August 21, 2015 9:05 pm

Penticton Creek restoration project underway

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PENTICTON — People strolling alongside the Penticton Creek may have noticed the concrete creek banks have been slowly eroding.

While the City isn’t upgrading the entire infrastructure, construction is underway to restore an 80-metre stretch near the Ellis Street Bridge.

“The existing concrete, which was put in the 50’s, is starting to degrade. It is actually falling apart,” says city engineer Ian Chapman.

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The Penticton Creek restoration project is intended address the failing infrastructure, while providing flood protection to nearby homes and improving fish habitat.

Paul Askey, a fisheries scientist with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., says the concrete flume has severely damaged the kokanee habitat.

On average,  about 2,000 kokanee enter the creek every year but less than 20 per cent get to their spawning grounds.

Contractors have already ripped out the concrete and started strategically placing boulders on the creek bed to improve migration.

“[The Kokanee] are getting places where they can take breaks, rocks they can hide behind, and they won’t be just scrapping along the bottom the whole way out,” says Askey.

It’s also anticipated that the new creek bed will improve Rainbow Trout migration.

The project costs about $447,000 and is largely funded by grants. But Penticton taxpayers have chipped in roughly $158,000.

Chapman says it’s not known when the rest of Penticton Creek will be upgraded, but he anticipates developing a master plan next year if council approves it in the budget.

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