Blue green systems for a growing neighbourhood
In a natural system, rainwater would be absorbed into the ground, flow into a network of streams or be absorbed and returned to the atmosphere through soils, plants, and trees. Urban development disrupts this natural water cycle. Rainwater flows across pavement and rooftops, picking up pollutants that are then led to our waterways through pipes.
In the neighbourhood surrounding Columbia Park and Alberta St, rainwater and wastewater from our homes are conveyed in one pipe. These combined pipes are too small to accommodate the future multi-family housing and jobs envisioned in the Cambie Corridor Plan and increased rain events due to climate change. Pipe upgrades and better ways to manage rainwater are needed to reduce the risk of flooding and sewer overflows during rain events. Blue green systems will help to maintain or improve the drainage system, while improving the neighbourhoods’ climate resiliency.
A blue green system is a network of connected park-like streets that manage water and land in a way that is inspired by nature and designed to replicate natural functions and provide ecosystem services.
They bring nature into the city, by creating opportunities to capture and clean street contaminants from our rainwater before returning it to our atmosphere, surrounding oceans, and rivers. This approach mitigates the pressure on the pipe system and therefore enables growth while connecting parks and ecological areas with park-like corridors that work with the natural flow of rainwater in the city. These connections can provide opportunities for habitat, biodiversity, rainwater management and amenities to support walking, biking, and rolling.