The park council is set to vote on whether to go ahead with a project that could see the restoration of a creek near Spanish Banks beach.
A report recommending the restoration of Canyon Creek says the project would result in changes to the city’s third-largest off-leash dog zone and the removal of nearly three dozen parking spots nearby.
The creek is currently covered with a field of swampy grass but may soon see the light of day, provided all stakeholders, including Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, and the province, agree on how to do. Public consultations would also be necessary.
Dave Demers, commissioner of the Green Party park council, took to Twitter to support the project and called it a “rare opportunity.”
Restoration of the stream would include replanting native plants to create new habitat for birds, aquatic animals and pollinator species, according to a new report prepared by Francisca Olaya, an environmental planner for the city.
“The general concept and goal would be to light up the stream to look like a stream in as natural a state as possible,” it read.
“There are relatively few opportunities for daylight flow in parks in the city,” he continues.
But the restoration of the creek would affect the dog park, the availability of the parking lot and the bike path, and therefore a “global public engagement” would be necessary.
Since the creek is currently flowing under an area of the off-leash dog zone, the newly restored creek habitat is at risk of being damaged by adventurous dogs. Therefore, the report recommends fencing the creek area. This would reduce the off-leash area by about four percent.
The report also states that natural lighting in the creek could result in the loss of approximately 35 of the existing 266 parking spaces that are spread over multiple lots, reducing parking spaces by 13%.
The nearby bike path would also have to be diverted, which would solve a current problem of the bike path and the pedestrian path being too close to each other, according to the report.
“The gravel bike and pedestrian paths through the off-leash area run parallel to each other near the beach,” one reads.
“The existing paths between the open grass area of the off-leash area and the beach are currently a conflict zone for cyclists, pedestrians and off-leash dogs. “
It is also possible that the salmon could eventually use the stream. Spanish Banks Creek, about 400 meters east of Canyon Creek, was restored in the late 1990s. The project was completed in 1999 and by November 2000, coho salmon had returned to the creek after 50 years of development. ‘absence, according to Park Council documents.