver plans and policies including the Integrated Solid Waste and
and programs. The diagram below shows the relationship of the EnviroPlan to other City documents. The EnviroPlan is a major piece of the City’s overall policy framework.
Building Blocks of the EnviroPlan The EnviroPlan is made up of several building blocks illustrated in the diagram below. The Environmental Vision describes in broad terms the desired environmental future of the City, and the Goals describe more specifically what the plan is aiming to achieve. The Mission, Vision and Goals can be seen as “Ends” - something to strive towards. The Strategic Directions are the “Means” - to help us achieve our Goals and the overall Vision and Mission.
* The Implementation Plan is a complementary internal working document to the high-level EnviroPlan
A healthy environment sustains us â€“ it provides essential life support systems and valuable resources; it is the pre-requisite for a lasting, strong economy; it is a source of beauty, inspiration and spiritual fulfillment.
Part Two: Our Environmental Plan The Environmental Mission of the EnviroPlan guides the overall decision-making of the City in relation to environmental issues. The Environmental Vision paints a picture of a successful, vibrant, environmentally-sound place that residents are proud to call home.
Our Environmental Mission Port Coquitlam will show leadership in supporting a healthy environment.
Our Environmental Vision A healthy environment sustains us – it provides essential life support systems and valuable resources; it is the pre-requisite for a lasting, strong economy; it is a source of beauty, inspiration and spiritual fulfillment. We envision a future where:
◊ w e generate wealth without degrading or polluting the environment;
◊ w e recognize the importance of other species and their habitats;
◊ we use energy and resources efficiently; ◊ w e are aware of and connected to the natural world;
◊ o ur families can eat healthy food and enjoy clean water, clean air and clean soils; and
◊ w e encourage businesses and residents to act as good environmental stewards;
◊ w e can enjoy natural beauty, tranquility and the magic of a dark night sky.
Environmental Goals Responding to both global forces of change and local environmental issues, the Environmental Goals define our aspirations for the future. We recognize that we won’t achieve these goals overnight, and we can’t do it alone. But we will work diligently towards them, working along with residents, businesses, governments and other organizations, making sure that the decisions we make as a municipality and as a community continue to move us in the right direction. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a net zero carbon community. Target: 20% reduction (from 2007 levels) by City - 2017; 8% reduction (from 2007) levels by Community - 2017. (From City of Port Coquitlam’s 2010 Climate Action Plan) Preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health. Target: No net loss of forest, watercourse, and foreshore habitats. “No net loss” means to offset the unavoidable loss of habitats with the creation of functionally similar habitats within the City of Port Coquitlam. Conserve water and protect the waterways within and around the community. Target: Reduce total water consumption by 33% by 2020. (From Provincial Living Water Smart Plan). This includes residential, commercial, institutional and industrial water use. Use materials and resources sparingly and aim for maximum resource recovery of materials. Target: Diversion rate of 80% by 2020.(From Metro Vancouver Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan) Create healthy, livable communities. Target: 90% of residents rate Port Coquitlam as having a healthy, liveable environment - with clean air, water and soil and minimal levels of noise and light pollution. Support sustainable food and agriculture. Target: All residents have access to space for growing food. (community gardens, backyards, rooftops, etc.). 17
Goal: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a NET Zero carbon Community. Existing provincial targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Port Coquitlamâ€™s Climate Action Plan has set a corporate operations GHG reduction target of 20% below 2007 levels by 2017, and a community GHG reduction target of 8% below 2007 levels by 2017. To reach these targets, we must look at ways to reduce emissions in all sectors: transportation, residential and commercial, industry, and waste. Creating more complete, compact communities that reduce the distances we have to travel between home, work and play; reducing our reliance on the single occupancy vehicle; increasing the amount of carbon-absorbing vegetation in our communities; looking at more efficient ways to build and insulate our homes and offices; focusing on renewable energy options; and reducing our waste are all ways to reach this goal.
Goal: Preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health. Ecosystems require 30 to 40% natural land cover in order to effectively provide ecological services such as regulating climate, maintaining adequate oxygen, filtering and purifying water, improving air quality, pollinating plants, and decomposing waste. Biodiversity and habitat also have an intrinsic value, and help maintain a quality-of-life that citizens demand. Integrating and protecting riparian areas and green spaces in our communities at a variety of scales - backyards, boulevards, regional parks and the floodplain - can help achieve this goal.
Goal: Conserve water and protect the waterways within and around the community. As a fundamental building block of life, it is important to preserve water quality and quantity. The provincial â€œLiving Water Smartâ€? program includes the goal of a 33% reduction in per capita water use by 2020. Conserving and protecting our water can be done in a variety of ways. These include: changing our water use habits through behaviour changes and water-efficient appliances; regulating the disposal of pollutants; increasing the ability for rainwater to be absorbed back into the earth; and protecting and repairing riparian habitat.
Goal: Use materials and resources sparingly and aim for maximum resource recovery of materials. The Metro Vancouver Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan includes a minimum target of 70% diversion from landfills by 2015, and an aspirational target of 80% by 2020. This can be accomplished by reducing the amount of materials we use and consume - as individuals; during the production of goods and products; and as businesses and organizations. We also need to look at ways of re-using existing material, and recycling or composting material that canâ€™t be re-used.
Goal: Create healthy, livable communities. People want to live in neighbourhoods that support good health and deliver a high quality of life. These are places with clean air, water and soil; they are also places of peace and quiet, where noise and light levels do not interrupt sleep patterns. They are places where residents can enjoy the beauty of the night sky and appreciate their surroundings. In order to achieve healthy, livable communities, we need to look for ways for people to be more active, reduce air pollution and reduce sources of noise and light pollution - or ideally, eliminate these. Good design of buildings, streets and open spaces play a major part in ensuring the livability of neighbourhoods.
Goal: Support sustainable food and agriculture. Local food and agricultural systems provide food security and resilience for a community. More than just the growing of food, this goal relates to the processing, distribution, celebration, and waste recovery of food - the whole cycle, from farm to fork and back again. Sustainable food and agriculture has reduced synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides) and more opportunities to purchase and consume locally produced foods. Kitchen scraps (in the form of compost) are used as a valuable and nutrient-rich soil amendment, at the same time reducing the amount of waste being sent to the landfill. In a sustainable food system, we become more knowledgeable about where our food comes from - including growing it ourselves, or helping local farmers and local restaurants to prosper from their work.
Community Initiatives and Collaboration Working towards the Environmental Goals set out in this plan is not an individual task, nor is it only the responsibility of the City. Success depends on contributions and collaboration with others - community members, organizations, businesses, and other governments. There are already many examples in Port Coquitlam of projects and initiatives that are being undertaken by other groups that help us move towards our goals for a healthy environment. The City gratefully acknowledges this work and aspires to create relationships of mutual support and encouragement, as well as opportunities for collaborating in the future. Though by no means an exhaustive list, some of the existing initiatives include: ◊ Hyde Creek Education Centre & Hatchery – Hyde Creek Watershed Society ◊ Colony Farm Bike Tours & Rentals - Kwikwetlem First Nation ◊ K wikwetlem Salmon Restoration Project – Kwikwetlem First Nation, BC Hydro & Others ◊ C olony Farm Community Gardens - Metro Vancouver & Colony Farm Park Association ◊ Colony Farm Regional Park - Metro Vancouver & Colony Farm Park Association ◊ Coquitlam River Watershed Strategy - Coquitlam River Watershed Society & Others ◊ Coquitlam/Buntzen Water Use Plan - BC Hydro & Others ◊ E stuary Management Plan for the Fraser River - Fraser River Estuary Management Program Partners
Port Coquitlam’s Big Ideas Big, bold ideas can help show leadership and inspire the community to take further steps towards a healthier environment. A collection of these “Big Ideas” is presented throughout the EnviroPlan, demonstrating innovative projects that can spur on additional initiatives. While more details about these ideas can be found in subsequent sections, a list of the Big Ideas with a brief description is included below.
1: Transit-Oriented Development Locate higher density development and a variety of uses close to frequent transit. Support this with development permit guidelines that focus on pedestrian friendly design and cycling infrastructure alternatives to the car. : The Living Neighbourhood Challenge 2 Focus on neighbourhood retrofits to improve environmental performance by incorporating design and technology into existing neighbourhoods. Encourage neighbourhood-based groups to submit an application to undertake a retrofit project in their area. : Shifting Gears for Active Communities 3 Gradually shift infrastructure investments towards active modes of travel, such as cycling and walking. Match budgets to transportation priorities. : Streets for Everyone 4 Create a Complete Streets program that recognizes and designs streets for the needs of all road users. Use ingredients such as sidewalks, bus lanes, curb extensions, landscaping, and public art to balance convenience, pleasure and safety for all.
5: Green Network Collaborate with neighbouring municipalities to expand the existing parks and trails system into an interconnected system to support recreation, biodiversity and ecosystem services. 6: Pocket-size Farms Create a central urban demonstration garden, with smaller plots spread throughout the city, to provide opportunities for knowledge sharing between new and veteran gardeners. 7: Experience Nature Provide access to natural areas, such as small wetlands, forest patches, and butterfly gardens in all neighbourhoods. Include these in park and school design. 8: Building Retrofits Encourage residential retrofits during planned renovation work and in specific green retrofit projects. Offer tools such as a Green Renovation Guide and promote existing senior government and utility incentives. 9: Water Savers! Program Build a comprehensive water conservation plan to address residential, industrial, commercial and institutional water use. Use education, incentives and regulations. 10: Trash to Treasure Focus on the “reduce” and “reuse” aspects of landfill diversion. Partner with a social enterprise group to re-furbish existing products, and work with businesses on product stewardship. 11: Greenest Business Award Celebrate those in the community who have taken steps to reduce their environmental footprint. The award program can also provide information on incentives and tools. 12: Buy Green Policy Show City leadership by specifying environmental criteria for all City purchasing decisions. Requirements may include a percentage of local food, recycled content, or energy efficiency.
Strategic Directions The core of the EnviroPlan is a set of Strategic Directions that describe in broad terms what the City will do to achieve its Environmental Goals. These Strategic Directions have been organized into a set of themes that we have called the “Eight Pillars” (see page 25). It is important to recognize that the Strategic Directions may contribute to more than one Goal (refer to page 26), but an attempt has been made to find the best fit for each Strategic Direction. Fortunately, we are not starting from scratch - the City has already made large strides with its environmental work. We have listed these “Seeds of Success” that have started to lay the foundation for the EnviroPlan. Finally, “Big Ideas” explore some of the Strategic Directions in more detail, presenting some best practices and innovative ideas that can provide the catalyst for environmental change. Achieving the Vision and making progress towards the Goals by following the Strategic Directions is the overall purpose of the EnviroPlan.
What is the frame for helping us reach our goals? What are the detailed drawings of our dreams? The EnviroPlanâ€™s Eight Pillars take us there.
LIVE Land use and neighbourhood design.
MOVE Transportation system and mode choice.
GREEN Green space, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and food & agriculture.
BUILD Building performance standards including renewable energy & energy efficiency.
FLOW Water conservation and rainwater management.
The Eight Pillars
REDUCE Materials and resource management.
PROSPER Greening of business and the economy.
MANAGE Greening the Cityâ€™s facilities and operations.
This table shows the relationship between the Environmental Goals and the Pillars. As can be seen, each of the Pillars contributes to achieving many of the Goals. For example, to achieve the Goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Pillars of LIVE (land use and neighbourhood design), MOVE (transportation), and BUILD (building design, renewable energy & energy efficiency) make the largest contributions.
Goals Reduce GHGs and Preserve
work towards a
use and quality
healthy, livable food and
net zero carbon
Live Move Green Build Flow Reduce Prosper Manage = The Pillar contributes largely to achieving the Goal = The Pillar contributes moderately to achieving the Goal = The Pillar contributes slightly to achieving the Goal
Support local agriculture
Land use and neighbourhood design.
Pillar 1: LIVE Develop a compact, complete community and neighbourhoods. The City and the Region are growing fast. While growth can bring prosperity and vitality, it can also lead to negative environmental outcomes for Port Coquitlam if not properly managed. Patterns of land use, density and the design of our neighbourhoods can have a big impact on the surrounding environment including the loss of habitat and degraded ecosystems. Land use and density also strongly influence transportation choices and travel patterns which, in turn, are associated with greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Creating compact, mixed use, walkable neighbourhoods reduces our environmental footprint while helping create a more healthy, vibrant community.
A smarter approach to community design can reduce the ecological impacts of urban sprawl and encourage higher levels of transit ridership and the use of active transportation modes. Policy Context Metro Vancouverâ€™s Regional Growth Strategy designates Port Coquitlam as a Municipal Town Centre and estimates that a total of 85,000 people will live here by 2040. Another Metro Vancouver initiative, the Air Quality Management Plan, works to minimize the risk to public health from air pollution.
LIVE: Develop a compact, complete community and neighbourhoods. Strategic Directions 1. Continue to work towards the concepts of Smart Growth and complete communities, including a balance of jobs and housing and a diversity of housing to meet different economic needs. Residents can meet their needs within their local area, and diverse opportunities exist in each neighbourhood for a variety of people to live, work and play. 2. Encourage development around existing and future frequent transit development areas. (See Big Idea 1: Transit-oriented Development). Creating a mix of uses in higher-density nodes produces an environment conducive to frequent transit service*. This in turn reduces vehicle travel. 3. Retrofit existing neighbourhoods through the “Living Neighbourhood Challenge.” (See Big Idea 2: Living Neighbourhood Challenge). Much of the city is already built so efforts need to go towards improving existing neighbourhoods. Undertaking retrofit projects at a neighbourhood scale can take advantage of economies of scale, as well as allow for more integrated projects.
Seeds of Success ◊ The
provides guidance for developers in creating more environmentallyfriendly projects. ◊ The Official Community Plan Policy promotes Smart Growth policies and land use designations.
◊ New residential development is occuring in a downtown that is vibrant and pedestrian oriented. ◊ Newly has
development requirements and provides
density bonusing in some zones) for green buildings. ◊ The City has existing growth concentration
4. Increase the natural and built environment’s resilience to the impacts of climate change through smart land use management practices. Threats from flooding and severe storms are just some of the impacts connected to climate change. Consider slope and proximity to floodplain, among other factors, when siting a proposed project.
*A Frequent Transit Network (FTN), as defined by TransLink, is one in which buses run no more than 15 minutes apart, 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
5. Require and encourage developers to deliver high quality urban design that promotes walkability. Planning for and building walkable environments right from the start of a development produces a more cohesive and effective design, with integrated elements such as benches, landscaping, and active street fronts. This makes it more convenient and pleasant for people to leave their cars at home. 6. Minimize sources of noise and light pollution that are disruptive to human well being. The array of sounds that we are subjected to every day is enormous, including noise from traffic, planes, machinery, ventilation, construction, and appliances. These impact our quality of life, and may contribute to long-term physiological damage. In addition, effects of light pollution on wildlife and humans range from mild annoyance to potentially life-threatening interference with navigational cues. It also represents wasted energy and financial resources.
Big Idea 1: Transit-Oriented Development Locating higher density development and a mix of uses, close to frequent transit, facilitates people quickly moving around by transit and other alternative means. This strategy reduces car ownership and it supports the viability of transit. In general, a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has a rapid bus stop or rail station at its centre, and is surrounded by high-density residential and/or commercial development that transitions to lower density as one moves away from the centre.
A vibrant mix of commercial activities such as grocery stores and coffee shops within walking distance can create an active street life and allow people to leave their cars at home. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The City is already encouraging appropriate density around the urban core through its OCP. To take this even further, development permit requirements can be created that support reduced car use. The City can reduce its parking requirements if developers provide transportation alternatives such as: ◊ co-op vehicle for use of building residents; ◊ transit passes for building residents; ◊ secure bicycle storage; ◊ shared parking with commercial units in the building. As the commercial spaces are generally only used during the day, this allows the peak residential use to overflow into these unused spaces at night.
(Adapted from P. Calthorpe)
Precedent Short Street in Saanich, BC is an example of a mixeduse development project focused on reduced car use. The developer partnered with BC Transit to create a pilot project that gave residents unlimited transit access for two years. It contains 72 residential units and 3 commercial units. For more info: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/ en/inpr/su/sucopl/upload/65510EnW.pdf
Big Idea 2: The Living Neighbourhood Challenge
◊ reduced energy consumption and GHG emissions;
A “Living Neighbourhood” is one that demonstrates the leading edge of sustainability practices, where innovative design and technology are overlaid onto existing conditions. This may involve retrofitting infrastructure & buildings to be more efficient; installing a district energy system; creating opportunities for local food production; naturescaping; and improving cycling and walking networks (among others). The concept is to provide a focus for concentrated effort and experimentation to make the transformational changes necessary to achieve environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods.
◊ water conservation;
What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The City can collaborate with residents, university researchers, NGOs, and local utility companies to create a Living Neighbourhood Challenge. Rather than focusing on new developments, the Living Neighbourhood Challenge targets retrofits. Neighbourhoodbased groups around Port Coquitlam are invited to submit an application to take part in the Challenge. Two neighbourhoods could be chosen by the City from those entered, and various retrofit projects are undertaken to improve their environmental performance across a broad range of objectives, including:
◊ materials resource recovery; ◊ active transportation; ◊ local food; and ◊ biodiversity. Results are monitored for one year, and the neighbourhood that creates the largest positive change is declared the winner. Precedent A Living Neighbourhood-type project is currently being undertaken in Portland, Oregon, called the Eco District Initiative. For more info: http://pdxinstitute.org/ index.php/ecodistricts
Transportation system and mode choice.
Pillar 2: MOVE Develop an environmentally-friendly transportation system that meets the needs of all users. Transportation plays a major role in the livability and quality of the environment in Port Coquitlam. Traffic noise, collisions, street lights and the impacts of pavement and parking lots affects the livability of the environment as well as the health of local ecosystems and wildlife. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air quality are strongly associated with vehicle fuel consumption. Physical fitness is also linked to our transportation choices – walking and cycling and other “active transportation” modes can reduce obesity and improve levels of cardiovascular fitness. It can improve mental health and provide opportunities for interacting with our neighbours and the environment. 34
Although personal transportation makes up the majority of Port Coquitlam’s transportation-related GHG emissions, it is also important to look at options for the movement of goods. Policy Context Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy designates Port Coquitlam as part of the Frequent Transit Network. TransLink planning initiatives include the 2010 10 Year Plan, and Transport 2040, a regional transportation strategy. Another Metro Vancouver initiative, the Air Quality Management Plan, works to minimize the risk to public health from air pollution.
MOVE: Develop an environmentally-friendly transportation system that meets the needs of all users. Strategic Directions 1. Reflect a priority for active transportation (walking and cycling) in financial decisions. (See Big Idea 3: Shifting Gears). A desire to encourage non-vehicular travel must be supported by adequate infrastructure and funding. This means “ear-marking” annual funds for projects that highlight cycling, walking, and other forms of active travel. 2. Create safe multi-functional local streets. (See Big Idea 4: Streets for Everyone). Streets can take into account the needs of all users - walkers and cyclists as well as cars - and allow for a more equitable sharing of space. This includes paying attention to accessibility features like curb ramps and safe street crossings as well as aesthetic issues like street furniture and landscaping.
Seeds of Success ◊ The
Plan, including transit, bicycle and pedestrian plans, provide direction for creating more active travel opportunities. ◊ The Traboulay PoCo Trail and existing bicycle routes form a backbone to expand into a more comprehensive bicycle network. ◊ The West Coast Express allows commuters to choose a green, efficient method to travel in and out of Port Coquitlam.
3. Expand the network of safe, comfortable, continuous linkages for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Cyclists desire different conditions - from the novice recreational rider to the elite road racer. Consider conditions appropriate for each type of rider. 4. Support transportation behaviour through education and awareness.
Promotional campaigns that encourage alternative transportation can help “normalize” the choice to leave the car at home. In addition, presenting transportation resources and information allow people to make educated decisions about travel options.
5. Identify and plan for improvements to the transit system in Port Coquitlam. Public transit is an efficient way to move large numbers of people, but users require a minimum level of service for transit to be a viable travel option. Locating development close to transit nodes can help improve the level of service available. 6. Use parking regulations as a tool to encourage alternative forms of transportation. Making it more challenging or costly to find parking makes alternatives such as transit, cycling, walking, or belonging to a carshare program more appealing. 7. Encourage a shift to fuel efficient, low-emission vehicles. Vehicles with low-emissions and high fuel efficiency, including hybrid and electric cars, reduce their impact on the climate and decrease air pollution. Supplying preferred parking spots and appropriate infrastructure such as electrical charging stations may help encourage this shift. 8. Examine options for commercial goods movement that reduce GHG emissions. It is not only people that require transportation options - it is also goods and materials. Moving goods efficiently and considering appropriate routes and vehicle regulations is a part of this.
Big Idea 3: Shifting Gears For Active Communities Increasingly, people are interested in walking, biking, or using other forms of active transportation (such as in-line skating and skateboarding) to get to their destinations. However, in order to make significant shifts in local trips away from vehicles to cycling and walking, these trips need to be safe, convenient, and enjoyable. Focusing on active transportation infrastructure means providing the community with well-connected multimodal pathways, bicycle paths separated from traffic, bicycle-triggered signals, safe pedestrian crossings, weather protection in shopping areas, and secure bike parking. These facilities will ensure people of all ages and abilities can choose non-polluting forms of travel. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? In order to accomplish these changes, a gradual but significant shift is required in the Cityâ€™s annual transportation investments. It will mean matching budgets with new transportation priorities, and gradually shifting municipal transportation spending away from investments in local road and vehicle parking infrastructure towards facilities that support active modes of travel. Precedent The City of Edmonton has increased their spending on active transportation, with $22 million earmarked for projects over the next three years. This amounts to 1.5% of the transportation departmentâ€™s capital budget. Council has recommended increasing this to 5% over the next decade.
Big Idea 4: Streets FOR EVERYONE A Complete Streets program is about recognizing the needs of all street users - motorists, transit users, cyclists and pedestrians - and designing and operating our streets with all these users in mind. It also recognizes streets as the primary public realm in the city. Since each Complete Street is unique, there is no single layout or design that will work in all contexts. But ingredients that may be found on a complete street include sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, trees and landscaping, places to sit, weather protection and more. Complete Streets are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road. Streetscapes have a large impact on peopleâ€™s perceptions and interactions with the public realm. They can enhance community aesthetics, provide a sense of identity to a place, and influence economic health, as well as encourage more active modes of travel. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The City can undertake a pilot project to demonstrate what a Complete Street may look like. To encourage participation and build community spirit, the City can hold a design competition to create public art that helps define the community. A series of different sculptures can be created along the route of the new complete street. By re-thinking street design, individual, community and environmental health can be improved. 38
Precedent The City of Vancouverâ€™s greenways connect community amenities and reflect local character and identity. Consisting of both city and neighbourhood-scale projects, the greenways are a partnership between the community and the City and include public art and landscaping. The greenways are an example of creating transportation networks that encourage nonmotorized travel, and matching the needs and context of their surroundings.
Green space, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and food & agriculture.
Pillar 3: GREEN Create a network of healthy natural, semi-natural and managed green spaces at a variety of scales. Green spaces are a critical component of the ecological and community health of Port Coquitlam. They include Colony Farm, the Pitt and Coquitlam River corridors and various parks and nature reserves throughout the City as well as agricultural lands. These spaces provide valuable habitat and connections for wildlife, and provide ecosystem services such as rainwater infiltration and transpiration, water purification, and capturing carbon. Green spaces can be considered the City’s “green infrastructure” which, like roads and water systems, are an essential part of a healthy community. Green space strengthens our connections to the landscape through passive and active recreation. Connecting local food systems and agriculture with the urban environment is important for sustainable development. Growing and processing food locally further connects us to the land, reduces energy and emissions associated with food, and can provides local employment.
Increasing residents’ experience of biodiversity in Port Coquitlam can be done through the creation of small-scale biodiversity features such as wetlands, forest patches, streams, and butterfly gardens.
While green space can offer habitat, food production, and recreation services, it doesn’t necessarily do all three in the same place. Attention needs to be paid to what the purpose of each space is so that maximum benefits can be accrued. In some spaces, it may be appropriate to limit human activity to allow nature to flourish. Policy Context Federal policies in the Fisheries Act and the Fraser River Estuary Management Program relate to Port Coquitlam’s riparian areas. Provincial legislation includes the Fish Protection Act, Riparian Areas Regulations, Environmental Assessment Act, Water Act and Wildlife Act. The Province’s Right to Farm Act and Agricultural Land Commission Act regulate farming and agriculture in the City. Regional policies include the Regional Growth Strategy, Liquid Waste Management Plan, Regional Parks and Greenways Plan and the Regional Biodiversity Strategy. The Ecological Health Plan and the Regional Food System Strategy, both currently in progress, will contribute to human and ecological health and well-being.
GREEN: Create a network of healthy, natural, semi-natural and managed green spaces at a variety of scales. Strategic Directions 1. Continue to conserve large natural (and seminatural) areas such as the Coquitlam River corridor, Colony Farm, and Hyde Creek Nature Reserve. In a rapidly urbanizing world, existing natural spaces are a valuable resource important to protect. These areas provide habitat, ecological, and recreational services. 2. Work towards a connected network of green spaces that can provide uninterrupted wildlife and recreational connections. (See Big Idea 5: Green Network). Rather than a patchwork approach to green space, connected networks can provide more effective wildlife habitat as well as present cycling, jogging and walking routes. 3. Conserve agricultural boundaries.
Farm land within the city offers opportunities in the present as well as the future to support food security and, where managed carefully, agriculture can be an important element of ecosystem health such as providing food and habitat for birds and small mammals, providing wildlife corridors, infiltrating rainfall, and maintaining healthy riparian zones. 4. Encourage and celebrate local, sustainable food production. (See Big Idea 6: Pocket-size Farms). Food systems include everything from farm to table and back again. A healthy food system means encouraging local, sustainable food production, and celebrating the bounty harvested from our own community.
Seeds of Success ◊ The City has Development Permit Areas
natural environment protection. ◊ The zoning of park reserve areas is part of the Official Community Plan (OCP). ◊ The Trees for Tomorrow program has planted more than 500 trees in the city. ◊ The
developers to plant trees in large parking lots to reduce heat island effects. ◊ A Greenways Plan (1999) identifies linear green connections within the city. ◊ A Green Roof Bylaw provides habitat
management for large scale new buildings. ◊ 587 hectares of agricultural land within the city boundaries is protected with the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) designation and
agriculture. ◊ The
Market started in the summer of 2009. ◊ The Port Coquitlam Community Garden provides opportunities for growing local food.
5. Protect and sustainably manage the urban forest. Street trees and trees located in parks and natural spaces provide enormous value - cleaning the air, helping to manage rainwater, providing habitat, creating shade, and offering opportunities to interact with the natural world.
6. Encourage the protection and creation of small-scale habitats in neighbourhoods and new developments (See Big Idea 7: Experience Nature). Backyard stewardship can be very effective in supporting a network of habitats throughout the city. 7. Encourage residents to adopt green yard care. Synthetic fertlizers, pesticides and herbicides can have a detrimental impact on watershed ecology and harm beneficial insects and plants. Alternatives exist, and can be promoted along with water conservation methods through an effective green yard care program. 8. Support habitat restoration projects (forest, wetlands, watercourses). Repairing damaged habitat can assist in biodiversity goals, species at risk recovery, and ecosystem services. 9. Support species at risk recovery and encourage biodiversity within the city. Threats to habitat are one of the primary causes of species at risk. Ensuring threatened species have adequate and appropriate habitat can allow populations to return to viable levels. 10. Educate residents and visitors about green initiatives within developments and throughout the city. Showcasing green projects and using interpretive signage can raise awareness as well as build support for more of these initiatives. 11. Control the spread of invasive plants in the city. Some invasive plants pose a serious threat to native plants and ecosystems. 42
Big Idea 5: Green Network A Green Network is an interconnected system of parks, trails, and open spaces that support recreation, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services. It is part of a larger green network composed of large natural areas such as river corridors and foreshores, as well as small urban parks, backyard trees, and urban gardens, and is one of many infrastructure systems that sustains a healthy urban environment. Like transportation and water systems, the Green Network shows natural areas and parks as an important component of urban infrastructure. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The Green Network builds on Port Coquitlamâ€™s 1999 Greenways Plan, expanding this into a more collaborative and transboundary view of ecological habitats. The City can use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze overall functionality of the network, and look for land with the highest potential for improved connectivity. These areas can then be prioritized for protection, acquisition, or special treatments such as expanded tree canopy or additional landscaping.
Green Infrastructure Network Map (City of Surrey)
New mapping and analyses based on the principles of landscape ecology would form the basis for the Green Network. The Green Network also relies on collaboration between the City of Port Coquitlam and the City of Coquitlam, the Kwikwetlem First Nation, Metro Vancouver Parks, Ministry of Environment, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Precedent The Delaware Ecological Network is a statewide conservation network developed from GIS and field-collected data and based on principles of landscape ecology and conservation biology. For more info: www.dnrec.delaware.gov/GI
Big Idea 6: Pocket-Size FarmS The interest in growing food is increasing in urban environments. Residents are learning that they are capable of providing much of their own fresh produce in plots in their backyards, on patios, rooftops and community gardens nearby. Local food can reduce the energy and emissions associated with food, reduce harmful chemicals and make use of composted wastes. However, many residents don’t know where to start. A central urban demonstration garden, with smaller plots spread throughout the developed parts of the city, would provide an opportunity for knowledge sharing between experienced and novice gardeners, using interpretive signage and hands-on workshops. These Pocket-Size Farms can act as community hubs to educate citizens on food security issues. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The City can identify suitable locations for community garden plots including street boulevards where appropriate, as well as a larger site to build a demonstration garden and small kitchen/workshop space. This location can then be run in partnership with a local non-profit. Courses and workshops can be offered and promoted through the Leisure Guide and other City communications channels. Potential workshops include: ◊ composting (in-vessel systems and vermiculture); ◊ green yard care, companion planting, and other organic gardening methods; ◊ winter gardening; and ◊ food processing techniques such as canning and dehydrating.
Precedent Located in Delta, the Boundary Bay Earthwise Garden offers examples of water-wise and native plant gardening, compost education, workshops for schoolchildren, and pesticide free yard care. For more info: www.earthwisesociety.bc.ca/ garden.htm
Big Idea 7: Experience Nature It is often easy to lose track of nature while living in the urban environment. This “nature deficit” can have impacts on our physical, mental and spiritual health. By encouraging the experience of nature within the city, we contribute to our own health, as well as the health of the ecosystem. While some residents of Port Coquitlam have natural areas like the Pitt River, Hyde Creek Nature Reserve, and the Coquitlam River corridor within walking distance of their homes, increased urbanization has reduced opportunities to experience nature for many residents.
Precedent The Chicago Wilderness is a network of natural areas interwoven into one of North America’s largest urban regions. One if its key programs is “people for nature, nature for people,” which recognizes the shared value of community-based conservation efforts. It has a program called “Leave No Child Inside” which strives to provide programs and educational materials to connect children to local natural areas. For more info: www.kidsoutside.info
What Can Port Coquitlam Do? Look for opportunities within City-owned land to provide access to natural areas, such as small wetlands, forest patches and butterfly gardens in all neighbourhoods. In particular, park and school design should incorporate small-scale habitats that provide opportunities to experience tangible natural features such as dragonflies, nesting songbirds, butterflies, frogs, and cattail wetlands with Red-winged Blackbirds. The aesthetic qualities of these habitats should not be dismissed as people often reject natural habitats that are considered too messy or abandoned. In addition, provide resources to the public to encourage backyard stewardship. This can include lists of native plant species, vegetation types that are known to provide habitat for birds and desirable insects. Involving people in activities that help restore or maintain ecosystems such as local streams is also an excellent way of connecting people to the natural environment.
Building performance standards including renewable energy & energy efficiency.
Pillar 4: BUILD Create an efficient, renewable energy supply and high performance buildings. Buildings dominate our urban landscape. As such, they are responsible for significant environmental impacts, including a substantial share of community energy consumption, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and light pollution. Construction methods and materials also have significant impacts including noise pollution, resource use, and habitat disruption, while building design influences indoor environmental quality, in turn affecting health and productivity of people living and working in those buildings. In addition, a renewable and efficient energy supply that supports green buildings addresses multiple policy objectives: climate protection, energy security, reduced air pollution, and it can also support local job creation.
Given the long lifetimes of most buildings, maximizing the environmental performance of buildings being constructed now and in the coming years is clearly important.
Each year, new buildings are constructed to accommodate population growth in Port Coquitlam, and some of our existing building stock is replaced, expanded or retrofitted.
Changes to the Local Government Act (Bill 27) now allow municipalities to specify energy and water conservation measures using development permit areas.
Retrofitting existing buildings for improved energy efficiency and water conservation can allow us to evolve the existing building stock to a higher level of performance over time. Policy Context The BC Building Code is a primary provincial regulation that Port Coquitlam follows to meet building standards. The Province recently introduced changes to the Code that have improved energy efficiency and further improvements are promised.
BUILD: Create an efficient, renewable energy supply and high performance buildings. Strategic Directions 1. Support the retrofitting of the existing building stock to improve the level of energy, water and material efficiency, clean energy generation, and indoor air quality. (See Big Idea 8: Building Retrofits). In addition to ensuring new developments are “green,” it is important to look at existing buildings and pursue opportunities to improve their performance through renovations and retrofits. 2. Achieve high buildings.
While the Building Code is a necessary minimum, the City has an opportunity to show leadership by working with builders and developers to go beyond these requirements. 3. Strengthen local energy independence, and work towards generating green (renewable) energy locally. A range of appropriate options exist for renewable energy generation within the city, including solar, geothermal, and waste heat recovery. A District Energy System could also be considered for larger comprehensive development or redevelopment sites.
Seeds of Success ◊ The City’s Sustainability Checklist includes a category for buildings and acknowledges the importance of renewable energy. ◊ The
square feet. ◊ A Density Bonus is offered in some zones for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating of Silver, or equivalency. ◊ The retrofit of Hyde Creek Recreation Centre included a solar hot water system. ◊ The City’s Leigh Square Community Arts Village project incorporated passive solar design to reduce traditional
requirements. ◊ The City generates a small amount of electricity through a retrofit of water main pressure regulating valves.
◊ promote existing incentives, such as the LiveSmart BC program, for grants and rebates towards building retrofits. Work with Terasen, BC Hydro, Solar BC and senior governments to line up additional incentives, and consider supplementing these from the City. Potential incentives include those for furnace retrofits, window replacement, home insulation, and solar hot water systems;
Big Idea 8: Building Retrofits The greatest strain on our atmosphere and energy use into the future is going to be from our existing building stock. While a lot of interest has been shown in new green development, a focus on retrofitting existing neighbourhoods will have an even larger impact. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? The City can work with homeowners and contractors to look for opportunities to retrofit buildings during planned renovation work, as well as undertake specific green retrofit projects. Possibilities include: ◊ consider applying for BC Hydro’s community energy manager program, to create a funded staff position to take the lead on energy-related initiatives such a building retrofits. This position could be shared with other neighbouring municipalities;
◊ initiate a Green Renovation Program for all homeowners applying for renovation permits, requiring them do an energy audit and take on a number of energy efficiency upgrades. The program could be designed such that required upgrades account for a maximum amount of the total renovation cost and have 2-3 year payback periods; ◊ c reate a Green Renovation Guide with information about materials, designs and construction techniques that will help homeowners and contractors reduce their impact on the environment. This Guide could be included as part of the application package for building permits, as well as available for download from the City’s website and in hard copy. Precedent The LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program provides financial support to households for energy assessments and energy efficiency building retrofits. For more info: www.livesmartbc.ca
Water conservation and rainwater management.
Pillar 5: FLOW Develop an efficient system of water distribution and consumption, and protect waterways. As a fundamental building block of life, water may be our most crucial resource. Issues of water quality and quantity need to be successfully addressed, especially given the uncertainties added by climate change. Two critical areas are protection of water resources, including aquatic ecosystems, and addressing Port Coquitlamâ€™s potable water consumption. Watersheds in the city and region are under increasing levels of pressure due to impacts of development, industry and agriculture. Development needs to incorporate best practices of rainwater management to allow watersheds to support ecosystems and minimize flooding. Local government and community action is required to protect watersheds from these impacts, and to begin to restore functions lost over previous decades.
Despite abundant winter rainfall in the region, the summer dry period and water consumption in the city has major implications for regional water reservoirs, infrastructure construction and operating costs. It also has a significant influence on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for both municipal infrastructure systems, and within homes and businesses in the community. Policy Context The Water Conservation Plumbing Regulation in the BC Building Code, as well as the BC Living Water Smart initiative are two Provincial initiatives relating to water conservation and efficiency. In addition, two Metro Vancouver plans - the Liquid Waste Management Plan and the Drinking Water Management Plan - provide a regional planning framework for the City.
FLOW: Develop an efficient system of water distribution and consumption, and protect waterways. Strategic Directions 1. Manage water use wisely and efficiently (See Big Idea 9: Water Savers! Program). Metering, education, bylaws and efficient technology can all help reduce the consumption of potable water toward consumption levels consistent with relevant international best practice, while maintaining quality of life. 2. Protect watershed hydrology and waterways, and support aquatic ecosystems within and around the community. Pollutants, drainage, impervious surfaces, riparian habitat, and other factors all contribute to the health of the hydrological system. Best management practices in water quality and rainwater management can assist in meeting this strategic direction.
Seeds of Success ◊ The City has committed to various actions related to the regional Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan. ◊ An Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) has been completed for Hyde Creek and is planned for Maple Creek. ◊ The City has partnered with the City of Coquitlam and Kwikwetlem First Nation in the Coquitlam River Watershed Strategy. ◊ The City has Development Permit Area (DPA) guidelines for streamside protection. ◊ The City has a Potable Water Source Control Program. ◊ There is metering of industrial, commercial and institutional water accounts. ◊ Utility rebates are available for retrofitting homes (single and multi-family) with low flush toilets and low flow showers. ◊ Sprinkling restrictions are in place during summer months (June – Sept). ◊ The City has a decreasing water consumption trend despite a growing population.
Big Idea 9: Water Savers! Program Reducing water use across the city requires a comprehensive, long term water conservation plan that will address both residential indoor and outdoor use, as well as industrial, commercial and institutional use. Water conservation programs can effectively reduce potable water consumption to 180 litres per day per person for residential, and 250 litres per person per day for all water use. These levels have already been achieved by some Canadian jurisdictions (e.g. Cochrane, Charlottetown, Winnipeg, Iqaluit), and by many Western European countries. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? Through a Water Savers! program, the City could reduce municipal potable water consumption by half. Building on existing initiatives, the multi-pronged strategy will need to include education, incentives, and regulations, phased in over time. Possibilities include: ◊ consideration of water metering and volumebased pricing for residences; ◊ subsidized rain barrels for residents; ◊ development permit guidelines with water conservation measures; ◊ demonstration projects and information to transform lawn to naturescape (native plants) or xeriscape (low irrigation) gardens; ◊ outdoor water use regulations and/or bylaws; ◊ rainwater re-use demonstration project. Precedent The Capital Regional District (CRD) Water Services encourages efficient water use through education, financial incentives, policy measures and research. The CRD offers free water use and efficiency audits to businesses in Greater Victoria and provides assistance with measurement and cost-benefit analysis of various measures to conserve water. For more info: www.crd. bc.ca/water
Materials and resource management.
Pillar 6: REDUCE Manage materials in a way that maximizes resource recovery. Management of materials and resources within cities has extensive implications for the environment, encompassing both “upstream” impacts such as extraction and processing of resources for manufacturing, and “downstream” impacts such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. With a diversion rate of 63% (City of Port Coquitlam, 2010), Port Coquitlam is one of British Columbia’s leaders in materials resource recovery. Although we’re doing well in diverting recyclable material from the landfill, we could be doing even more to reduce, recycle and compost. Increasing participation in the leading edge recycling and composting programs already offered in Port Coquitlam will substantially boost our diversion rate. These efforts will not only extend the life of a landfill, but will also help reduce GHG emissions. To address resource recovery management at its root, we need to promote reduction, and more effectively tackle materials that fall outside mainstream recycling programs.
We can start doing this by creating strong partnerships with Product Stewardship agencies. Product Stewardship places the responsibility for managing products at the end of their lives on the producers and consumers, not the general taxpayer or local government. This provides an incentive for producers to make their products efficiently, and easy to recycle. Policy Context Metro Vancouver’s Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (ISWRMP) includes the provision of kitchen food scraps and yard trimming composting facilities to service the whole region; the City is a partner in this, with local bylaws regulating the seperation of recycling and compostable material from those that go to the landfill. Port Coquitlam is committed to the targets of the ISWRMP, including a minimum target of diverting 70% from landfills by 2015 and an aspirational target of 80% by 2020.
REDUCE: Manage materials in a way that maximizes resource recovery. Strategic Directions 1. Create regulations and programs to support the source separation of organic and recyclable materials from those required to go to the landfill. The City has a strong program of resource recovery initiatives currently in place. This program can expand to include more institutionalized strategies, with Industrial/ Commercial/Institutional (ICI) and multifamily components in addition to the singlefamily program. 2. Improve City staff and resident knowledge and awareness of materials resource recovery, and link this to incentives and regulations. Making the connection between consumer choices and environmental impact is an important component of behaviour change. The focus should be on reducing overall landfill generation through consumption habits, supported by materials resource recovery. 3. Encourage re-use, recycling and overall product stewardship in the business and non-profit sectors. (See Big Idea 10: Trash to Treasure). Material resource recovery presents opportunities for local economic development, through re-use programs, product collection, and recycling. Business and organizations can play a strong role in landfill diversion through product stewardship initiatives. Public recognition and friendly competition can act as incentives for the uptake of new programs.
Seeds of Success ◊ The City was the first municipality in Metro Vancouver to collect green/ kitchen food scraps. ◊ The City was the first municipality in
frequency of garbage collection to every two weeks for single family neighbourhoods. ◊ The
backyard compost bins and free kitchen food scraps pails. ◊ The annual “Citywide Garage Sale” allows residents to turn unwanted items into cash, and divert them from the landfill.
Big Idea 10: Trash to Treasure A big part of materials resource recovery is to look at the first two “R”s: reduce and resuse. Minimizing the amount of landfill materials generated is an efficient, and effective, way to reduce our impact on the planet. Public engagement and education are a good way of spreading this message to “use less.” Supporting this, it is important to continue making strides in landfill diversion through the re-use and recycling of products. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? Trash can be transformed into treasure through a program of creative “up-cycling,” where products are re-made or re-furbished. The City can partner with a local social enterprise group to develop a furniture reuse program. This program can divert large amounts of material away from landfills, generate local jobs and expand options to purchase locally-made, low cost furniture. The City can engage private businesses in materials resource recovery by encouraging stores to disseminate information on how to dispose and recycle products that they sell. For example, furniture; appliances; beverage & food containers; paint & solvents; and unwanted construction products. Information should be posted at point of sales locations about product return options. Recognition of retailers and households based on the level of participation or excellence in materials resource recovery initiatives can also be part of an overall “Use Less” program. Households that recycle or compost the most can be recognized, setting up some friendly neighbourhood competition. Retailers can be given a certificate to display in their store.
Precedent The City of Hamilton has a voluntary “Gold Box” program. Participating households that receive a resource audit and achieve this target win a “gold box” (as opposed to a blue box), which they can then proudly set out each week. Port Coquitlam could make use of a gold cart lid. More info at www.hamilton.ca/goldbox
Greening of business and the economy.
Pillar 7: PROSPER Work with local business to ensure that a healthy environment attracts jobs and investment. Economic signals often run counter to our environmental goals so we end up rewarding people and businesses for making poor environmental choices and punishing those who are prepared to do the right thing. We live on one planet, so all economic activity must address the abilities of our earth to provide all our resources and absorb all our waste. Businesses and governments can work in partnership to take strong action to reduce the negative impacts of economic activity and to maximize the positive impacts.
Achieving the vision of a sustainable economy in Port Coquitlam will maximize the long-term prosperity of the entire community, minimize impacts on the planet as a whole and help to minimize its vulnerability to external threats.
PROSPER: Work with local business to ensure that a healthy environment attracts jobs and investment. Strategic Directions 1. E ncourage and support local businesses to reduce their environmental footprint while continuing to prosper. (See Big Idea 11: Greenest Business Award). Often environmental initiatives can also reduce costs or expand business opportunities. Working with local businesses to identify these opportunities makes this process easier. In addition, eco-industrial networking presents partnership options where one partner uses the other’s waste stream as an input. 2. Remove hidden subsidies and obstacles that undermine environmental programs. Fees and incentives can sometimes discourage environmental innovation. Financial tools should be designed to support and encourage earthfriendly choices. 3. Attract green businesses to Port Coquitlam. Showcasing the city as an environmental leader can entice new businesses to set up in Port Coquitlam. This contributes to overall economic prosperity, as well as introducing new opportunities for improving environmental performance.
Seeds of Success ◊ The City has a Smart Growth Committee
Economic Development). ◊ Home-based
allowed in residential zones. ◊ The
Market provides a venue for local farmers and craftspeople to sell their goods.
Big Idea 11: Greenest Business Award A strong economy is often associated with high levels of material consumption. If we are to address concerns of environmental degradation, climate change and inefficient resource use we must make the transition to an economy that generates wealth using a fraction of todayâ€™s energy and materials. One aspect of accomplishing this is to celebrate those who have taken steps to reduce their environmental footprint. We need to encourage and promote green behaviour and consumption patterns in the economy that can be a model for others. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? A Greenest Business Award can celebrate the successes of businesses in Port Coquitlam that are showing environmental leadership. The award program can provide information and resources to the business community on incentives and tools to assist in their green transformation.
The award ceremony could be part of a larger, high profile Awards event, highlighting contributions from individuals and organizations as well as the Greenest Business. A utility company such as BC Hydro or Terasen Gas could be approached as a sponsor of the Awards program. Precedent The City of Chilliwack partnered with the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce to develop a Sustainability Award as part of the Chamberâ€™s Business Excellence Awards. The Sustainability Award focuses on waste reduction. Resources and best practices are listed on the Cityâ€™s website. For more info: chilliwack.com/greenbusinessaward
Criteria could include internal operations and business practices (including green procurement); products; and services. Over time, the award program could be expanded to cover various categories, and include a partnership with the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce to award the Greenest Business in the Tri-Cities.
Greening the Cityâ€™s facilities and operations.
Pillar 8: MANAGE Lead the way at City Hall by improving the environmental performance of facilities and operations. As an environmental leader, the City recognizes that it must demonstrate its commitment to improving environmental performance within the facilities and operations of the municipal corporation. This includes buildings such as recreation centres, utility buildings, fire halls and City Hall, municipal vehicle fleet and equipment, supplies used in municipal buildings, and operating parks and public spaces.
Policy Context As a signatory of the provincial Climate Action Charter, Port Coquitlam has made a commitment towards carbon neutrality in corporate emissions by 2012.
By managing these facilities and operations in an environmentally responsible manner, the City can model behaviour, potential solutions, and programs that residents and other organizations can look to for inspiration. 63
MANAGE: Lead the way at City Hall by improving the environmental performance of facilities and operations. Strategic Directions 1. Reduce the energy consumption, water consumption, and material use of municipal facilities. The combined impact of all municipal facilities is substantial - focusing on reducing this impact shows leadership and brings environmental benefits.
◊ Occupancy sensors have been installed
spaces. ◊ The City’s vehicle fleet includes hybrid vehicles. ◊ The
2. Reduce the impact of City operations on the environment.
Recreation Centre included a solar
From the way City staff travel to site visits, to the equipment used in park maintenance and the technology used to light our streets, City operations can minimize environmental impact.
◊ Water coolers in City Hall have
3. Purchase environmentally responsible goods and services. (See Big Idea 12: Buy Green Policy).
and drinks available in vending
A commitment to environmental stewardship includes what goods are used and how services are supplied. 4. Consider life-cycle costs of equipment and facilities. The true cost of equipment and facilities should take into account more than just capital and operating costs. Life-cycle costs consider production, distribution, and disposal of products in addition to their purchase and use. This lens should be used for purchasing decisions. 5. Create healthier, more productive work environments for City staff. Indoor air quality, lighting, and ventiliation all impact the quality of life and productivity for those inside a building. 64
Seeds of Success
hot water system. been connected to the mains to avoid use of bottled water. ◊ A healthy food and beverage municipal policy is in place, with requirements for healthy food machines and municipal cafes.
Big Idea 12: Buy Green Policy Municipal governments are large organizations with big budgets. Often they are one of the largest budgets in a community and therefore, their spending power can have an influence on the behaviour and choices of suppliers. What Can Port Coquitlam Do? By specifying environmental criteria for all its purchasing decisions, the City can help shift markets towards more environmentallyfriendly good and services and reduce corporate environmental impacts as well as reduce the environmental footprint of City operations. The policy can include requirements such as: ◊ a certain percentage of food used in municipal food concessions and events should be sourced from within the Region. Start with 10% and increase over time; ◊ a minimum recycled content;
◊ t he environmental standards, practices and policies of all consultants used by the City (these criteria should be built into the tendering process and consultants evaluated on such criteria.) This idea could be further strengthened through collaborating with other municipalities in the region (e.g. the Tri Cities) on a green procurement program, providing added “buying power.” Precedent The City of Seattle has committed to a Sustainable Purchasing program. The program brings together policies, communication tools, process improvements, standards, and reporting mechanisms to help align purchasing practices with City values. For more info: www.seattle.gov/ environment/Purchasing.htm
◊ a ll equipment purchased or leased by the City should be energy efficient and where possible biodegradable and nontoxic; ◊ a ll buildings constructed, purchased or leased by the City should be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Standards or better; ◊ v ehicles for the municipal fleet should be purchased and operated in accordance with the E3 (Green) Fleet Program or an equivalent green fleets management program; and
Part Four: Conclusion
A healthy, clean environment is a top priority for Port Coquitlam and it is clear that we need to reduce the pressure that our lifestyles and economies are placing on the local and global ecosystems. But we canâ€™t achieve this at the expense of the livability and prosperity that we enjoy in this region. While we have achieved a number of successes towards reducing our environmental impact, there is still plenty of work to do to ensure that we are doing our part and demonstrating leadership in the region.
But it is possible - indeed we may have little choice if we are going to protect the long term health and prosperity of the region.
The task of making Port Coquitlam an environmentally sustainable City while maintaining the prosperity and livability that we have come to enjoy will not be easy.
There will no doubt be bumps along the path to achieving our vision and not all
Environmental sustainability increasingly makes good business sense as well. Whatâ€™s more, it is becoming clear that a clean, healthy, livable community attracts the best and brightest employees. In turn, this is a major consideration for new businesses locating in the region, especially those who are attuned to the growing markets for sustainable products and services.
the strategies and ideas in this plan will be implemented exactly as described.
A level of flexibility will be required to ensure that strategies can shift with changing circumstances and opportunities. In order to be effective, the goals and strategies that form the backbone of this plan will have to be incorporated into decision-making and business plans for each City department. The Implementation Plan that accompanies this EnviroPlan will provide the detailed actions, roles and responsibilities that will provide the dayto-day guidance for staff at City Hall, and provide recommendations for actions by other organizations. In addition, it will contain performance measures that will allow everyone to monitor progress against the goals and for us to adapt our strategies so they work.
While the City plays a major role in reducing the communityâ€™s environmental footprint, the goals and objectives outlined in the EnviroPlan cannot be achieved by the City acting alone. Therefore, it is hoped that the EnviroPlan will be embraced and supported by businesses, residents, organizations and other levels of government who will each do their part to make this community the most environmentally sustainable, livable place it can possibly be. It is worth it.
Investing work and effort into the EnviroPlan will result in great dividends to Port Coquitlam in terms of improved health, greater livability, creating the space for other species to thrive and ultimately making Port Coquitlam an even more attractive place to live and do business.