LIBERAL MP Taleeb Noormohamed (Vancouver Granville), Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Chair Scott Jensen on Thursday announced a joint investment of more than $36.2 million towards the City of Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy, which outlines a series of actions to improve the city’s water quality, increase resilience to climate change, and enhance ecosystems.
The strategy aims to enhance the use of natural infrastructure to prevent urban flooding and improve water quality. Its goal is to capture and clean 90 per cent of Vancouver’s average annual rainfall and help manage rainwater runoff from 400,000 square meters of drainage area.
Examples include using absorbent landscaping, rainwater tree trenches, wetlands and stream restoration, capturing rainwater closer to where it falls. Ecological processes will serve to remove pollution from urban runoff, improve water quality, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, increase climate change resilience, protect species, and preserve biodiversity and habitats.
The Government of Canada is contributing $18,900,000 to this project, and the City of Vancouver is contributing $17,325,000.
Noormohamed, on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, said: “With the increase in flood and climate related challenges—investing in natural infrastructure is a way for communities to use their ecosystems to improve quality of life, reduce pollution, enhance biodiversity, and build resilience to climate change. The Rain City Strategy is an exciting investment in natural infrastructure solutions helping to reduce carbon emissions. Our Government is committed to working with our partners and supporting projects that make life more sustainable and better for residents across the City of Vancouver.”
Sim said: “Increasing natural infrastructure in Vancouver has numerous benefits for residents and the species we share our city with. We’re very thankful for this support from the Government of Canada’s Natural Infrastructure Fund. This investment will contribute to a more livable Vancouver, a stronger future in the face of coming climate pressures, an opportunity to grow our local green economy, and healthier waters in Still Creek, False Creek, Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River.”
Jensen added: “It’s not often we celebrate our infamous rainwater but in these changing climates, it is a pleasure to announce this valued investment that makes use of our most plentiful natural resource. From stream restoration to increased flood resilience to species protection, this investment in green infrastructure will support our growing city’s climate, wildlife and population for years to come”
· The Government of Canada’s funding comes from the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF).
· Federal funding is conditional on fulfilling all requirements related to consultation with Indigenous groups and meeting any environmental assessment obligations.
· Announced in June 2021, the $200-million Natural Infrastructure Fund supports projects that use natural or hybrid approaches to protect the natural environment, support healthy and resilient communities, and contribute to economic growth and jobs.
· Natural infrastructure is a way for communities to use their ecosystems to improve quality of life, reduce pollution, enhance biodiversity and habitats, and build resilience to climate change. Examples of natural infrastructure include urban forests, street trees, wetlands, living dykes, bioswales, and naturalized coastal restoration.
· Hybrid infrastructure incorporates elements of engineered grey infrastructure to enhance or support natural infrastructure and/or the use of ecosystem processes. Examples of hybrid infrastructure include green roofs and walls, and naturalized stormwater ponds.
· Through the Natural Infrastructure Fund, the Government of Canada is making communities across Canada more resilient to climate change, mitigates carbon emissions, protects and preserves biodiversity and wildlife habitats, and promotes people’s access to nature.
· A minimum of 10% of the overall program envelope will be allocated to Indigenous-led projects.