The City of Kelowna is looking at new ways to decrease its carbon footprint via “green infrastructure” initiatives that could brighten up city roads.
Green infrastructure is engineering designed specifically to deviate as little as possible from nature through designs that mimic and maintain connectivity to natural systems.
A four-month investigation by a city intern into ways to implement such projects ultimately ended with the idea to pursue a new way to manage water on roadways. Rather than typical curb-and-gutter systems seen along most Kelowna roadways now, the city would replace them with bio-retention bump-outs and bio-swales.
Instead of water flowing into stormwater drains, it would be slowly filtered back into the ground. It would also offer an opportunity for increased roadside landscaping.
The cost, over an 80-year time frame, would also be substantially lower, city staff said. A 70-lot case study showed that construction, maintenance and renewal over that timeframe would cost $1.8 million, compared to the $2.4-million cost of the traditional approach.
With DCC’s and zoning bylaws expected to be updated this year, staff said this provides an opportunity to integrate green infrastructure policy and design into those plans.
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