2022 STEP Webinar: Vancouver’s Green Infrastructure Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program
Abstract: In 2019, the City of Vancouver adopted the Rain City Strategy, a 30 year plan to change how the city manages rainwater using green infrastructure.
Over the next 3 decades Vancouver aims to convert 40% of impervious spaces to better manage rainwater using nature based solutions on both public and private property. To reach this goal, the City of Vancouver is not only implementing new projects, but also looking at how to use maintenance and rehabilitation to improve the function of its current green infrastructure, some of which has been in place for over 20 years using older design standards.
This presentation will provide an overview of two new programs started by the city’s Green Infrastructure Implementation team in 2021, Green Infrastructure Operation & Maintenance, and Rehabilitation of Bioretention Assets, covering the challenges, successes and lessons learned.
The Rehabilitation program is an annual program where we target 10-15 problematic assets per year and update them to current design standards.
Some older assets saw little to no maintenance over their lifespan and other assets were simply not designed with rainwater infiltration as priority. The assets are prioritized based on their lack of function, and criticality within a watershed. The work includes excavation, regrading, the installation of a sediment pad and planting.
The 2021 program saw 15 existing bioretention curb bulges and raingardens rehabilitated. City staff also took the opportunity to engage local schools, including starting a monitoring program with a local high school.
In the pilot year of Vancouver’s Green Infrastructure Operation and Maintenance program, the city provided routine and restorative maintenance to 136 bioretention assets and 32 permeable pavement sites, all of which had received little to no maintenance to date. To build industry capacity, the city hired two different contractors and provided onboarding training. This not only helped to set expectations, but also build relationships that supported strong communication throughout the first year of maintenance.
This presentation will also cover how the city worked with a social enterprise to trial both routine and restorative maintenance on permeable pavement and using volunteers to support ongoing bioretention maintenance.