The Ministry of Transportation has handed the District of Saanich $1.2 million to restore Garry oak and trembling aspen ecosystems that were lost due to construction of the new McKenzie interchange.
The restoration will be completed by Saanich Parks staff in three parks: Layritz, Vic Derman and Cuthbert Holmes.
“These parks were chosen as areas most similar to what was lost and where space allows,” the District of Saanich said in a news release.
Work will take place over the next few years. Garry oaks will be planted in Layritz and Vic Derman parks will a new trembling aspen ecosystem will be installed in Cuthbert Holmes park along the Colquitz River.
In Layritz, Saanich will also pay for a new trail, split rail fence and signage to protect the Garry oak meadow to be restored.
“We are pleased the province is contributing these significant funds to enhance, restore and replace these important ecosystems in Saanich,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. “These works on our precious ecosystems talk to the very core values of Saanich as the remarkable rural, coastal, wooded and urban municipality our residents enjoy.”
The funding comes after an independent biologist evaluated the ecosystems lost due to the interchange project.
“From the very start of the McKenzie interchange project the ministry has been committed to making sure we worked with Saanich to offset for the Trembling Aspens and Garry Oaks that needed to be removed for construction,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Saanich is a beautiful place to live and these enhancements to the ecosystem will ensure it remains so for generations to come.”