In the Town of Gibsons, Goosebird, Charman and Gibsons Creeks provide vital services of conveying and treating rain water run-off.
Stormwater run-off from development in Upper Gibsons flows into the creeks, through natural settling ponds in White Tower Park (which help clean and filter the water) and finally into the ocean as a naturally treated product.
If these creeks and ponds stopped performing their current functions, then flooding would result and either development in Upper Gibsons would have to slow or stop, or engineered infrastructure would need to be constructed (at an estimated cost of $4 million) and maintained.
Instead, the Town works to keep the woodland in White Tower Park healthy, through general maintenance and by dredging the ponds every three or four years at a cost of about $10,000 per dredging.
In addition to its stormwater management services, White Tower Park provides the Town with park space that is extremely popular with Gibsons’ citizens and visitors.
Expanding the Stormwater Ponds
In July 2020, the Town of Gibsons announced that it had been awarded a total of $955,000 by the Province of BC ($382,000) and the Government of Canada ($573,000) to construct an additional storm water pond at White Tower Park. The money is being awarded under the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream (RNIS) of the Investing in Canada Plan, which will see the Government of Canada invest more than $180 billion over 12 years.
With the new funding, the Town will build an additional pond on the vacant Town-owned parcel of land behind the Gibsons & District Aquatic Centre. The pond will be fully planted to help settle out sediments and remove pollutants from the stormwater before it enters the creek.
The expansion will enable the stormwater ponds to service 47.7 hectares of land, and help address long-term erosion and water quality impacts of past development on Charman Creek. It will also add to the Town’s outdoor recreational space, as the site will be fully landscaped with native plant species and include walking trails, split rail fencing, flora and information signage.
Finally, the new green space will present an ideal learning opportunity and the potential for involvement by the Skwxwu7mesh Nation through the planting of trees and other vegetation that are culturally significant to the Nation. Additionally, staff are investigating whether White Tower Park would be an appropriate site for the establishment of British Columbia’s first Healing Forest.
Work on the new pond is expected to begin in 2021 and take several months to complete.