Cecilia Creek Falls Park is currently an empty greenspace in the heart of Saanich, but council hopes to see it become a lush park once more.
At a meeting on Feb. 3, Saanich council directed staff to find a way to make the 2008 Cecilia Creek Falls Park concept plan a reality.
The park once had a creek running through it but in the mid-70s, it was diverted into an underground pipe, noted Coun. Ned Taylor who put the motion forward with Coun. Colin Plant.
The goal is to take the open greenspace and return it “to how it was,” Taylor noted.
In 2008, a concept plan was created and approved by council at the time. It included “day-lighting the creek” – bringing it back above ground – improving the existing trail and adding native plants and amenities, Taylor explained. As no budget was ever created for the park, the plan was put aside for 12years.
With Saanich densifying and becoming more urban, Taylor feels it’s important to preserve and prioritize greenspaces, parks and natural areas.
He also emphasized that while enhancing the park will help Saanich meet it’s climate goals, it will also improve the “quality of life for people who live here.” He noted that research shows spending time in nature improves mental health.
Council agreed to direct staff to find ways to fund the park enhancement project.
Taylor emphasized that the District will need community partners to complete the work.
Unlike Kings Park which the Saanich community is working to raise money to keep, the District already owns Cecilia Creek Falls Park. The issue here is that no one would know it’s a Saanich park, Taylor said, noting that it has no signs or amenities.
Bringing the plan to life will be costly and the District will need partners to help fund the work outlined in the concept plan. Taylor explained that an estimated price for the work isn’t currently available because the concept was created in 2008 and construction costs have changed over the past 12 years. Staff have also been directed to look at options for finding funding partners, he noted.
Anyone interested in partnering with the District to bring the Cecilia Creek Falls Park concept to life is asked to contact Eva Riccius, senior manager of parks, at eva. firstname.lastname@example.org.