Black Creek Intake Upgrade
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Update: Revised Black Creek Diversion Project Significantly Reduces Additional Tree Removal
Working with technical consultants and stewardship groups, West Vancouver staff have been able to prepare a revised plan for completion of the Black Creek diversion project that that reduced the number of additional trees needing to be cut from 24 to 2.
At the July 9, 2012 Council Meeting, staff apologized for the error that led to the cutting of old growth trees during project construction, and committed to optimizing the final design to minimize further loss of trees. There were 24 trees potentially designated for removal, but only two were removed under a revised plan, for safety reasons: a dead snag and a 40 year-old-Douglas Fir. In addition the District has committed to donating the net value of the felled timber to the West Vancouver Community Foundation that will allow financing of community projects initiated by local stewardship groups.
In addition, Council committed to developing protocols for future projects in the upper lands that include; improved collaboration between District departments; an external consultation process to include community stewardship groups; and to ensure that an arborist or registered forestry professional be included in any integrated design team.
Work on the site is currently underway. The construction phase is anticipated to be completed in October, weather permitting. Restoration work will take place in the spring, and the restoration plan will be developed in collaboration with community stakeholders.
The Black Creek diversion is a part of the Eagle Lake water supply system, which supplies approximately half of West Vancouver’s drinking water. The original construction, built in 2003, is failing and requires rehabilitation.
Taking into consideration the steep terrain, the riparian habitat and the necessity to prevent a debris flow, it was determined that the best option to mitigate these risks was to bury the water pipe under a permanent access road. This required some tree clearing, and in order to reduce impact on spring eagle nesting conditions the work took place in November 2011.
In May 2012, members of a community stewardship group, the Old Growth Conservancy Society, advised staff that of the 69 trees that had been felled, some were, in fact, old growth. Work was halted immediately and the District initiated a review of the site and the overall project.
At the July 9, 2012, Council Meeting, staff apologized for the error and presented a Report to Council explaining the circumstances that had led to the mistake.
The report also put forward a number of recommendations aimed at minimizing further loss of trees during project completion, as well as protocols for future capital projects to avoid any similar occurrences.
Black Creek and West Vancouver’s Water Supply
The Black Creek intake is an important part of the Eagle Lake water supply.
The Eagle Lake Development Plan began in the early 2000s and has helped reduce West Vancouver’s reliance on more costly water purchased from Metro Vancouver. Eagle Lake water is treated in a state-of-the-art membrane filtration facility. Black Creek helps ensure an adequate supply of water to Eagle Lake and is an important part of an optimization program to increase the use of Eagle Lake water. To date, this has helped to increase the amount of water supplied from District of West Vancouver sources to 53 per cent in 2010 from a low of 21 per cent in 1998.