The Living Roof of Campbell River's city hall may look like it's suffering under the heat wave but city staff report that these plants are drought tolerant and were chosen for those properties.

City’s living roof is not dying

Questions about the health of the plants on award-winning "green roof" prompt reassurances from the city

Yes, even with the continuing warm weather and lack of rain, the city reports that the living roof at City Hall is alive and well.

“Some people have been asking whether the plants on the roof are okay because they are red and yellow. The answer is yes, and they’re supposed to be that colour. The sedum plants were selected for this location because they’re drought tolerant, require very little watering and maintenance. The red and yellow appearance was chosen to mimic the look of the plants on the dry, rocky bluffs visible across the water on Quadra Island,” says Jason Decksheimer, the city’s asset management supervisor. “The 15,000 sedums on top of the city hall roof are quite small, and might be difficult to see from a distance, but we’re happy to report that they’re doing the job they were designed to do.”

The living roof (also called a green roof for the environmental benefits it provides) is projected to double the life of the underlying conventional roof from 25 to 50 years by protecting the roof from ultra violet radiation, temperature variations and physical damage. The vegetation layer also provides an insulating layer which reduces the need for heating and cooling in the building and absorbs storm water, and fine particulate matter.

The city hall roof also has an inner courtyard (not visible from the street) with a Japanese style garden designed to mirror gardens in Campbell River’s sister city Ishikari, Japan. This inner courtyard contains more than 1,100 shrubs, succulents, ferns, and wildflowers including Oregon grape, stonecrop, tiger lily, coastal strawberry, deer fern, salal, licorice fern, sword fern, clematis and honeysuckle.

The city  hall roof received a national award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for Green Building and a provincial Climate and Energy award as it was the first extensive green roof retrofit to an existing civic facility in British Columbia.

The green roof cost $489,000 and was funded 100 per cent through Federal Gas Tax Dollars (Community Works Fund). This Community Works Funding was available for environmentally friendly municipal infrastructure projects that contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner water or cleaner air. Using this funding meant that there was no draw on local taxation and the city was able to save money that would have paid for a conventional roof replacement.

  • Want to learn more? The City of Campbell River offers tours to community groups and individuals interested in viewing the green roof. For more information or to book a tour contact City Hall at 250-286-5700.
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