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Penticton Creek restoration project reaches ‘important milestone’

Latest stage of the project was valued at $4.5 million
Penticton deputy mayor Helena Konanz, seen middle right, cutting ceremonial ribbon at Norton Street and Wade Avenue East, the site of the latest completed section of the Penticton Creek restoration project. (Logan Lockhart/Black Press)

A major milestone in the multi-year-long Penticton Creek restoration project was marked on Wednesday, May 29.

As part of the city’s latest efforts to naturalize the creek, crews have been working to remove the “channelized” concrete banks from the 1950s when flooding devastated parts of Penticton’s downtown core.

City officials and community members gathered by the creek at Norton Street and Wade Avenue East on May 30, to mark the completion of the project’s latest stage, which spanned 320 metres.

Along with helping reduce the risk of future flooding, the city’s work was praised for supporting native fish species and other wildlife.

“This is an important milestone in this project that serves two functions: creating a more resilient community and improving the fish habitat,” Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield said.

“It’s also a great example of the power of partnerships, working with the Penticton Indian Band, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, community groups, and the federal and provincial government to move the project from dream to reality.”

Construction on the latest section of the creek restoration project began in 2022. Four years earlier, Penticton council approved a plan to restore the creek in several phases over many years at an estimated cost of $30 million.

The latest restoration work was valued at $4.5 million, with the provincial and federal governments providing funding through grants.

“Restoring Penticton Creek will help protect the community from any future floods while also helping preserve the local fish and wildlife habitats,” said, Sean Fraser, the federal government’s minister of housing, infrastructure and communities.

In the latest phase, more than 1,010 cubic metres of topsoil was placed along the creek banks to support planting native plant species. A total of 10,985 tonnes of rock and boulders were also placed throughout the creek, according to data provided by the city.

The next phase of the restoration project involves removing the concrete “channelized” portion of the creek that runs between Ellis Street and Front Street, which spans about 350 metres.

“This project not only rejuvenates Penticton Creek but also renews our commitment to preserving our natural environment for future generations. Like a salmon swimming upstream, we continue navigate challenges together to support the health and vitality of our precious fish habitats,” said Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel.

“Working with the city and other partners, we’ve taken a significant step towards restoring the ecological balance of our watershed.”

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About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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