Much of new Brighton Park in East Vancouver was built on construction fill that was dumped there around the 1960s. As a result, many streams were buried, said Vancouver Park Board biologist Nick Page.
"We've lost hundreds and hundreds of hectares of what would have been very productive mud flats, saltmarsh — all the kinds of habitats that are essential for salmon fry that are coming out of these rivers — so coming out of Indian Arm this time of year, for example," Page told The Early Edition.
The proposal, which will be discussed by the Park Board on Monday, involves having a 1.2-kilometre stream corridor run from Hastings and Creekway parks to a saltmarsh along the shore of Burrard Inlet in New Brighton Park. The stream's source would be the Sanctuary Pond in Hastings Park.
Page says the parts of New Brighton Park being considered for the saltmarsh are towards the eastern edge of the area, where there are some old tennis courts and an off-leash dog park, away from the playground and playing fields.
Page anticipates some opposition, as "we realize whenever we enter a new project, we find that almost every square inch of these parks are loved for some reason."
While people's values need to be recognized, Page says a lot of good will come out of this habitat restoration project, particularly when it's already apparent that the kelp bed and salmon fry along the shore are starting to flourish.
"It's an indicator that things are, in some ways, healthy now, but if we can improve the quality of the shoreline, we have the fish that are going to use these kind of saltmarsh habitats that we're trying to create," he said.
The Vancouver Park Board will discuss Monday night whether to support a design and public consultation process to create this project.
To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled: Habitat restoration proposed for East Vancouver park