In ’50s, the Penticton Creek was ‘channelized’ in response to flooding that devastated Penticton’s downtown. But the change impacted fish habitats. Work starts in March and will carry through summer. (Western News file photo)

In ’50s, the Penticton Creek was ‘channelized’ in response to flooding that devastated Penticton’s downtown. But the change impacted fish habitats. Work starts in March and will carry through summer. (Western News file photo)

Penticton Creek restoration gets underway

The removal of Nanaimo Street Bridge will take place in July

Restoration work is set to get underway on Penticton Creek and will carry through summer including the removal of Nanaimo Street Bridge in early July.

The city of Penticton is providing an early heads up to residents and businesses near a section of Penticton Creek where work is scheduled starting with preparatory work this spring and continuing through the summer and fall.

The portion of the creek running between Nanaimo Avenue and the intersection of Norton Street and Wade Ave. E. is scheduled to undergo environmental improvements to support the city’s plan of returning Penticton Creek to a natural state while still maintaining effective flood protection during periods of heavy water flow.

For 2022, residents, businesses and commuters in the area should expect to see the following:

Removal of undergrowth and some trees that interfere with the creek’s rehabilitation – late March, early April

Alterations to the bus routes along Nanaimo Avenue – mid June

Removal of the Nanaimo Street Bridge – early July

Closing of the creek side walkway which will be disturbed during restoration – mid/late July

Detouring pedestrians around Wade Avenue – mid/late July

Creation of laydown areas for material on nearby roads and lanes – mid July

Actual work in the creek itself will take place during the annual fish window, typically in late July, and will involve redirecting the creek, removing concrete, undertaking earthworks and installing river rock.

The project concludes with water flow restored in the creek, replacement of the creek side walkway and installation of trees and other planting materials. Completion is estimated for the end of October, with some tree planting delayed to spring 2023 if weather is poor or planting material is unavailable.

Letters containing additional details about the project are scheduled to be sent to residents and businesses alongside or near the creek over the next week or so.

“As with all projects that cause disruptions to residents and commuters, the city thanks all parties for their patience while work is carried out,” said the city’s special projects manager Ian Chapman.

All work conducted will follow the strict requirements of provincial and federal legislation and will include continued and thorough consultation with our PIB neighbours, said Chapman.

READ MORE: Penticton continues to revitalize creek

History of Penticton Creek

In the 1950s, the Penticton Creek was ‘channelized’ in response to flooding that devastated Penticton’s downtown. While the installed concrete channel helped with flood management, native fish species struggled with the loss of natural creek habitat and populations dropped.

Penticton Creek has historically been a significant tributary that provided important habitat for kokanee salmon and rainbow trout for Okanagan Lake, said South Okanagan Conservation Fund.

Over time, the concrete channel deteriorated. In 2012, the community identified the restoration of the creek as a priority for the Downtown Plan and in 2018, council approved a plan to restore the creek in several phases over many years at an estimated cost of $30 million. Two channelized sections of the creek have already been restored between Ellis Street and Nanaimo Avenue.

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