Coun. Eric Zhelka and his son Phillip Chang Zhelka pull weeds along Bowker Creek Friday, Aug. 25. Volunteers are welcome again on Fridays, Sept. 1, 15 and 29 from 9 a.m. to noon. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Weeds return to Bowker Creek

Volunteers spend Friday mornings weeding the waterway near Oak Bay High

Bowker Creek behind Oak Bay High boasts lush greens, a far cry from the seedlings sprouting during its official re-opening in March 2016.

While most of the native plants at the site thrive, so do the weeds.

“We’re here to remove these invasive weeds,” said Coun. Eric Zhekla who brought his son Phillip Chang Zhelka to pull and plant as well. “All this great work was done by the CRD and the Bowker Creek Initiative, unfortunately the weeds have loved it as well.”

Rejuvenation of about 120 metres of the creek included channel excavation, channel enhancements, bio-engineering bank stabilization, landscaping, planting, irrigation and the construction of community amenities including an outdoor classroom. The creek restoration is one of 10 short-term actions in the Bowker Creek blueprint, which sets out a 100-year vision for restoring the health of this highly urbanized watershed.

“The Bowker Creek Initiative is inviting the community to come and assist us in doing a little bit of maintenance at the site here before we turn it over to the school district,” said Jody Watson, chair of the BCI and CRD Harbour and Watershed Co-ordinator.

The school district is among the partners involved in the CRD’s Bowker Creek Urban Watershed Renewal Initiative (BCI). Students at the high school took an early, and ongoing, interest in the creek, from design to future maintenance of the highly urbanized watershed.

Friday, the Bowker Creek Initiative hosted its first volunteer weeding and planting day.

“This was one of the short term key actions that we wanted to achieve in the first five year of blue-print implementation,” Watson said of the portion of the creek that runs alongside the running track.

Zhelka’s “not so secret hope” is to see that daylighting and rejuvination continued through Oak Bay to Beach Drive.

In the meantime, BCI plans to host work parties on Fridays Sept. 1, 15 and 29 from 9 a.m. to noon. Gloves and tools are provided.


 

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cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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