July 24, 2013 - 7:47 AM
PENTICTON - No one should hold their breath for Penticton Creek improvements.
Coun. John Vassilaki said at Monday's council meeting it's going to take years to transform the creek to its original state before it was modified to handle flooding.
"If you had seen it then and seen it today it's as different as night and day," he said.
Still council is on-board with the idea of naturalizing the creek as well as improving its efficiency. It was channelized in the 1950s following a huge flood eight years before. The creek redirects excess water but its construction also meant damaging or destroying animal and fish habitats. Council wants to reverse what was done much like Kelowna did with its Mission Creek.
City leadership has worked on complex projects in the past but several councillors appeared humbled by the enormity of this task.
Coun. Wesley Hopkins said this project affects many things, especially who owns what, when it comes to improvement responsibility. The creek runs through downtown Penticton and borders private property, businesses as well as government-owned spaces. Working to improve the creek will also mean dealing with various government ministries.
"Complicated is certainly the order of the day," Coun. Judy Sentes said.
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation will give $277,880 over four years to the restoration project. This will be combined with in-kind contributions and other funding sources to bring the total to $624,880.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013