Can $6-Million Plan Save Stanley Park’s Beaver Lake?

Photo credit: Bobanny | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Bobanny | Wikipedia

Stanley Park has lots must-see sites, from the seawall to the Vancouver Aquarium and the incredible vistas from Prospect Point.  But for many regulars, the park’s most enchanting spot is a humble little pond far from the crowds and the cameras.

Beaver Lake, which really does have resident beavers, is tucked away in a thickly forested zone accessed via walking and biking trails.  And now the tiny lake – which is filling up with silt and shrinking every year – has a new lease of life.

The Vancouver park board has just approved a new $2-$6 million plan to save Beaver Lake.  The ambitious rescue package calls for extensive dredging of the lake to get rid of all that silt, plus the construction of new boardwalks and viewing platforms for visitors, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

While the price tag may seem high, the alternative was losing the lake completely.  

Photo credit: Daniel Dionne | Flickr

Photo credit: Daniel Dionne | Flickr

Beaver Lake has become overrun with invasive species, including water lilies (as pretty as they may be) and cattails. Turtles, frogs and other wildlife that were once plentiful have largely disappeared. And the lake is shrinking at an accelerating pace.  Without intervention, it’s forecast to disappear completely and become a swampy meadow in just five years.

The rescue plan seeks to strike a balance between restoring Beaver Lake to its pristine natural state and improving public access.  The project calls for dredging up massive amounts of silt, which may then be used to construct islands in the lake itself.

Nearby ponds and streams will be integrated and a fish ladder will be installed so that fish can return to the lake.  Native species will also be replanted in the area.  The end goal: recreate a natural B.C. coastal wetland habitat in the middle of one of the city’s busiest parks.

Photo credit: Bobanny | Wikipedia

Photo credit: Bobanny | Wikipedia

At the same time, four new viewing platforms will be installed at the lake’s edge, one of which will be accessed by a long wooden boardwalk.  The plan even calls for building washroom facilities near the pond to improve the visitor experience.

While the project has been formally approved by the Vancouver park board, no strict timeline has been given for implementation. It’s anticipated that the plan will be refined over the next 12-18 months before work actually begins.

What do you think about the plan to restore Beaver Lake in Stanley Park? Let us know below. 

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