A neighbourhood bridge over Nunns Creek is slated to be replaced with a brand-new, properly engineered structure next month.
The Nunns Creek Stewards plan to take down the existing old, rickety, wooden plank bridge that crosses the tributary at the bottom of Croatian Road likely within the first two weeks of September when there are no fish in the creek.
“It was put up by neighbours and a local bike club,” said Barbara Phipps of the Nunns Creek Stewards. “It’s fine for walking across but a few ATV’s have gone across it and smashed the planks.”
The new bridge, which is being designed by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) engineer, will look similar to the new Willow Creek bridge along the Jubilee Connector portion of the Greenways Loop but without a bend in the middle.
“The new bridge is mainly to stop erosion in that area,” Phipps said. “The erosion is caused by people walking, motorcycles, ATVS. When they go through, they make a muddy depression.”
The creek over time then becomes wider and wider and poses challenges for the fish habitat.
“It’s not good for the fish because the creek silts up and covers their eggs,” Phipps said.
Cutthroat trout, small wild coho and chum all swim in Nunns Creek.
The bridge is estimated to cost around $10,000 and when complete, will be longer than the existing footbridge and set higher up the bank.
“The bridge has to be quite high because in the winter there is quite a flow of water in there,” Phipps said. “The water comes up so high that the approach on either side of the bridge gets flooded out.”
Still that doesn’t deter school kids walking to and from Carihi and Phoenix from using the bridge and the trail that runs from Croatian, crosses the ERT Road and comes out onto 2nd Avenue.
Phipps said the new bridge will ensure students using the trail won’t unknowingly inflict any riparian damage.
She also plans to work with Carihi and Timberline’s environmental teams to plant native species in the area later in the fall.
Phipps said she would like to plant grand firs, sitka spruce, salmon berry, sword fern, deer fern, Nootka rose, bargain grape and hemlock.
Support for the bridge has come from the Nunns Creek Stewards, DFO and other local environmental groups.
The Croatian Road bridge is just the first of three new bridges the Nunns Creek Stewards plan to erect.
Other bridges are planned for the main stream at the bottom of 2nd Avenue which already has a temporary structure, and one off the ERT Road that connects to the 5th Avenue trails.