News: Growth plans, infrastructure spending, developers and more

News: Growth plans, infrastructure spending, developers and more

Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin Annual Survey. Let us know what you’d like to see in the bulletin!  Take 5 minutes to fill out our survey.   

Updated growth plans released.  Four Ontario land-use plans were released on 18 May after a co-ordinated review process. The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe requires municipal stormwater master plans informed by watershed planning that “incorporate appropriate low impact development and green infrastructure”. Large-scale development will be supported by stormwater management plans that “minimize stormwater flows and reliance on stormwater ponds” and include “appropriate low impact development and green infrastructure”. The new plans will apply to any new zoning decisions made after July 1, 2017. 

Infrastructure investments should emphasize green. With the Canadian government investing billions in new infrastructure projects to mitigate the effects of flooding, we must ensure that green infrastructure solutions are prioritized. Naturally Strong, released by American Rivers and Clean Water for All, makes a strong case for investment in green infrastructure in the U.S.

Sewage overflows are commonplace. After recent flooding events in Quebec and Ontario, sewage overflows and high levels of contamination in waterbodies were all over the media. The reality is, sewage overflows happen regularly in many communities and most people are just unaware of it. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is advocating for mandatory real-time public sewage bypass notifications for all Ontario cities. Kingston is the first city to implement such a system.

Catch and trade for D.C. stormwater. Washington is the first place in the world to start a market where private property owners can receive stormwater retention credits for green infrastructure they install, which they can then sell to developers looking to meet regulatory requirements. While the market has gotten off to a slow start since its launch four years ago, Anacostia Waterfront Trust is working to spur it by providing expertise needed to build and maintain rain gardens. A garden that captures 11,000 gallons of stormwater annually can be worth $25,000 in credits.  

Toronto shelves stormwater fee. While many other cities across the country are embracing impervious-area based stormwater charges as a fair and transparent way of paying for necessary stormwater infrastructure, the City of Toronto will not be joining them. This is a missed opportunity to invest in managing rain where it falls.

Canadians unaware of flood risks.  A national survey of Canadians living in designated flood risk areas shows that most are unaware that they are vulnerable to flooding and are not taking action to protect themselves and their properties.

Developers embracing green infrastructure.  Two new resources highlight the benefits of green infrastructure for developers. Harvesting the value of water: stormwater, green infrastructure and real estate by the Urban Land Institute includes case studies of how green infrastructure is adding value in new developments across the U.S. via increased available land for development, reduced energy costs, increased property values and more. New Jersey Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide is an interactive website that answers the question “Why should I do this?” for developers.

Thunder bay offers rain garden rebates.  For several years, the City of Thunder Bay, in partnership with Ecosuperior, has offered $500 rebates to homeowners who build rain gardens on their properties. A new program by Ecosuperior, funded by the Ontario government, will expand the rebates to businesses as well. This is just one piece of Thunder Bay’s ambitious commitment to green infrastructure implementation.


Growth rates and performance of trees in Silva Cells. Case study by DeepRoot, the manufacturer of Silva Cells, looking at 400 trees in 10 locations planted in Silva Cells to maintain adequate soil volume.  

Rainscaping video. Great video by Lake Simcoe and Region Conservation Authority on urban runoff, low impact development, and a demonstration project in Newmarket.  

Climate change adaptation in Calgary and Edmonton.  Nine short reports detail different aspects of building climate-resilient cities, including green infrastructure.  

Tackling barriers to green infrastructure. U.S. workbook on evaluating local codes to determine how they support or hinder green infrastructure, and what to do to fix them.  

Green infrastructure maintenance.  Training video from Tucson, Arizona on green infrastructure maintenance procedures.