Creek must have adequate protection

Just over a year ago, attention was drawn to Nanaimo city council that city park land within a riparian area.

To the Editor,

Just over a year ago, attention was drawn to Nanaimo city council that city park land within a riparian area was being used as a staging area for road construction works.

The area in question was adjacent to Departure Creek, immediately behind the 7-Eleven. The street address is 1420 Bay St.

The issue was that muddy rain water and construction materials were allowed to slough into the creek from a designated riparian area.

City staff were quick to respond to this concern. This was then followed up by a letter from staff stating: “the city puts forth a great deal of effort in connection with protecting green space and sensitive environments;” that “biologists, environmental monitors, arborists and other professionals are hired to provide advice and direction on how to minimize the impact of construction;” and that “parks is proceeding with some actions to improve the situation.”

The city, in partnership with the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, Stream Keepers and the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association, held a public meeting at the Kin Hut to address issues of concern for this creek.

Departure Creek is a designated salmon stream, one that supports a visible seasonal salmon fishery at its estuary where a considerable number of pink salmon regularly congregate. It also supports a population of cutthroat trout.

At this Bay Street location, it is bad enough environmentally to have the back wall of the 7-Eleven almost within the creek, but having a bare parking lot hugging the stream bank on its opposite side is considerably worse. That this situation continues to exist is blatant and the continuing neglect for the restoration of this riparian eye sore is deplorable.

Being in such a visible location, the lack of action or apparent concern sends an extremely poor message to citizens about the City of Nanaimo’s current regard and attention to environmental stewardship.

This is certainly at odds to the bold statements in Plan Nanaimo, particularly Goal 5, to protect and enhance our environment.

My understanding is that the land at 1420 Bay St. is city park land. Between this property and 7-Eleven is a long narrow rectangular parcel of land of unknown ownership. This streamside property is currently being used as a truck parking lot (also not a very environmental friendly activity).

My suggestion is that the city either acquire this streamside property outright or swap it for an equal value portion of the parkland adjacent  to 1430 Bay St., then attempt to fully restore the riparian area of the truck parking area and the city parkland starting with fast growing big-leaf maple and red alder trees, and other native shrub species.

When all the resources our city has at its disposal, and the number of people who pass sites such as the one at the foot of Bay Street on a daily basis are considered, I am dumbfounded why situations such as this are allowed to be neglected for extended periods of time.

Bill Merilees