As I mentioned on Tuesday, Monday night’s council meeting was started with a presentation by Tanis Douglas, Bowker Creek Initative Coordinator, and Jody Watson, chair of the BCI, about the BCI’s activities in 2008 and proposed activities in 2009. Tanis gave the bulk of the presentation then Jody then finished with a few final points and a call for funding for 2010 through 2012.
One of the major goals of the BCI is 2009 is the creation of a Detailed Watershed Implementation Plan or DWIP, which, when finished, will lay out the blueprint for what exactly needs to be done in the future to make Bowker Creek a better place. This will replace the Integrated Stormwater Management Plan that already exists. Jody mentioned that the DWIP will allow the BCI, its member municipalities or some group thereof to make funding proposals to senior levels of government to tap both climate change and stimulus funds.The full report is planned to be finished later this year.
Of particular interest to Oak Bay residents in 2009 will be the work done near the Monleith allotment gardens to clear out some of the non-native species and establish a few more allotment plots, which should reduce the huge waitlist. Also, the BCI is following with interest the redevelopment of Oak Bay High, as they would love to do some work on the section of the creek between the field and the running track, however there has been as of yet no communication between the school board and the BCI about that work.
Allan Cassidy grilled Jody for several minutes about whether or not the BCI had delivered on its promise to leverage “3 to 5 times” what the municipality was paying in. He also commented that Oak Bay views Bowker Creek as an “asset” as opposed to Saanich and Victoria’s views of it being a ditch. The funding opportunities were the only things that drew him to the BCI in the first place. Speaking of funding, Oak Bay currently pays in about 11,000 a year towards Tanis’ salary and other incidental costs and this will rise by 3% each year over the next 3 until 2012 when the funding commitment comes up again.
The council ended up approving in principle funding until 2012 but I fear that because of the slow pace that any creek restoration takes and the jurisdictional challenges facing the BCI, come three years from now, some council members will be less than impressed with their work.
Tomorrow afternoon is the Bowker Creek cleanup and annual rubber ducky race. The cleanup starts at 10am behind the Oak Bay High East building parking lot and the rubber ducky race starts at the St. Ann pond just west of St. Ann Street (across St. Ann from the Fire Hall). Hosted by Oak Bay High’s Environment Club, this is the 11th annual, which makes me feel a bit ashamed that this will be my first time going.