Ed Robertson

Rain garden gnomes kick-off Victoria stormwater awareness

Gnome signs will be placed around Victoria to raise awareness about how stormwater is managed and used.



Walking through Laura Porcher’s Gonzales property is like looking 50 years into the future.

The gutters around Porcher’s roof funnel rainwater into a 1200-litre cistern, which she uses to water her backyard vegetable garden and chicken coop.

Near the sidewalk, a simple rain garden grows where there was once grass, while permeable concrete absorbs runoff along the driveway.

“It was about sustainability for me,” said Porcher, who completed the landscaping renovation last February. “It made sense to me to have something harmonious with nature that wouldn’t require a lot of upkeep, and it’s very simple and beautiful.”

In 2014, Porcher will become one of a few Victoria homeowners eligible for a full 40 per cent discount under the City of Victoria’s new stormwater utility.

For residential homeowners, the city will soon begin calculating the utility charge from the “hard area” footprint, or roof coverage, of each home. Driveway footprints will be averaged at three per cent of the roof’s footprint, while annual discounts will be available for homes that have rain gardens, cisterns, green roofs or permeable surfaces.

Permeable paving includes everything from porous concrete to gravel to “grass-crete,” or concrete stones that allow grass to grow between them, said Ed Robertson, assistant director of public works.

“They’re not excessively more expensive than asphalt driveways,” he said. “The more pressure we can take off the stormwater system helps to reduce flooding in the longterm, and it would help us to delay or reduce some of the upsizing of the system.”

The city is modelling its stormwater program on similar programs in Waterloo, Kitchener, Edmonton and Portland. Staff are planning a series of open houses beginning later this month to garner public input before presenting a report to council in January.

Homeowners eligible for stormwater credits will be able to apply annually for fee reductions, said Brianne Czypyha, the city’s stormwater management specialist.

To learn more about rainwater management and credits, visit victoria.ca/stormwater.

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read