The City of Port Coquitlam has made a significant contribution to the region’s wilderness areas by transforming two old sewage lagoons into a 27-acre park with ponds, marshes, meadows, forests and aquatic habitats.
“This is a migration path for birds. Having such a significant wetlands here in Metro Vancouver benefits our wildlife throughout the whole region,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore while surveying the site in fall 2017.
Located near Riverside Drive in northeast Port Coquitlam, Blakeburn Lagoons Park includes 1.6 kilometres of walking trails and four viewing platforms. Opening to public in spring 2018, it is a naturalistic design that was preferred by residents, compared to more recreation-focused plans presented at open houses and online.
Moore explained that city councils have long wanted to revitalize the sewage settling ponds that have been there since the 1950s. “A couple years ago we had the opportunity to apply for federal provincial cost sharing funds and that was really the tipping point for our council to make the decision to move forward.”
To keep the ponds from drying out in summer, they are linked to storm water outflows, and some areas were excavated deep enough to connect with ground water, according to Manager of Capital Projects Lee-Anne Truong. “In high rain events water will now go to the lagoon park rather backing up our storm sewer systems.”
Moore has a personal connection with the site. “I grew up in this neighbourhood, half a kilometre from here. This was all bushes behind all the houses around us. It is a neat moment in time to be making this into an area that we can use again.”