Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities was joined by Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, to announce that under the Natural Infrastructure Fund, the City of Vancouver is invited to apply for up to $20 million in funding.
As highlighted in Budget 2021, the City of Vancouver is a leader in natural infrastructure solutions, through its innovative and community-driven Rain City Strategy, which uses natural infrastructure, such as absorbent landscaping, tree trenches, and green roofs, to prevent urban flooding and improve water quality. This includes the Wetland at Hinge Park in Southeast False Creek, which manages 2/3 of the street rainwater runoff from the Olympic Village neighbourhood, while providing rich habitat and biodiversity within the park. The Strategy outlines a series of actions to improve water quality in the natural environment, increase the resilience to climate change, and enhance natural ecosystems in the city, with a goal to capture and clean 90 per cent of the City’s average annual rainfall.
As a part of the Government’s new, $200 million Natural Infrastructure Fund, select major cities with innovative natural infrastructure strategies are being invited to apply for funding of up to $20 million under the Large Project Stream, in support of their work. A second stream will be created to enable provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous organizations and others to apply for funding for smaller natural infrastructure projects under an open and merit-based selection process. More details about the launch of the Small Project Stream will follow. A minimum of ten per cent of the overall program envelope will be allocated to Indigenous recipients.
Natural infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, creates a connection to nature that contributes to wellness and mental health, and increased access to green spaces promotes recreation and social connection. It is a key part of Canada’s economic recovery from the pandemic and commitment to one million jobs, and will help make our communities more resilient to climate change while enhancing access to nature and healthy living.
The Government of Canada is committed to getting funding to communities when they need it the most in a way that achieves triple benefits: grow our economy and create jobs; tackle climate change; and build a more resilient and inclusive country for all Canadians.
“With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, cities and towns need to take increasing action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. As a part of the Government’s Natural Infrastructure Fund, up to $20 million is available for the City of Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy, which will improve water quality in the natural environment, increase Vancouver’s resilience to climate change, and enhance natural ecosystems in the city, with a goal to capture and clean 90 per cent of the city’s annual rainfall. Through this investment we’re creating good jobs, tackling climate change, and building more inclusive communities.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“In Vancouver, climate adaptation and nature-based solutions go hand in hand. The latest evolution of this work is the Rain City Strategy, our ambitious plan to capture and clean 90% of Vancouver’s annual rainfall with nature-based solutions. But a plan this ambitious can only succeed with the support and backing of partners who get it, and that’s where the Government of Canada’s Natural Infrastructure Fund comes in. This fund will help cities like Vancouver scale up nature-based solutions to the climate emergency, while creating thousands of green jobs and beautiful urban spaces at the same time.”
Kennedy Stewart, Mayor, City of Vancouver
Natural and hybrid infrastructure can deliver real, valuable community services and benefits to Canadians – from stormwater management to reducing the impacts of flooding and extreme heat, while contributing to cleaner air, cleaner water, and more green space for people and local birds and wildlife.
Examples of natural or hybrid infrastructure include wetlands, parks, urban forests, green roofs, rain gardens, bioswales, and naturalized stormwater ponds.
Budget 2021 announced $200 million over 3 years to Infrastructure Canada to establish a Natural Infrastructure Fund supporting natural and hybrid infrastructure projects. The Fund will be implemented through two streams and will support a number of large and small-scale projects across the country.
As a part of the Natural Infrastructure Fund’s Large Project Stream, select major cities with innovative natural infrastructure strategies are being invited to apply for funding of to up to $20 million in support of their work. Upon receipt and approval of an application, projects under the Large Project Stream will be eligible to receive up to $20 million.
Through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, over $3 billion is available to provide provinces and territories with added flexibility to fund quick-start, short term projects, including active transportation infrastructure, such as parks, trails, foot bridges, bike lanes and multi-use path, and disaster mitigation and adaptation projects, including natural infrastructure and tree planting.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Infrastructure Canada has approved more than 3,600 projects, representing more than $9.9 billion in federal investments, under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.