Vancouver’s iconic Trout Lake in John Hendry Park will be the location of a new floating ecosystem to showcase the social and environmental benefits of aquatic restoration. It will also leave a legacy for a flagship water technology event taking place in the city.
The floating ecosystem installation has been made possible through a partnership between water technology intelligence company BlueTech Research, technology company Biomatrix Water, and the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation.
It will be launched during BlueTech Forum 2022, which takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on 7-8 June. Delegates will have the opportunity to join in the planting of the ecosystem as a collaborative experience, echoing the need for strong partnerships to solve the water challenges facing the planet.
The urban water feature comprises of interlocking floating platforms that will be planted with local flora to create habitats for native species. The mini ecosystem will grow in harmony with the local environment, supporting animals, including fish, birds, amphibians, insects and microbiology.
Construction of the installation in John Hendry Park is already underway by the team from Biomatrix Water and it could become a permanent feature at Trout Lake.
Biomatrix floating ecosystems require minimal maintenance and use 100% sustainable, recycled, and non-toxic materials. As well as improving water quality, habitat diversity, and mental wellbeing through increased contact with natural spaces, they can also be a source of environmental education - revealing the benefits of aquatic restoration to the public.
Biomatrix Water managing director Galen Fulford said: “Through our work at Biomatrix, we aim to create an opportunity for people to reconnect with the natural world at the heart of the places where they live.
“Natural wetland water systems have been increasing biodiversity and water quality and providing habitats for plants and animals for millennia. The installation of a floating ecosystem at John Hendry Park is an incredible opportunity to help create more thriving ecosystems right within the city of Vancouver.”
BlueTech Forum 2022 will bring together technology and engineering experts from the world of water, along with investors and prominent thought leaders, to forge collaborative solutions to the world’s water challenges.
Paul O’Callaghan, chief executive of BlueTech Research, said, “It has long been my dream to leave a lasting legacy on the cities playing host to BlueTech Forum, and for the first time we are making it a reality.
“The theme of this year’s BlueTech Forum is ‘radical collaboration for regeneration’, and attendees can now take an active part in a very creative and practical project while working alongside their peers. We are not just talking the talk, we are walking the walk and creating memories that will last long after delegates return home.”
On 6 June, Forum delegates, park board staff, and members of the community will come together at John Hendry Park with BlueTech Forum’s keynote speakers including anthropologist Wade Davis, and environmental author Paul Hawkin. They will meet the team behind the floating ecosystem and take part in planting saplings onto the installation before it is floated onto the Trout Lake.
Chad Townsend, senior planner of environment and sustainability at the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation said: “The impacts of climate change – unseasonably cold temperatures, extreme heat, extended drought - are a continued threat to Vancouver’s environment and wildlife, we must do everything we can as a city to seek new, sustainable ways to support our greenspaces through this climate emergency.
“Not only is this the first step in increasing biodiversity in John Hendry Park, but it’s an experiment in testing innovative new solutions to support our local flora and fauna and improve the natural habitats in which they live long term.”
The installation will also help offset carbon emissions from the Forum, with a percentage of every ticket going towards its funding. It joins others that Biomatrix Water have installed worldwide, including in the UK, US, Philippines, India and China.