Curtis Ballard rushed to fasten plywood between parking curbs as rain cascaded down Wesbrook Mall. The water runoff streamed toward TRIUMF, the laboratory for particle and nuclear physics at UBC.
“The water outside eventually rose to our knees,” said Ballard, TRIUMF’s operations manager, who worked with personnel from the lab and the physical plant to clear catch basins and set up dewatering pumps.
Although the water from the flash flood seeped into offices and damaged flooring, the group’s work spared a nearby laser lab filled with high precision equipment. They now refer to it as the great flood of 2009.
Such temperamental tales become lore at the University of British Columbia, which sits on the outskirts of rainy Vancouver.
The project team behind Campus and Community Planning know the challenges of managing stormwater, but are also creating policy that may channel it into opportunity.
The planners are entering the final phase of drafting the UBC Vancouver Campus plan, the guiding document for the next 20 years of property development. Taping the copious amount of rainwater, a renewable resource, is finally on the agenda.