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From Industrial Hub To Sustainable Neighbourhood

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 18th, 2009

Source: Daily Commercial News

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From “Vancouver industrial hub transformed into sustainable neighbourhood” by  Jean Sorensen

Southeast False Creek (SEFC), a City of Vancouver reclamation project, is being designed to set a new urban sustainability standard in community development. The 80-acre site housing 16,000 people will become a neighbourhood of parks, market and subsidised housing, marine areas, community garden, shops, schools, and a community centre, growing out of what was once the industrial hub of the city. Sawmills, manufacturers, metal shops and marine-related shops once rimmed False Creek.  Subsurface investigation was made into soil and groundwater quality at SEFC to complete human health and risk assessment as part of a remedial action plan. In areas where contamination was severe, soils were removed and in areas of lesser contamination, the material was covered over and the land designated recreational use.

“I am told that this is the largest residential development in North America,” said Robin Petri, Vancouver’s Manager of Engineering for the SEFC & Olympic Village.  One of the unique features of the development, Petri points out, is that the roads are sloped so that rainwater drains into natural bioswales on each side of the village, negating the need to treat runoff water, while providing habitat for birds, animals, and marine life.  Buildings also capture and use water, with approximately 50 per cent having green roofs and 50 per cent directing the water into irrigation and functions such as toilet flushing. A neighborhood energy utility is the first in North America to gather heat directly from a raw sewage line, consolidate the heat and use it in a thermal system that loops pipe to various buildings and back to the utility building.

One of the challenges of the cleanup was that False Creek had been filled in along the shoreline over the years.   Much of the earlier materials used for fill were poor quality and these had to be removed and replaced.  To compensate for shoreline that was removed, an island was created in an inter-tidal zone allowing children to wade to it at low tide to examine marine life that has been returning to a once-derelict area. In February a project manager noticed white frothy bubbles around the island. It turned out to be herring roe – the first time it has been seen there in 50 years.

Read the full article by Jean Sorensen.

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