Project Status: On Monday, September 13, 2021, shortly after the excavation work commenced on the stormwater ponds expansion project, an artifact of historical significance was discovered. As a result, an archaeological impact assessment will be conducted in collaboration with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) before the work can continue. The permitting process and assessment work is expected to take until late 2022 to complete.
What Are Stormwater Ponds?
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
Current Project Status
In early September 2021, work on the new stormwater pond was initiated, with the parameters of the pond staked out and a tree-cutting permit issued.
On Monday, September 13, 2021, work was halted due to the discovery of an artifact of historical significance at the site.
No further work on the new stormwater pond will be undertaken until a full archaeological assessment of the site can be completed. This is expected to take several months.
The new pond will reclaim wetland that was historically infilled, protect approximately 2 km of Charman Creek’s natural watercourse and habitats, and aid in managing flood risk to downstream infrastructure and properties. Additionally, it will mitigate the effects of past development, serve future development, and provide greater resiliency to climate change.
Project steps include:
- removal of trees to facilitate re-alignment of creek
- re-alignment of sanitary sewer
- excavation of new pond
- planting of native species to help settle out sediments and remove pollutants from the stormwater before it enters the creek
- development of walking trails
- installation of informational signage
On completion, this project will improve water quality and stormwater management capacity, expand Whitetower Park, and better connect residents to our natural assets.
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.
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.
In June 2021, the Town announced that it had awarded the White Tower Park tender to Pirate Excavating, in the amount of $814,963.36 (excluding GST). Read the related Staff Report here.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.