This project will result in closures to the treed area on the west side of the park from July 5th to 7th and for the entire month of August. The Rotary Pavilion, BBQ area, washrooms, and trail behind the pavilion will remain accessible. There will be construction noise caused by the project, as well as temporary impacts to parking.

Project Watershed will be working in Simms Millennium Park this summer to improve the habitat in the area for fish and other wildlife.  The Simms side channel is used by species such as Coho salmon, however it is not functioning as well as it could be. In order to access the pond habitat, fish must pass through a long culvert which is perched high and only flows when the river and/or tide is high, thereby limiting access. In addition, the pond is a dead-end with no connection back to the river. Fish that access the pond habitat are often trapped, and in the summer the water becomes stagnant due to limited circulation.

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Area of Closure

July 5-7

July 31 to August 30

Project Watershed has secured funding to remove the current culvert and replace it with a larger, more “fish friendly” one installed at a lower elevation. The inner pond will be re-contoured and deepened in a couple of areas. Another culvert will be installed on the opposite side of the pond to connect it to the Courtenay Slough, which connects back to the Courtenay River. This will create a true flow-through channel, and should improve habitat quality as well as opportunities for juvenile fish rearing and foraging. In addition, Project Watershed hopes the channel improvements will allow more salmon to escape predation from seals.

As part of the project, invasive plants in the area will be removed such as blackberry. Some Alder trees will also need to be removed for machine access. Removing these trees will occur between July 5-7th, and during this time the treed area will be closed. The alders will be replaced with native conifers in the fall. 

Dan Bowen, Project Watershed’s Technical Director, said that while crews will do their best to limit disruption to park visitors, some impacts will be unavoidable. “Project Watershed recognizes that this construction project, in Simms Park during the summer, is an inconvenience to the public,” he noted. “We hope that everyone will have patience with us as we work to improve this local community asset for fish and wildlife.” Project Watershed staff and volunteers will be on site to direct pedestrians and provide information on the project.

Volunteers Needed!

If you are interested in volunteering on this project please sign up. We will need help fish fry and plant salvaging, dewatering the site, sandbagging, and informing the public about what we are doing during the project. Refreshments and light snacks will be available for volunteers.