Como watershed 'fixes' to cost $4m

The Coquitlam watersheds, with Como in the beige at the south. - city of coquitlam
The Coquitlam watersheds, with Como in the beige at the south.
— image credit: city of coquitlam

While Coquitlam appears to be the only Lower Mainland municipality on track to make a provincial deadline for urban watershed updates, its latest plan also comes with a hefty price tag.

This week, the city's council-in-committee saw the cost to implement the Como Creek Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) soar from $650,000 to $4 million for drainage improvements, stream erosion control and rehabilitation works.

City managers told council the initial number was a rough estimate from several years ago and, as a result of the higher figure, drainage development cost charges may have to rise slightly to pay for the new watershed works.

With the draft plan for Como Creek now out for public feedback, Coquitlam is on its way to wrapping up all 10 IWMPs this year, as mandated under Metro Vancouver's 2010 Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan, which calls for plans for urban areas to be renewed every dozen years.

Totalling 8.7 sq. km., the Como Creek watershed has its headwater at Como Lake and includes four main tributaries leading into the Fraser River: Popeye, Booth, Macdonald and Mill creeks.

Its "health" is rated as poor due to polluted run-off and private property encroachments. But Como Creek IWMP project co-ordinator Melody Burton said redevelopment — as cited in the draft Maillardville Neighbourhood Plan and the adopted Austin Heights Neighbourhood Plan — "gives us a chance to make improvements" over the next 20 years.

Among the draft plan's six recommendations, which have yet to be approved by council, are stabilizing active erosion zones, upgrading drains and implementing diversion pipes, restoring riparian vegetation and addressing localized flooding on private property.

Two years ago, city council okayed an $8.2-million plan for Nelson Creek, a watershed also located in south Coquitlam. City staff are currently working on the Mundy watershed.


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