Commissioner Dumont’s substitution motion aimed at a fundamental paradigm shift around water management

Published Jul 23, 2019 1:56 PM

VANCOUVER, B.C. – At last night’s Park Board meeting, Green Commissioner Camil Dumont substituted a motion introduced by Commissioner Coupar with one of his own. Coupar’s original motion asked the city to accelerate its plans to separate combined sewer overflow pipes (CSOs) by the year 2029, instead of the city’s current goal of 2050. Dumont’s replacement motion asked the City and Park Board staff to focus on investing in green infrastructure instead of solely on sewage pipe upgrades, which Greens view as outdated technology.

Currently the city’s rain management infrastructure is designed to capture and funnel rainwater into the sewer system, and send it to be processed with sewage at a treatment plant. When rainfall is too heavy, CSOs dump all excess water, including sewage, into False Creek and other bodies of water surrounding our city. Greens would like to see rainwater diverted from the pipe system all together and used to water our trees, grass, and plants. 

“It’s time for a paradigm shift; we need to start treating rainwater as a resource instead of as waste,” said Dumont after his substituted motion passed unanimously, with a few amendments. 

“Everyone agrees we need to stop dumping sewage into our waterways, but Greens would like to see a transition from the traditional ‘gray infrastructure’ to a more sustainable ‘green infrastructure’ model.

“For Greens it’s about moving into the 21st Century. Why would we invest millions in centuries old technology that diverts our rain water from where it’s needed? Why would we continue to pay millions per year after that to treat rainwater instead directing it to our plants and greenspaces?”

A similar motion is up for debate at tonight’s City Council meeting. Councillor Michael Wiebe plans to support the efforts passed in the replacement motion at Park Board.

“We can’t keep doing the same thing we did 100 years ago,” said Wiebe. “I’d like to see the city invest in our future instead of in the outdated inefficient infrastructure, which got us into this problem in the first place. 

“My goal is to get rainwater back to doing the job nature intended. We have an opportunity to be leaders in ‘green infrastructure’ which is not only more cost effective, but will also help mitigate the negative effects of the climate crisis.”