July 23, 2010

Politicians Tour Byrne Creek

Thanks to a passel of politicians who took the time to go on a tour of the Byrne Creek watershed in southeast Burnaby today!

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society board members Joan Carne and moi led MP Peter Julian, MLAs Raj Chouhan and Kathy Corrigan, and City of Burnaby Councillors Sav Dhaliwal and Paul McDonell down the ravine trail.

The goal of today's tour was to impart the importance of environmentally-friendly development to the health of urban creeks. The City of Burnaby was a trailblazer in implementing an "open creeks" policy several decades ago, but the creeks cannot survive in a constantly urbanizing environment without progressive development policies that require rain gardens, and roadside and parking-lot swales - anything and everything that helps get rainwater into the ground where it belongs, filtering out pollutants along the way.

SPONGE

That's the word of the day. Our cities must be developed as SPONGES, just like the forests, fields, and bogs that they've filled in. Get that water back into the ground, and you're way ahead in the fight against pollution, against flooding, against massive storm flows off of our streets, roofs and parking lots. . .

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Getting oriented to the watershed.

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Distracted by potential voters on the ravine trail :-)

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A group of nature-loving daycare kids exploring the lovely
creek stole our hearts.

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Checking out a simple swale that absorbs run-off from a parking lot
instead of draining it into the storm system - and then the local creek.

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Observing a site that streamkeepers approached the City of Burnaby
about, suggesting it could become a large rain garden. The dead-end
street will be decommissioned and turned into a lovely, water-infiltrating
garden that will also bridge Taylor Park and Byrne Creek Ravine Park.

Taylor Park Elementary School just up the hill is already excited about the potential to use the rain garden as a nature-study site. After the pavement is ripped up, and water starts to flow again, and native plants are planted - what species begin to use the habitat? And how does that change and progress over the years. What a great, ongoing science project!

Thanks again to our elected representatives! We know you are very busy, and we appreciate your time and attention. I think another concept that was related today was the fact that streamkeeper groups are 100% volunteer. None of us get any financial compensation for what we do - including today's tour. . .  In fact we take unpaid time off from our day jobs to do events like this. . .

So, now, ahem, let's see some action for our tax dollars ! ;-)

Posted by Paul at July 23, 2010 03:30 PM