It’s almost hidden in plain sight as it runs between buildings above and then mostly underground.
“60 per cent of it is in culverts underground,” said, Soren Henrich, chairman of Friends of Bowker Creek
Over the years, development paved over the creek.
“It has lost its health. It [had] vigour at one time. This creek was apparently full of fish and now it’s really in a sad state,” Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen told CHEK News in 2012.
But the 9.4-kilometre Bowker Creek, which runs through Saanich, Victoria, and Oak Bay before it flows into the ocean, is slowly coming back to life.
“We are looking at re-engineering parts of the creek daylighting it,” said Henrich.
The hope is to get people closer to the creek and closer to nature right in the city like it used to be.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years. We used to bring our kids down there was a rope swing over the edge of the creek,” said Henrich.
It’s all part of a 100-year action plan to restore the Bowker Creek watershed. Community groups like the Friends of Bowker creek have been playing a key role along the way.
“Actually getting in and removing invasive species and replacing them with the native species that are more durable,” said Henrich.
Recently, the District of Saanich bought a 2.23-hectare parcel of undeveloped land beside a portion of Bowker Creek that acts as a flood plain. It’s also a green space used by residents.
“Neighbors have seen owls and hawks here, so this is also a corridor for wildlife as well,” said Henrich.
And they hope to keep it that way but are still shy of a couple million to ensure it stays green and no part can be sold off for development.
“We have until September first of 2020 to raise 2.75 million it sounds like a big ask but we are going to start,” said Henrich.
A fundraiser and community event is being held September 14, 2019, at 1845 Kings Road in Saanich to help raise the funds.