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General News · 27th September 2017
Christine Robinson
The new open-bottom culvert at Basil Creek has been completed. The Whaletown Road via Squirrel Cove was open to traffic on Thursday, September 21, ahead of schedule, with some final road surfacing still to be finished.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and Emcon, along with FOCI and Cortes Streamkeepers, wish to thank the Cortes community for their goodwill and support during the 2 weeks of the road closure (Sept 7-21). In particular, special thanks to Curt, Terri & staff at the Squirrel Cove Store and to the Klahoose community, for their cooperation and understanding during the disruption.
Cortes Island has been exceptionally fortunate in having Sean Wong as the project manager for this work. Sean is the senior biologist for MOTI on Vancouver Island, and brings a wealth of experience with stream restoration. The final stage of project completion for Basil Creek is a major stream restoration downstream of the new open-bottom culvert. This section of the creek is having a significant face-lift which includes: reducing the creek gradient for better fish passage, developing a series of riffle & pool structures to enhance spawning habitat, adding spawning gravel, removing invasive bamboo, and the streamside planting of many native plants to increase cover for fish. The excavator operators have been working with stream restoration projects since 2004, and have a high level of skill in the careful placement of ‘riprap’ (large boulders) and spawning gravel. The long-term health of Basil Creek, and her fish populations and spawning salmon, will be the beneficiaries for many years ahead, and worth the major disruption that can be seen currently. We would like to thank the landowners on both sides of the lower creek who have been informed throughout the project and have been most accommodating and supportive of enhancing the creek.
An educational day and tour of the Basil Creek restoration project is planned for later in the fall when creek levels are higher and chum are returning, and will be advertised in due course.
A smaller scale culvert replacement and stream restoration will begin at Whaletown Creek in the first week of October. There will be single lane traffic during the project, and people are encouraged to add an extra few minutes for travel to the ferry. The crew will be doing their best to minimize delays at ferry arrival and departure times, so a smile and a wave will make their day! The crew already loves Cortes, so let’s give them more reason to be impressed by our island.
Cortes Streamkeepers & FOCI

Whaletown Creek
Comment by Shay'ne Findlay on 3rd October 2017
We are thrilled this work is being done and sincerely appreciate the effort and hard work by Cec and Christine as well as the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. When we bought our property two years ago, we were disappointed by the condition of the creek and the lack of marine life. This is a most joyous occasion for all. One reminder, please be careful when you come upon the single lane during construction - our driveway is in the bend of the curve and while the public navigates this single lane, please be aware we will be entering and existing our driveway onto Carrington Bay Road.
Whalwtown culvert replacement
Comment by David Findlay on 3rd October 2017
Most impressed with the work by Cortes stream keepers especially Christine and Cecil Robinson. Also very pleased with Sean Wong of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. As the culvert replacement on Whaletown Creek greatly impacts our property we are delighted to have these outstanding individuals caring for marine environment.
Basil Creek
Comment by Bruce Ellingsen on 29th September 2017
Cec gave some of us a tour and a great explanation of the process involved in the construction. Most impressive and a great improvement!
For the record...
Comment by Nikie on 28th September 2017
Just for the record, the eight of us currently living in Stichville were also cooperative and understanding during the disruption. But hey! Just glad those salmon are going to keep spawnin'.