A new Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond is being designed using a regenerative approach.
Iona Island is in the Fraser River estuary where the river meets the sea, next to Vancouver International Airport and Iona Beach Regional Park, and across the river from the Musqueam Indian Band’s primary reserve.
The new plant will improve the level of treatment to protect water quality, and meet federal and provincial regulations. The project team is also planning for other community and environmental benefits. This is where a regenerative approach comes in – recognizing that the plant is part of a much larger system, including visitors to Iona Beach Regional Park, adjacent communities and businesses, and millions of migrating Pacific salmon and birds.
A regenerative approach asks not only how the new plant can minimize its impact but also how it can make a net positive contribution to our communities and the surrounding ecosystems. It uses systems with an aim to incorporate ideas such as how energy beyond the needs of the plant could be used, if fish and wildlife habitat can be increased, and how to seamlessly integrate the plant, park and community.
Some of the proposed opportunities for the new plant include:
- Generating renewable, low carbon energy for the community,
- Creating, enhancing and protecting fish and wildlife habitat, and
- Adding more trails, boardwalks and viewing platforms to Iona Beach Regional Park.
Metro Vancouver is currently in the Project Definition Phase for the project and planning the integration of the plant with the park and community, and developing habitat enhancement opportunities is also underway.