In 1911, after outbreaks of typhoid and beach closures blamed on sewage pollution, the leaders of four communities sought the advice of R.S. Lea, an internationally-respected sanitary engineer in Montreal. Lea proposed a regional system of sewers to protect bathing beaches and the salmon-rich waterways around the Burrard Peninsula, which then had a population of about 182,000.
“It is essential that the English Bay foreshore should be preserved from pollution,” Lea wrote in his 1913 report. In March 1914, members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia authorized the incorporation of the Vancouver and Districts Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board. The Board oversaw the financing, construction and operations of new sewers for the City of Vancouver and municipalities of Burnaby, Point Grey and South Vancouver.