Douglas College > About Douglas > News and Media > News > 2017 > November > New Westminster’s lost streams found, as result of Douglas College research
A two-year research project to trace the “lost streams” of New Westminster has resulted in data that not only provides a historical perspective of the landscape, but also is essential information for city planners.
Douglas College Geography and the Environment instructor Mike McPhee led the Lost Streams of New Westminster Project to map the City’s historic waterways, which was completed in partnership with the City of New Westminster this year. Local residents provided resources and anecdotes McPhee and his team drew from.
“Someone showed me an old fire map that marked the location of Glenbrook Creek [in Fraserview’s Glenbrook Ravine Park]. It was a great starting point that led me to research more of these maps. We used historical information anywhere we could find it – library, archives, maps, photos and books,” says McPhee.
The result is a collection of historical images and information, as well as an interactive topographical map that plots the location of five major waterways that were mostly buried by development.
The project has a functional value for city planners.
“The City of New Westminster is very appreciative of the research that Douglas College has conducted,” says Councillor Jaimie McEvoy, Chair of the City of New Westminster Environment Advisory Committee. “This work will help guide future separated storm systems as well as mimic the environmental function of streams and watersheds that pre-date development.”
Archie Miller, a New Westminster historian, says the research is also valuable because it reconnects the present-day community with the natural systems beneath its feet.
“From a historical perspective, we want to know how the city has evolved and changed geographically over time,” says Miller. “These streams go back hundreds of years ‒ people have memories of them ‒ and so knowing where they are puts those stories into context.”
The research is available on newwestloststreams.ca.
Melissa Nilan, Communications Coordinator
604 527 5547
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