Project Watershed brings vision to council

Seeking support of the project in principle, and a council liaison

  • Feb. 6, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society would like the former Field Sawmill site returned to a natural state and protected for long-term conservation.

Located on the banks of the Courtenay River near the 17th Street Bridge, the 8.39-acre property is adjacent to an area known as Hollyhock Marsh. It’s owned by International Forest Products (Interfor) and up for sale with Colliers International for $3.5 million.

The society proposes to create an engineered wetland for salmon rearing and refuge. Removing sheet piling along the riverbank would prevent seals from trapping and killing salmon.

The project was featured in the Jan. 13 edition of the Record (Campbell River supplies blueprint for reversion of sawmill site, see bit.ly/1ukzW4X).

“Right now, it’s a killing field for salmon,” estuary co-ordinator Jennifer Sutherst said in a presentation to Courtenay council Feb. 2.

Pavement would be replaced with saltmarsh, shrubs, trees and a natural, sloping riverbank. The plan also includes trails, bike paths and signage.

“This vision, we feel, is achievable,” Sutherst said. “It’s a strategic piece of land in terms of ecological value. We have a unique opportunity here.”

The idea would mirror the Baikie Island restoration project at the Campbell River Estuary, which she considers more complicated.

According to Project Watershed, native vegetation and restored riparian areas would form a natural barrier against flooding and storm surge. A restored site would also generate tourism revenue.

She feels the site is not suited to development due to flooding, height restrictions and habitat degradation.

“I’m 100 per cent supportive of this project,” Coun. Doug Hillian said. “I think it would be a tremendous amenity to this area.”

The society is asking council to support the project in principle, and to appoint a member to liaise with a community committee.

“We need partners and political will,” Sutherst said.

Council referred the matter for a staff report which is expected to appear on the Feb. 16 agenda.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley Record putting the call out to Snowbirds shutterbugs

David Suther sent in this great pic of the Snowbirds, shot from… Continue reading

Too Good To Be Threw back in downtown Courtenay with second location

The new store opened Tuesday at 456 5th Street

World Community screens This Mountain Life in Courtenay

The awe that mountainous landscapes evoke is universal. World Community presents the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Comox Valley Stage 4 water restrictions lifted

Video explains planning and execution of repair

Comox Valley youth rank high in Skills Canada BC competition

Comox Valley students brought home some new hardware last week after achieving… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

CONTEST ALERT: Win tickets to A Night of Bowie

Do you want to see “A Night of Bowie” on us? The… Continue reading

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Most Read