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Cuthbert Holmes Park in Saanich home to pathway and creek upgrades

Improvements help park-users and a variety of birds, fish, and wildlife
Several restoration projects in Cuthbert Holmes Park aim to improve usability for park-goers and the habitats within the nature space. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Upgrades to a Saanich park will be welcome news to visitors, both human and non-human alike.

Cuthbert Holmes Park is one of many Saanich parks to receive restorative upgrades, including the relocation of one of the main trails to lessen seasonal flooding and river restoration improvements.

Eva Riccius, senior manager of parks, said that these restorative upgrades tie together so that the park can not only be enjoyed by its human visitors but provide needed habitat for aquatic and birdlife, too.

“We’ve moved the existing paved path and created a new crushed gravel path. The purpose of it is the old pathway was within 30 metres of Colquitz River, an important stream-side area,” said Riccius. “We wanted to pull the path away from the river because it was also fairly unusable in some parts of the winter, it would flood and people would have to slosh through in their boots.”

Another part of this restoration project is in-stream creek restoration where staff added native plant buffer to a straight and narrow channel of the Colquitz River.

“It has created little habitat areas for when the juvenile fish come down in spring, and it slows the water down.”

There will also be the removal of invasive English hawthorn, to be replaced with native tree species.

The Colquitz River is where freshwater meets seawater and provides important habitat for fish, including salmon, and a variety of invertebrates.

There are also many birds and animals that use the river – such as minks, otters, raccoons, and seals.

Some animals find food and shelter here, for others, the river is an important wildlife corridor and the restoration projects serve to further protect that wildlife, said Riccius.

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