North Vancouver Streetscape Utilizes Silva Cells for Soil Volume and Stormwater Treatment

The Versatile Building project at 3rd Street and Lonsdale Avenue included upgraded green infrastructure and ten new street trees


As part of the Versatile Building condominium project in North Vancouver, the corner along 3rd Street and Lonsdale Avenue also received an upgraded sidewalk with ten new trees in 2013. To ensure city requirements for soil volume (10 cubic meters per tree) were met, the design team at Durante Kreuk specified the DeepRoot Silva Cell system; likewise, Vector Engineering led the project’s mandated stormwater detention and treatment element, simultaneously utilizing the Silva Cells to detain and cleanse the water before entering the municipal sewer system.

Installation Summary

Number of Silva Cells: 210

Amount of Soil Volume Per Tree: 10 m

Number of Trees: 10

Type of Project: Integrated, Stormwater

Project Designer: Durante Kreuk and Vector Engineering

Project Contractor: Ray Contracting

Installation Date of Silva Cells: 2013

The Project

A condo development located at 3rd Street and Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, the Versatile Building is a 62-unit residence with commercial space on the ground level that officially opened in 2013. In addition to the newly built condos, the sidewalk adjacent to the Versatile Building also received a facelift — ten new trees accessing 10 cubic meters of soil volume each, per city mandate.

Likewise, North Vancouver requires the incorporation of low-impact development (LID) to assist with at-source stormwater management along the building frontage. The Durante Kreuk design team in tandem with Vector Engineering specified the DeepRoot Silva Cell to assist in both of these project priorities.

DeepRoot Silva Cell Success

Durante Kreuk did the initial layouts for the trees on the corner of 3rd Street and Lonsdale Avenue. North Vancouver requires new public-realm urban trees to be provided, at minimum, 10 cubic meters of soil volume per tree — a project necessity made possible by the DeepRoot Silva Cells, which were placed under the rebuilt sidewalk to support the suspended pavement and ensure enough quality, uncompacted soil for mature root growth within its void space.

Additionally, the design team needed to meet North Vancouver’s stormwater regulations. The city requires any new residential development with three or more housing units to submit a management plan that includes “design of stormwater source controls for both volumetric reduction and water quality/treatment for both on-site and neighbouring street areas.”

Vector Engineering spearheaded the stormwater element of the project — they recognized that utilizing the Silva Cells as an LID feature (both on-site and along adjacent streets) was the most efficient, affordable option, given the system’s pre-integration providing trees with city-mandated soil volume.

The flatness of 3rd Street allowed stormwater to be captured further up the road and drain into the catch basin at the corner of Lonsdale Avenue. Along the more sloped angle of Lonsdale itself, the Silva Cells were stepped to allow a better distribution of water (the pipe being flat at each step). There is also an underdrain at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue draining into the downstream catch basin.

After just a few years, the trees along this corner are already thriving, bringing a welcoming green feature to the busy city corner. DeepRoot is excited to revisit the site this summer and capture the progress even further.

Additional Resources

Check out other DeepRoot projects in North Vancouver here and here.


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