The city of Thunder Bay is planning some major work along McVicar Creek near the bridge over Court Street. The aim is to make the stream as natural as possible.

It's the first step in a plan to revitalize all the rivers and waterways that run through the city.

The city will first hire a consultant to decide the best ways to improve the water quality, and to prevent erosion along the creek's banks.

"What kind of vegetation can you do in your backyard that helps control the rainwater volume, the rainwater quality, and also looks nice?" is the kind of question the consultant will ask, said Carl Goodwin, a process engineer with the city.

"The waterways and the greenspaces and, you know, paths along some of the waterways should look nice and should be interactive for our citizens and also create a healthy biosphere or waterhed," he said.

Goodwin said the city will also redesign storm sewers that empty into McVicar Creek.

The project could involve planting different trees or shrubs along the banks of the creek, and chatting with homeowners who live along the creek to ensure they don't mow their lawns right to the edge of the banks.

'Fantastic idea'

Joan Schultz enjoys walking her dog by the creek.

"Oh, I think it's a fantastic idea. We certainly don't want to have all this garbage around and everything else," said Schultz.

The next phase includes looking at parking lots and other nearby lots to see how to minimize the impact of runoff that eventually ends up in the creek

Work along the stream bank will begin next spring, and the project could become the model for improving other waterways in the city.