Kids and parents joined in the Great Salmon Send-off at Stoney Creek on May 9 to release salmon fry into the creek.

SFU moves to protect Stoney Creek

May 14, 2009

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Correction Appended

SFU will spend more than $1 million on several measures to help protect Stoney Creek, one of the Lower Mainland’s most productive salmon and trout streams.

The university will relocate the road-salt storage facility on the Burnaby campus and is altering snow and ice removal practices to reduce salty runoff that could affect the creek. It will ask the provincial government for emergency funding to help complete the project.

The Stoney Creek Environment Committee, which has been lobbying to move the storage facility for more than five years, recently provided SFU with a report showing high conductivity levels in surface water.

SFU’s own research confirmed the high readings, which were attributed to salt migration through soil or in runoff water from the salt storage shed on the south side of the campus.

"We have retained a consultant to review relocation options, plans and costs for relocating our storage and handling facility in order attempt to relocate it by the beginning of the 2009/10 winter season," says Lee Gavel, SFU’s chief facilities officer and university architect.

"If that’s not possible prior to the 2009/10 season, we will implement the project for the 2010 season. And subsequent to the relocation we will dismantle the existing salt-handling facility and retain an environmental consultant to undertake soil sampling and drill test holes for environmental monitoring of salt in the soil to determine if remediation is necessary."

Like its surrounding communities, SFU has historically applied salt to roads and walkways around campus during ice and snow to provide safe access for students, staff and the public to Burnaby Mountain.

Beginning with the fall 2009 ice/snow season, however, SFU facilities services will reduce road-salt application by 50 per cent through the use of a 50-50 mix of salt and sand on campus roads and parking lots.

And it will substitute alternative de-icing and abrasive products in place of salt on campus sidewalks, paths, landings, squares and stairs.

Correction: May. 14, 2009
The original, print version of this story did not mention the university will ask the provincial government for emergency funding to help complete the project.


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