Fish to get better home in Pitt Meadows

MOT is enhancing habitat near Katzie Slough to compensate for construction of a third bus lane on Lougheed Highway.

MOT is enhancing habitat near Katzie Slough to compensate for construction of a third bus lane on Lougheed Highway.

Construction of a large pond to improve fish habitat has begun in Pitt Meadows, but nearby residents are complaining they had little notification about it.

The Ministry of Transportation project, on land owned by the city, began last week and is expected to end by summer.

Residents were informed via a letter dropped at their front doors April 20, as construction workers began preparations for the 260-metre-long (853 feet) channel, which will connect to Katzie Slough.

“We are going to get a slough that’s standing water,” said Ken Joyner, who lives nearby and suggested the province should have held a public meeting to inform residents.

“The property belongs to the citizens of Pitt Meadows. This is not going to solve our drainage problems.”

City councillors too were taken by surprise.

City director of operations Kim Grout said staff were aware of the project, but did not receive a final design until early April.

“The ministry was rather reluctant to do consultation on it,” Grout told council at a committee meeting last week.

The habitat compensation channel is a joint project with the City of Pitt Meadows, Katzie First Nation and province.

It is being constructed to off set habitat lost due to the construction a third lane on Lougheed Highway between Harris Road and Golden Ears Way.

The project entails the creation of marsh benches and a small pond, resulting in more than 118,403 square feet of new aquatic and riparian habitat.

Invasive vegetation will be removed from areas that are not converted to aquatic habitat and replaced with native seed mixes and shrubs such as salmonberry, Nootka rose and willow.

The Ministry of Transportation said the project will provide high quality habitat for fish and wildlife within the Katzie Slough by creating homes for juvenile salmonids and resident fish species.

The work off Airport Way will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.