About Delta Landscape

Boundary Bay: The Resilient Residency

South Delta’s low lying residential neighbourhood is the prototypical area for development of a resilient community in the face of very real climate change threats. Due to projected sea level rise and more extreme storm events, some of Boundary Bay will find itself subject to more frequent flooding. So, with that in mind, the task within this community is to create adaptation solutions to allow the residents of Beach Grove to live with, above, or away from, the impending higher sea levels. Different strategies exist for moving Boundary Bay forward in the future. There are also challenges, such as establishing the community’s diverse needs and unique environmental conditions in context of Delta. There are clear rewards, however, when it comes to developing effective energy management, food growth, ecosystem health and transportation options along with adaptive climate change solutions. A resilient Boundary Bay would serve as a model of the different ways to adapt to sea level rise and climate change within a holistically functioning community.

North Delta: The Urban Grid

North Delta finds itself in an interesting situation relative to the rest of the Delta area. Along the upland precipice at the northeastern edge of Delta overlooking the Vancouver Metro area, the zone does not face an imminent flood risk but has other challenges and opportunities. This area has the highest existing population density and the numbers are rising along with new development. Additionally, residents who find themselves displaced from other low-lying parts of Delta due to sea level rise or other impacts, could find themselves heading for the higher grounds of North Delta.  Inefficiently designed community infrastructure will only strain itself to exhaustion when under the pressure of increased population growth. This area has great potential for being a leader in demonstrating for the region how climate change causes could be decreased.  There are several options for organizing together to choses win-win solutions to reduce greenhouse gases. Players curious about how to design within a highly built environment, including mixed –use neighborhoods, complete communities and more sustainable transportation, energy, and food solutions, will find themselves interested in North Delta’s urban areas.

Industrial River Road: The Regional Engine

Along the Fraser River are the gears and wheels of a complex network of urban infrastructure that services the region. This economically focused area is the industrial hub, containing a concrete jungle of warehouses, ports, factories, and critical utilities for all of Metro Vancouver. Amidst the buildings, commercial parks, sprawling manufacturing, and parking lots, lies the task of building sustainable solutions in highly impacted lands between a river and Burns Bog. The industrial Delta coast must consider water risk as well as other concerns for players include changing weather patterns. Issues like more intense storms and drier warmer summers could lead to a host of challenges for providing the quality of life Delta has come to depend on. Here players can explore, energy management, materials, energy and transportation flow in eco-industrial networks and consider how to turn grey into green – both economically and environmentally.

Ladner: History and Perseverance

Ladner is the center of history and heritage in the Delta area. Traditionally a fishing village, Ladner presents a unique challenge to the player: move forward with contemporary sustainable solutions that respond to modern demands while respecting the treasured customs, traditions and places of the past. Ladner is not immune to the realities of sea level rise, and being located beside the scenic harbour it must adapt, but the key will be to do so without shedding the historic charm of the community. Ladner’s landmark is its famed harbour and the nearby highly pedestrian friendly downtown. Here the player can explore solutions related to marine and freshwater use and management. Players can look to Ladner as an icon of perseverance that has already added layers of adaptation to changing times. Options include floating homes and players can look to existing examples. The goal is to support this historic center of Ladner while integrating inspiring solutions such as engineered flood infrastructure and adaptations that integrate seamlessly with soft solutions such as open space, urban parks and trees, rooftop gardens or renewable energy that compliments the allure and attraction of this pleasant community.

Westham Island: The Pastoral Paradise

Westham Island is home to family farms and visitors enjoy berry picking, farm tours, and harvest festivals. It has also become a birders paradise thanks to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. With over 250 bird species recorded in the area, this oasis from the urban surroundings of Metro Vancouver is a world renowned site for watching birds along the pacific flyway that take advantage of this critical piece of preserved coastal wetland habitat.  If you feel strongly connected to nature, you won’t find a better environment than the one offered by this community where farm life and wildlife exist side-by-side. However, both the agricultural way of life and the expanse of the bird sanctuary face the realities of the impending sea level rise, rising groundwater tables, and changes to temperature and weather. Another unique challenge to agriculture in the area is that soils and water for irrigation continue to get saltier as the sea encroaches from all sides, and this affects what can grow there. So what to do? Westham Island is home to two unique elements, rich agricultural knowledge and a touristic perspective of nature’s beauty. The decisions made within the community and by the larger area as a whole may determine whether or not Westham Island’s current way of life can continue. Should change be embraced with different crops, new ideas in eco-tourism or new thinking in energy supply with livestock biogas or crop biofuels? What will the regions food needs and possibilities be in the future? Westham Island can contribute with its productivity- both ecologically and agriculturally, and is an invaluable asset to the growth of the rest of Delta.