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Spanish Banks off-leash dog park and parking to be reduced for restoration of underground creek

The Vancouver Park Board hopes to revive nature in the area, and here's how it could impact dog parents.

Plans to daylight an underground creek at Spanish Banks beach have been approved, meaning a section of the off-leash dog park will be reduced along with nearly three dozen parking spaces.

The Vancouver Park Board gave the green light to unearth the Canyon Creek at a meeting on October 4, with the project aiming to restore habitat along the route where the watershed from Pacific Spirit Regional Park meets the water at English Bay.

The creek is currently covered by a swampy grass field, but when restored, it will “improve access to nature, create new naturalized habitat areas, and increase climate resilience”, according to a report put to the Park Board.

The Board also hopes that salmon could eventually use the stream, with the nearby Spanish Banks Creek - 450m from Canyon Creek - seeing a reintroduction of the fish after a similar restoration in 1999 after having no access for more than 50 years.

As part of the plans, the dog off-leash area at Spanish Banks - the third largest in the city - would see 4% of the area given to the creek restoration, with a fence implemented to prevent dogs disturbing any wildlife.

Approximately 35 of the 266 parking spaces at the beach will also be surrendered to the project.

The preliminary plans also show the existing bike path - which runs adjacent to the pedestrian path, parallel to the coastline - will be moved back to run along the parking lots instead. According to the report, the existing path is “currently a conflict zone for cyclists, pedestrians and off leash”.

Small bridges will also be installed over the creek to connect the pedestrian and cyclist paths.

The Park Board has been mulling the plans since March 2020, and if successful, it “could create a model that could inform habitat restoration in other busy beach parks such as in the West End”.

Plans for the restoration | Photo: Vancouver Park Board

Residents responding to the green light for the restoration on Twitter also approved of the plans, with one saying “it's really wonderful to see the city putting money into salmon spawning reclamation and naturalization of the parkways”.

However others added that improved signage that the area is an off-leash dog area would be welcomed, adding they would “be monumentally helpful” after previous conflicts between residents.

The proposed area for the creek restoration sits on untenured Crown land, so following submissions for tenure applications, work on the restoration could start as early as this year or into 2022.


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