Progress

Way back in the spring of 2006 I noticed something just south of Campbell River that made me do a double take. Here on Vancouver Island, the pressure to develop real estate is pretty intense, so intense that sometimes nature gets in the way. I’m really not sure how the developer pulled this off but check out the sign and look at the state of the stream. Does Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans actually sign off on these things?

Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006 - Salmon Habitat
Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006 – Salmon Habitat Greenway Protected Area

At this point, Caddisfly Creek was basically a straight ditch but I assume that fish were actually using it otherwise why would they put up a salmon habitat sign? Doesn’t look too inviting for fish but wait …. give us a couple of years and we’ll “improve it.”

Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006
Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006 – the “overburden” is removed and the stream stripped bare.

And now five years later! Compare the two images below – they’re essentially taken from the same perspective. You can see the alder standing center and off center in both images. But where’s Caddisfly Creek?!?

Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006
Caddisfly Creek, April 6, 2006 – Ready for houses.
Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011
Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011 – Where did the creek go?

Caddisfly Creek has been totally rerouted and now runs along between the Jubilee Parkway and a raised berm/walking trail lined with gravel (that seemed to be washing into what remains of the this “salmon stream.”) Doesn’t that look inviting?

Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011
Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011 – The “creek” is now actually a ditch that runs alongside the Jubilee Parkway in Campbell River, BC.

What does look inviting are the new homes at Parkway Estates. Check out these beauties! And yes, that is Caddisfly Creek flowing peacefully in front of the berm. So close to nature!

Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011 - Parkway Estates
Caddisfly Creek, March 7, 2011 – Enjoy your home in Parkway Estates while wondering what a caddisfly is and hoping it never comes into your home.

It’s depressing how quickly things can change in your own backyard. Pity the caddisfly, pity the salmon. I wonder if there is a Caddisfly Lane somewhere in this magnificent development? Perhaps it’s time to take down the salmon habitat sign.

Progress.

15 comments

  1. I like how there is a berm and/or fence that prevents anyone in those houses from acidentally seeing what recently had been a (somewhat) natural area.

    Oh well, salmon’s loss is shopping cart’s gain. Signage change is required.

  2. Even worse sorties here, those who are genuinely concerned are fighting a loosing battle. Dah!

  3. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this. I just forwarded the link via the comox valley dwellings facebook page. This really impacted me…

    as I move forward in my career I think this will be an example that stays will me.

  4. I’m not really sure on the total story with this development but it seems like it went ahead without any sort of mitigation. The original stream looks like a ditch but I don’t know what it was before that. The other side of the culvert feeds into a bit of an alder swamp which might still be used by fish but I really doubt that anything much is happening on the developed side of the road. Wouldn’t it be great if developers worked around natural features? Here in Courtenay I think that Creekside Commons is a pretty good example of good nature design. Parkway …. when it’s about the money, you can always tell.

  5. I can’t imagine how impacted prime tourism destinations are. My brother-in-law traveled to Crete recently and it was astounding to hear about what was happening there.

  6. Interestingly, I looked for carts in this ditch but I don’t think it’s quite as rich habitat as you’d find behind the dikes in Richmond. Did see lots of food items though. I think I’ll look into getting a shopping cart sticker to slap over top of the fish – that would be hilarious (and sad).

  7. Wow– this is really pathetic. I hate to think how common such (apparently) spurious mitigation has become. Is there any way to hold developers accountable for deceits like this?

  8. That’s terrible. Rerouting and elimination of streams has gone on for so long and we spend a lot of resources trying to “fix” them now. Maybe one day soon we’ll get past the development first philosophy. Development is important, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done responsibly.

  9. Yes, DFO does sign off on these things, at least on eastern Vancouver Island they do. You see, DFO is absolutely, 100% corrupt when it comes to delivering development permits. Again and again and again I have witnessed permits issued for work that would be illegal anywhere else in the world, and is in fact, illegal in Canada. Much of this can be traced back to one of a small handfull of DFO employees who work out of Nanaimo. I hope they all do jail time eventually.

  10. I hear you on that Guy – if you get a chance, check out the house at the mouth of the Black Creek near Miracle Beach Provincial Park. I can’t imagine how this guy got permission to build where he did and to extend his already massive breakwater from the shores of estuary into the banks of the creek itself. Seems he had a little problem with flooding … no problem getting permits.

  11. Hi to All and especially Dave Ingram:

    I stumbled on this site and was really interested in the photos and comments. As I am/was the owner of this property I can give some background. First of all, when I bought the property in the 1980’s, the old logging trails were being used as a dump site by the locals. It took over 25 one ton truckloads to the dump to clean up the site. There were no streams or creeks on the site, and no salmon or trout. There were ditches that were clogged with debris beside the old roads. I cleaned them. At some point in the process, Mike Roth who worked for the then District of Campbell River was involved with a “stream keepers” group, and signs identifying Caddisfly as well as several other “fly” creeks appeared around the community. The environmental consulting firm of Kamori – Wong was engaged and found no salmonid fish species, and also that the oxygen content of the water in the ditches was too low for salmonids to survive. It’s relatively easy to be critical when looking at a few pictures after or while development is occurring. Believe me, it is an entirely different circumstance when you are a retired City employee attempting to do the development.

  12. Thanks for this Ted – perhaps it might be a good idea to contact DFO or Streamkeepers to take the sign down? If it’s not an accurate assessment of the creek, it certainly doesn’t look good and there’s no reason for it to stay up.

  13. Hello Dave:
    I appreciate your reply and the comment regarding removing the sign. I agree that it is not relevant now, and my position is that it never was relevant. As for having it removed, requests initiated by persons such as yourself would probably be more successful than if I tried to have it done.
    Unfortunately, perceptions such as demonstrated by comment 5 persist. It starts of with, “I’m not really sure…” and then continues with assumptive pondering including… “I’m not really sure”, “it seems like… without any sort of mitigation”, “might still be used”, and “I really doubt”, and concludes with what looks like a cheap shot, “Parkway…. when it’s about the money you can always tell”.
    I consider it very irresponsible when otherwise credible people (with exceptional talents) and legitimate concerns about our environment, choose to publicize a circumstance without exercising journalistic responsibility by conducting appropriate research. It’s called due diligence. I would be happy to meet with you. Perhaps after getting all of the facts you might care to publish an apology.
    Sincerely,
    Ted Maxwell

  14. Thanks to Ted I dug a little deeper into this development and it’s impact on Caddisfly Creek – apparently there’s an article written about Caddisfly Creek that was originally published in the Courier Islander in the late 1990s that provides a good overview of the fate of the creek and I’m trying to track it down. I’ll do a followup post a little later, but it appears that quite a bit of work was done to assess the area north of the Jubilee Parkway before the development proceeded, and that things aren’t quite as black and white as I first thought.

    According to local residents there was once a very productive wetland in this area and it was ditched in order to “improve drainage.” Looks to me like the drainage problem has been “solved” permanently. As to the argument that a clean development is an improvement over degraded habitat, I would have to disagree. At least if an area is a “dump” it can still be cleaned out (as Ted stated in an earlier comment). Once the wetlands are drained, streams and ditches filled in, roads and houses built there is no going back. I personally don’t consider that to be progress.

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