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Burnaby Mountain is located about 15 kilometres due east from Downtown Vancouver, and is situated in the City of Burnaby on the West Coast of Canada. With a population of 180,000 people, Burnaby is the third largest municipality in the Province of British Columbia. Located at the top of Burnaby Mountain is Simon Fraser University (SFU).

The mountainside below the university is in a natural state. The mountain is a green oasis within a ‘big city’ urban environment. It is often described as the ‘crown jewel’ of Burnaby.

The ‘SFU vision’ is to develop a complete urban community at the top of Burnaby Mountain that demonstrates principles of sustainable development through a balanced approach, one that builds a compact community while protecting natural systems. One of the underpinning principles is to manage watercourses and stormwater flows to protect aquatic habitat in affected watersheds.

This new community will be highly urban – with densities ranging from townhouse up to ten storey towers. It will include a main-street commercial area, new university buildings, and extensive underground parking. This density of development will involve extensive modification to the land, including the realignment of several intermittent and disturbed headwater streams, as well as daylighting of existing piped watercourses.

The paper compares traditional stormwater management approaches to urban development with the approach applied at Burnaby Mountain. It discusses how project planning included science-based rainfall capture criteria that clarified stormwater objectives for the development.

The paper shows how the proposed system balances storage on private development parcels, on-street storage and downstream detention using a full range of best management practices, ranging from in-building cisterns, to absorptive landscape soils, to constructed wetlands.

The paper explains how the concept of ‘functional equivalency’ was applied to the development plan, and how the design for the site assesses the contribution that each existing ditch and small tributary makes to the watershed to ensure that an equal or better equivalent is provided in the final development.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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