The waters of Canyon Creek between Pacific Spirit Regional Park and Spanish Banks Beach Park currently enter a culvert pipe under Northwest Marine Drive and the beach before reaching Burrard Inlet.
The Vancouver Park Board is considering daylighting the 85-metre-long segment of Canyon Creek within West Parking Lot A and the beach park that is north of the roadway.
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A Park Board staff report estimates daylighting the buried creek would affect about 20 vehicle parking stalls, based on a surface channel and naturalized riparian area width of about 25 metres.
Currently, the area above the culvert is Spanish Banks’ off-leash dog area, which is the third largest in the city spanning over 12 acres. About half an acre of the off-leash dog area would have to be removed, and the riparian area would have to be fenced off to protect the wildlife from dogs.
There are three creeks in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park watershed that flow north out into Burrard Inlet, but only Canyon Creek is not daylighted north of the roadway.
Spanish Banks Creek to the east was restored with Park Board approval in 1999, and salmon have been successfully introduced. To the west, Salish Creek was upgraded by Metro Vancouver Regional District in 2017, including adding baffles to the culvert under the roadway to improve stream characteristics and planting native vegetation in the riparian area.
The Park Board, under the City of Vancouver, has a 99-year lease from the provincial government for the area that is used as a beach park. The lease expires in January 2029, and negotiations would be required for a renewal of the lease. The proposed daylighting project would be undertaken only within the city’s lease area.
Preliminary analysis by Park Board staff has deemed the daylighting of Canyon Creek through Spanish Banks Beach Park as feasible. The next steps are to conduct public consultation, prepare preliminary concept plans, and develop a project budget. Further planning and design can be perofrmed under the existing 2019-2022 budget, but the cost for implementation would have to come from the 2023-2026 capital plan.
“Daylighting Canyon Creek through Spanish Banks Beach Park is potentially feasible; the headwaters are protected within a conservation-focused regional park, and this is one of the very few creeks in a Vancouver park that could easily be daylighted with thoughtful planning and engagement,” reads the staff report.
“Given its location, it would enjoy high visibility and educational/ecological awareness value. The project aligns with Park Board and City policy goals to increase access to nature, create new habitat areas, and manage and treat storm water through natural features.”
Further east in Kitsilano, the Park Board has plans to daylight the historical creek that once flowed through Tatlow Park and Volunteer Park, just east of Macdonald Street.