Filsinger Park stream to change from barren concrete channel to lush creek

The stream that cuts through Filsinger Park and empties into Victoria Park Lake will be getting a facelift from the City of Kitchener.
On the left, the existing Filsinger Park Channel, and on the right, an example of what the city of Kitchener hopes the channel could resemble after the naturalization process. (City of Kitchener)

It's a plain and bare concrete storm channel right now, but the City of Kitchener will be turning the Filsinger Park stream into a lush, winding, green creek with pools for fish to rest in, rocky riffles and overhanging greenery.

Not only will those changes make the stream better for fish and fauna, but it will help clean up Victoria Park Lake, according to Melissa Ryan, the design and construction project manager for the city.

"Any sediment that comes off the road, if that's soil or dirt, oils that when it rains it comes off the roads, it goes into those channels untreated and goes straight into Victoria Park Lake," said Ryan in an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Wednesday. "Because of the banks, it just flies straight down through the channel."

Ryan says the untreated storm discharge is part of the reason Victoria Park Lake has had to be dredged frequently.

The redesign will remove the straight concrete channel and replace it with a naturalized channel that winds, will include pools and banks, additional vegetation overhanging the creek, and even riffles, which are rocks that help aerate water as it flows over them. 

Originally the stream was turned into a concrete channel for flood-water management. Now that stream will be naturalized along a 1.3 km stretch.

The process starts this week and according to Ryan, should be mostly done by December, though some plantings will have to take place in April. She cautioned that trails alongside the channel will be closed during construction. 

The channel is just one small piece of the city's plan to improve storm water management.

"It's only a small piece of a huge drainage area. So there's 1400 hectares that drain into Victoria Park Lake and of that about 80 per cent of the contributing area doesn't have any storm water management measures. So there's still more work to be done after this project," said Ryan.