Restoration work at Penticton Creek advances again

Creek work advances again

The City of Penticton has cut the ribbon on the latest completed phase of the Penticton Creek habitat restoration project.

On Wednesday, city dignitaries, Penticton Indian Band members, Okanagan Nation Alliance members and community partners gathered at the creek at Norton Street and Wade Avenue East to celebrate the latest work.

"This is an important milestone in this project that serves two functions: creating a more resilient community and improving the fish habitat,” said Mayor Julius Bloomfield.

The project has been ongoing for multiple years, aiming to undo so-called "channelization" of the creek that saw natural habitat removed in favour of concrete banks in the 1950s. That move destroyed salmon spawning grounds and elevated flood risk.

Work in recent years has involved removing concrete liner and replacing it with rocks, pebbles and boulders, all of which provide sheltered areas for fish to spawn. The project has been done in phases year over year, within safe windows to allow for natural fish spawning to proceed uninhibited.

"This project not only rejuvenates Penticton Creekbut also renews our commitment to preserving our natural environment for future generations. Like a salmon swimming upstream, we continue navigate challenges together to support the health and vitality of our precious fish habitats,” said Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel.

"Working with the city and other partners, we've taken a significant step towards restoring the ecological balance of our watershed.”

The value of the latest restoration work, 320 metres of the creek, was $4.5 million. Provincial and federal grant funding was provided by provincial and federal agencies, $750k from the B.C. government and $3.75M from the federal government.

Next up is tackling the channelized portion of the creek between Ellis Street and Front Street, a 350-metre stretch through downtown. Restoration design is planned to begin this year with construction beginning in 2026.

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