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Burnaby move to replace culvert hailed as bold step to help fish travel

New culvert will have a natural bottom

The City of Burnaby is moving ahead in 2021 with replacing the old Guichon Creek pipe culvert that runs under the Deer Lake Parkway so fish can actually pass through it.

That’s according to Burnaby resident Mark Angelo, a renowned Canadian conservationist, streamkeeper and founder of World Rivers Day.

The new culvert will have a natural bottom that will be fish passable. The project is currently out to tender, with work set to commence sometime after Aug. 1, Angelo said.

“This is a major step forward for the creek. Urban streams often face barriers to the movement of fish, be they trout or salmon or other species and poorly designed culverts are often a major reason for this,” Angelo told the NOW in an interview. “In fact, for this coming World Rivers Day - set for Sept. 26 - while ‘waterways in our community’ is once again our main theme, the importance of retaining or restoring stream connectivity is one our sub-themes.”

Angelo said he’s been working to restore Guichon Creek, which runs through the North Burnaby campus of BCIT, where Angelo used to run the school’s wildlife management program.

“We’ve made great headway over the years in terms of restoring what was once a dead stream and bringing this creek back to life,” Angelo said. “Over time, we’ve worked on a number of sections, including the lower stretch north of Canada Way - as well as the middle section that runs through the eastern half of BCIT to where it reaches the Deer Lake Connector - and then the upper reaches west of Willingdon. After working to restore and clean up the creek, we then got to a point where we were able to re-establish a significant trout population throughout the creek, while also re-establishing a significant chum salmon run in the lower creek. That success also highlighted the importance of restoring stream connectivity so that fish of all species could move freely up and down the creek, something that we had long wanted to achieve.” 

In 2020, a group of BCIT students built a new wetland area for wildlife of all types near Guichon creek. The newly-built wetland is on the south end of the Burnaby campus of BCIT, near Guichon Creek. It was constructed by students as part of a three-day field course.