The Legacy Project: Cecelia Creek Falls Park
The Future Vision: In Saanich’s 2006 Centennial Year, Saanich Mayor, Frank Leonard requested that Community Association’s bring forward a legacy project that could then be recognized and celebrated in the 2106 Centennial Year. With many suggestions from the community, QCHCA proposed a legacy project to daylight this small section of Cecelia and restore the native trees and vegetation.
On May 4th 2009 the QCHCA’s 2006 Centennial project design concept, supported by the School Board and Cloverdale School, was presented and unanimously approved by Council. In early 2016 the name “Cecelia Creek Falls Park” was approved by Council.
The Benefits of the Project
The restoration of this small but important piece of Cecelia Creek has many community and natural benefits. The park’s restoration will restore watershed function, increase urban forest cover and help maintain biodiversity by creating vital wildlife habitat.
The project will also build community by encouraging neighbours and school children to participate in restoring the park and in subsequent years to mulch and remove invasive species. The park will be used as a hands-on outdoor environmental educational amenity for Cloverdale Traditional School and the general public.
Funding will come through Green Community Grants.
History of Cecelia Creek
Cecelia Creek would have been an essential resource for the Lekwungen Peoples, providing fresh water, a food supply of fish and plants. It may also have been used as a travel route linking the Inner Harbour to Cordova Bay and Oak Bay. The route would have utilized the creeks and wetlands of the Cecelia Creek, Bowker Creek, and Mount Douglas Creek watersheds as important connections.
By the late 1800's the watershed started to lose some of its natural function through farming by William Fraser Tolmie.
In the early 1900’s, portions of the watershed were put into pipes to drain the land for development. This lead to further loss of watershed function and reduced biodiversity. It diminished the watershed's natural ability to remove sediments and contaminates from roads and urban development.
As Saanich and Victoria developed more of the watershed became impervious and less water infiltrated into the ground, This changed the flow patterns within the creek, and slowly lead to the loss fish and other wildlife supported by the watershed.
In 1979 the last section of the main stem of Cecelia Creek, located at the corner of Linwood Avenue and Inverness Road in the upper part of the watershed, was placed in underground pipes and culverts.
In 1987 Saanich Council was asked to reserve the municipally owned land as future green space.
In 1999 the Local Area Plan (LAP) was updated and QCHCA was asked if this location should be reserved as green space or sold for development. QCHCA asked for green space and the LAP policy 5.2 rezoned and reserved the lots at the corner of Linwood Ave. and Inverness Rd. for neighbourhood open space. In 2002 the reserved open space was rezoned to P4 - Parkland.