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Photos: A huge new mural in Port Moody peers into the possible future for a historic creek

The mural was commissioned by Vancouver-based PCI Developments.

A colourful new mural portents a brighter future for an old Port Moody creek.

Last Saturday and Sunday (July 29 and 30), several volunteers joined Port Coquitlam artist Melissa Burgher to paint a giant community art piece on a stretch of cracked parking lot north of Spring Street, next to an old light industrial building.

The 2,300 sq. ft. painting, entitled “Coming Home,” depicts a babbling brook alive with spawning cutthroat trout along with with Nootka roses and salmon berries growing along its banks. It approximates the location of the old Slaughterhouse Creek that’s been covered over by the urban environment for decades.

@tricitynews Gone fishin’. 🐟🎨 #tricitynews #portmoody #fish #fishtok #paint #mural #art #muralart #communityart ♬ Fishin' in the Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

But Vancouver-based PCI Developments, which commissioned the mural, says it will daylight that section of the historic waterway as part of its proposal to build two new rental apartment towers atop street-level retail spaces, a two-storey grocery store and a public plaza across from the nearby Moody Centre SkyTrain station.

The company recently submitted its application for amendments to Port Moody’s official community plan and zoning bylaws that will be needed to realize the project. The plan also includes a new pedestrian overpass crossing the railroad tracks to Murray Street, low-cost artist studios and uncovering the creek south of Spring Street to the tracks.

PCI’s president Tim Grant said the plan “ticks all the boxes” the city wants to achieve for the Moody Centre neighbourhood, including the construction of 40 below-market rental apartments in the 39-storey towers.

The company is part of a consortium of developers and individual property owners that has been working on an overall plan to transform 23 acres of commercial and light-industrial land into a lively, transit-oriented mixed-use community.

Each developer is now pursuing its portion of the plan individually.

As for the mural, Burgher said it's important for everyone to appreciate the life that could return when the creek is freed from his blacktop encasement.

She said the mural represents, “the trout returning to these creeks,” along with the plant life on the shores and nutrients in the water, “all of which directly benefit humans by providing healthier air for breathing.”

Slaughterhouse Creek, which runs from the base of the Chines to Burrard Inlet, has been identified by the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation as “most in need of restoration,” contaminated by discharges from industrial sites, storm drains and the urban environs.

with a file from Kyle Balzer, Tri-City News