Victoria Airport’s TenTen Creek project clears the way for fish

A waterway running along the edge of a pair of former airport dump sites is being moved.

Jeremy Carr with Rodd Excavating

A waterway running along the edge of a pair of former airport dump sites is being moved.

After years of planning, the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) earmarked more than $440,000 for the restoration of a portion of TenTen Creek. It meanders along the west side of the airport proper and is fed by streams coming off Mount Newton. Years of erosion have exposed portions of the dump site. That fact, and the desire to return the creek to fish-bearing status, helped prompt the VAA to clear out two areas along the creek and stabilize the banks to prevent additional erosion.

VAA Vice-President of Operations and Development James Bogusz says the dump site has been there since the Second World War and was capped in 1986.

After working with neighbouring farms and creating a stormwater catchment wetland — or sediment trap — nearby in 2000, additional creek restoration has been on the VAA’s radar. In 2012, according to the VAA, the discovery of sea-run trout in TenTen Creek helped spark further planning for restoration work.

This month, Rodd Excavating and engineering from Kerr Wood Leidal have started the creek bed adjustment and bank stabilization work. Other partners in the project are SLR Environmental, Peninsula Streams, area Shore Keepers and representatives of the Tseycum First Nation — there to monitor the work and the excavating.

Project Engineer Craig Sutherland said  work is being done in steps. The creek was diverted upstream, to allow the banks of the former dump sites to be covered and stabilized. Existing vegetation will be returned to the slopes and the channel moved to prevent further erosion — and contamination of the creek. He said it took more than a year of planning and coordination to get started  — while the actual work has taken about a month.

Jeremy Carr of Rodd Excavating said they have a specific window in which to work on the creek bed. In that time, they’ve seen car bodies, tires, signs and more from the dump site — cleaning it up and digging out a new path for the water.

Two sections of 100 meters of creek are being improved, helping create better space for fish. While the two upstream sections are being improved, the lower portion of TenTen Creek is still overgrown and much of the water course runs through a culvert under Willingdon Avenue.

The goal, said Bogusz, is to do the stabilization work first and then increase the creek’s connection to its outfall at Pat Bay in the future.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said VAA President and CEO Geoff Dickson during a tour of the work site.

“We didn’t forget about this,” added Bogusz.

“The question was asked, can we do something about it? We felt we could.”