St.George Rainway Proposal for Public Engagement

Elise Carelse, Hannah Deppiesse, Jesse Kemp, Zoey Schutz, Laurie Solkoski

Objectives 

  •   To reach members of the public from across the spectrum of support and include their input in an equitable way

  •   To engage the local public in actively contributing to the project via citizen science and/or environmentally friendly initiatives at the personal scale (e.g. rain barrels)

  •   To engage with elementary school-aged children at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in order to foster a sense of personal involvement in the project and to raise the next generation of environmental champions

  •   To remember and pay homage to the historic stream that underlies St George Street 

Next Steps

Our hope for this proposal is that it generates robust community support for the St George Rainway and that it can also serve as a pilot project to model citizen engagement with future GRI initiatives. In order to ensure the long-term success of this goal, we have several recommendations for next steps the City could take to expand the scope of this engagement proposal.

As a solution for any existing language barriers that prevent community engagement, resources could be translated into languages other than English. Temporary and permanent signage for example could be displayed in multiple languages. If it is cost- or space-prohibitive to include multiple versions of each sign, a QR code that links to a digital version of the translated signs could be added to each sign so that community members will all be able to understand the content.

Should our classroom workshops for students in grades 4 – 7 be successful, we suggest that these workshops be adapted for the younger grades. The workshops would of course have to be modified to be appropriate for younger children. We feel that because this workshop takes place largely outside and involves locating and discussing unique and interesting organisms, it would excite young children’s natural curiosity and should therefore be appropriate for younger children if approached correctly.

Should our proposal be successful in engaging the community at large, we believe that it could serve as a template for community engagement with similar GRI projects in Vancouver in the future. We recognize that inviting an ecologist and a Coast Salish representative requires rigorous scheduling and potential financial constraints, which could be prohibitive for any upscaling of the classroom workshop. We therefore recommend that to expand the scope of this type of school workshop, a recorded video lesson could take the place of the in-person classroom lesson with the ecologist and Coast Salish representative. This video lesson could be more generalized about the ecology of the region so that it would be appropriate to play at schools in different areas prior to a teacher-led iNaturalist outing. Should our social media campaign be successfully embraced by the online community, we recommend that the City of Vancouver adopt a unique hashtag to use for all future GRI projects and employ a similar series of cross-platform posts to educate and engage the public.

Following the Rainway installation, St George Street could be a possible host for community events like World Water Day, Earth Day, or World Health Day. Events such as these would add to the Rainway’s place-making potential by attracting citizens from outside the area, instilling pride in residents for their community, and increasing the overall appeal of the St George area. It would showcase the completed Rainway project and provide an opportunity to further engage and educate people on the co-benefits of GRI in general. 

Research Poster

Final Report