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Sidney diverts $25K to Peninsula Streams Society for Mermaid Creek restoration

The funds had previously been earmarked for stormwater management in the area
The Town of Sidney is providing $25k to the Peninsula Streams Society for their Mermaid Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Project. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

The Town of Sidney will be diverting $25,000 from a budgeted stormwater management plan to the Peninsula Streams Society to help it undertake a two-year Mermaid Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Project.

Council unanimously approved the move on Monday (Feb. 13) with an amendment reducing the funding to $25,000, rather than the original $30,000 the society had asked for. During discussion, it was noted the $30,000 figure included a $5,000 grant-in-aid the society had already been provided, so the amendment was simply to bring the total funding given to the society in line with what was actually needed.

A second amendment was also passed unanimously, altering the wording of the motion to state the funding is subject to a formal funding agreement being signed, in order to ensure financial accountability.

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Council and staff were aligned in their support for the move, as the town had already budgeted $30,000 for this year in the previous budget to fund a Mermaid Creek stormwater management plan. When staff found out the society was planning similar work along the same watershed, they made the recommendation the funding be given to the society instead, along with in-kind support for the society, which will be detailed at a later date once the project gets underway and exactly what support will be needed is determined.

Presenting to council on Monday, the society’s restoration coordinator Kyle Armstrong said the project was spawned following the results of a coastal engineering analysis of Roberts Bay, which was completed in November 2022.

That report found the existing salt marsh in the area has been exposed to waves both from the bay itself and from the Haro Strait and Sidney Channel, which when occurring at high water levels erode the leading edge of the marsh. That erosion has in the past been naturally repaired through sediment transport into the bay, however sediment flow into the bay is effectively zero currently due to a combination of shoreline armouring and limited creek inflows.

The two-year restoration project – with a total budget of $500,000 from multiple funding sources – will involve bringing in around 7,000 tonnes of replacement sediment to repair the marsh, as well as strengthening it to help it resist future erosion.

Public engagement sessions and further, more detailed, assessments are planned before the actual restoration work begins, likely in July or August subject to final approvals and permitting.

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