Ottawa looks to protect waterways from run-off

The City of Ottawa wants to rehabilitate an urban stream in the west end that frequently floods because of surrounding developments, and says the plan could be a template for similar streams in the city.

Pinecrest Creek rehabilitation to be pilot project aimed at waterways affected by development

The City of Ottawa wants to rehabilitate an urban stream in the west end that frequently floods because of surrounding developments, and says the plan could be a template for similar streams in the city.

Pinecrest Creek, a four-kilometer-long tributary that flows from Algonquin College into the Ottawa River, can rise by more than two metres after a rainstorm, ruining the shoreline and killing the aquatic life.

Jennifer Lamoureux, a biologist with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, says the conditions also mean that oil, salt and pet feces run from neighbourhoods into the waterway and eventually the Ottawa River, just upstream of Westboro Beach.

Oil, salt and pet feces eventually end up in the Ottawa River after rainstorms. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"It does get into Pinecrest Creek," she said. "There is very little control, if any, as far as filtration."

To deal with the creek's woes, the city is working on a proposal that will be released this fall. Dixon Weir, Ottawa's general manager of environmental services, says the report will encourage property owners to take responsibility for their stormwater run-off.

The plan may include incentives for rain barrels and perforated parking surfaces.

Weir says it's a pilot project that could become a template for managing other urban streams.

"This is a key learning opportunity for the city, and also for the residents, to understand better their impact and their positive contribution and influence they can have on the environment," he said.