CITY OF VICTORIA RECOMMITS TO BOWKER CREEK DAYLIGHTING: “Despite having covered it up, urbanized it with all the hard surfaces in the watershed, Bowker Creek is still here. Instead of just a ditch to move stormwater or carry away pollution out into the ocean, we’re looking at it as an environmental asset,” stated Soren Henrich, Chair of the Friends of Bowker Creek, when he commented on Council’s game-changing decision to kick-off the second decade of Bowker Blueprint implementation
Note to Reader:
Bowker Creek originates at the University of Victoria and flows for 8 km through three municipalities – Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay. The creekshed is completely urbanized. The impervious area coverage is 56%. Two-thirds of the creek is buried in pipes. Over 30,000 people reside in the surrounding creekshed. The Bowker Creek Blueprint is a 100-year action plan to peel back the pavement, daylight an historical creek, and restore nature within the Victoria urban region on Vancouver Island.
Restoration of Historical Creeks in the City of Victoria
In February 2021, the 12-clause motion moved by Councillor Jeremy Loveday and passed by Victoria Council is the game-changer that launched the second decade of the 100-Year Action Plan. Not only did Councillors recommit the City of Victoria to implement the Blueprint, they also directed staff to report back on scope and resources needed to daylight certain reaches of the creek identified in the Daylighting Feasibility Study. In addition, they passed partner motions to direct staff to look for opportunities to restore or daylight other historic creeks in the City of Victoria.
“Ten years into a 100-year restoration plan, the narrative of Greater Victoria’s Bowker Creek is changing stream. The creek is being viewed again as a resource for native plants, diverse wildlife and local residents,” wrote reporter Nina Grossman in an article published in the Oak Bay News in March 2021.
To Learn More:
To read the complete article published in the Oak Bay News, Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost.
Moments that Shift Understanding
“There is this undercurrent of human desire to be near water, and to connect with water in the city. In the last ten years, we have seen more and more recognition that the creek is there. Whereas before people would ask ‘where is Bowker Creek?’, now there is more signage, and many more community connections,” reports Soren Henrich.
“You never quite know what is going to create a moment for someone that will shift their understanding forever,” continues Councillor Jeremy Loveday. “But we must do our best to make sure that we are presenting the opportunities for those moments to be created. I came to see celebration of the 10th anniversary as an opportunity for the City of Victoria to recommit to the Blueprint plus bring awareness of it to the forefront of people’s understanding of the city that they live in, and the difference that their actions can have on the watershed.”
To learn more, click on these links:
Parksville 2019 on YouTube > Bowker Creek Daylighting in the Capital Regional District – “We are changing the way we develop land by attempting to re-engineer the hydrological function back into our urban landscape. We are, in some ways, cultivating a new land ethic,” stated Jody Watson, Past-Chair, Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative (April 2019)
BOWKER CREEK BLUEPRINT: “Why did we choose Bowker Creek when it is a rather degraded watershed? If we could make it right in Bowker Creek, we could make it right anywhere,” stated Jody Watson, Chair, Bowker Creek Initiative, when she told the story of the 100-Year Action Plan (February 2010)
BOWKER CREEK RESTORATION IS A BEACON OF HOPE: “Agree on the vision. Set the targets. Provide planners with the detail necessary to guide site level decisions as opportunities arise. Then implement,” urges Jody Watson, Capital Regional District (Module C on Day Two of the Parksville 2019 Symposium – a presentation on moving towards restorative development)