Rock Bay Creek: Why Daylighting?

“In urban design and urban planning, daylighting is the redirection of a stream into an above-ground revert it to a more natural state, for the purposes of runoff reduction, habitat creation for species in need of it, or for aesthetic purposes. Daylighting intends to revitalize the riparian environment for a stream which had been previously diverted into a culvert, pipe, or a drainage system. Daylighting also refers to the public process toward such projects."

From Wikipedia”Daylighting (streams)"


Rock Bay Creek rises in what is now Fernwood, runs through Quadra Hillside, Burnside Gorge, and empties into Rock Bay. The creek also drains parts of North Park and Oaklands. It runs below three parks – Alexander Park, Blackwood Park, and Wark Street Park, a community garden (all formerly swampy areas) and through the heart of two communities.

150 years ago, the problem of flooding and swampiness was solved by ingenious engineering. In the late 1890s, as settler population increased, many small and large creeks were culverted to facilitate development and as a health measure since they'd became places to dump garbage and carriers of disease. Once culverted, it is easy to forget they're there and we lose touch with the original water sources that sustained life in this area.

In a time of global warming, we are more in need of clean healthy water than ever. In a time of the industrialization of our wild lands, millions/billions of gallons of water used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are made toxic and lost to us forever.

“All the water that will ever be is, right now”, National Geographic October 1993

Rock Bay Creek Revival works to remind us of the water below our feet, water we have forgotten, water without which we cannot live. Without water there is no life, no life for hummingbirds and mayflies, coho and cutthroat, bears, deer, raccoons, and mice, and we humans. If we do not remember our water, if we do not take care of it, there will be no place for us on this earth.



Rock Bay Creek Revival gratefully thanks and recognizes the guidance of Esquimalt and Songhees Nations on whose unceded land we live, learn and work. We acknowledge their generosity in helping us imagine this land before settlers changed it so drastically.




Rock Bay Creek - A Story of Urban Watershed Revival

by Lindsay Kathrens and Ian Flock