City of Vernon wins a 2020 Sustainable Communities Award


The City of Vernon has been selected as a winner of a 2020 Sustainable Communities Award for exceptional work in the Asset Management category. The awards honour and celebrate the most innovative environmental initiatives in cities and communities across Canada.

“It is a great honour for the City to receive this recognition,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Awards highlights municipalities that are demonstrating environmental responsibility while building social and economic benefits for their communities. We can be proud of the work taking place in Vernon to grow our City responsibily, taking steps to work with our natural assets and become more resilient to on-going significant climate change impacts.”

The recognition comes following the development of a Drainage Infrastructure Prioritization Plan. The aim of the grant funded project was to better understand climate change vulnerabilities within our local stormwater drainage network, and ultimately extend the life of our drainage system through prioritized investment. The work was done in partnership with the consulting firm Urban Systems and the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB).

The project included large amounts of data to answer complex drainage questions for the region. “In the end, it was satisfying to see state-of-the-art technology merged with local knowledge to help the City answer forward-thinking questions around drainage risk, climate change, and asset management,” said Brendan Pauls, Project Lead with Urban Systems.

“We were extremely fortunate to be able to partner with the OBWB, as they were in the process of conducting their own flood mapping study using a tool called LiDAR,” said Geoff Mulligan, Project Lead with the City of Vernon. “This state-of-the-art technology provides high density data, which allows the City to calculate the most likely path a drop of water will take – from when it hits the ground until it reaches our creeks and lakes – to define overland flow routes. The City is now better equipped to understand how water moves through our region, where our vulnerabilities currently exist, and how we can work towards mitigating future risk due to climate change.”

The City of Vernon is one of 11 municipalities from across the country chosen by the FCM for their outstanding efforts in one of nine categories: asset management, brownfields, climate change, energy, neighbourhoods, transportation, waste, water and a new category in honour of GMF’s 20th anniversary.

“Local solutions—scaled up—deliver major national impact, like economic growth and the emission reductions Canada needs to meet its climate change goals,” said Bill Karsten, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “Whether it is through improved energy efficiency, fewer greenhouse gas emissions or stronger local infrastructure, local governments get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively because they connect solutions to local needs and local realities. This year's FCM Sustainable Communities Award winners embody those principles of sustainability and collaboration. Moreover, they exemplify how municipal innovation can have concrete impacts and deliver for Canadians.”