Cottle Creek: mapping Nanaimo waterways

Urban planning around Nanaimo’s natural waterways is a challenge.  Typically, urban cities in the past have piped and buried all the smaller streams and creeks and infilled  wetlands because people didn’t see any value in retaining them.

Wetland in Linley Valley
Wetland in Linley Valley – world class urban planning includes saving wildlife refuges in the middles of cities

Below is a map showing Nanaimo watercourses in 1993.

Nanaimo Waterways 1993
Nanaimo Waterways 1993

At the time of the mapping 60 watercourses were identified and at that point six had been infilled or piped inside the City Boundary.

The two red dots mark where parts of the Cottle Creek stream were piped down to the ocean and the green dot shows the Cottle Creek system where it flows into Departure Bay.

What has changed in the last 21 years? The Cottle Creek system is under real threat with the construction of Linley Valley Drive which is planned to cut through wetland areas behind Oliver Woods and over to Rock City Road.  Below is a closer map of the Cottle Creek system and the connecting wetlands.

Cottle Creak and Linley Valley
Cottle Creek and Linley Valley

Thanks to Nanaimo City Hall Bloggers we are now learning about the death of the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) and what it means.

Here is the timeline of how the City of Nanaimo got rid of the UCB and opened the door to the Linley Valley, Cable Bay, Lantzville Foothills and Sandstone developments:

In 1994 Council received a report entitled “Managing Blocks of Vacant Land”. This report provided options for reviewing development applications within Linley Valley.

In 1996, with the adoption of Plan Nanaimo, the City’s Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) was established to clearly define those areas of the City where urban growth was expected and was to be encouraged.

At the January  14, 2008, meeting of Nanaimo Council, the UCB was killed with almost no audience to witness and only one councillor defending it.

City Manager Gerry Berry commented at the meeting it was necessary to get rid of the UCB in order to open up the City for development.  Councillor Sherry asked if this was a ‘City’ driven agenda.

Here is a clip of the meeting back in 2008.


Unfortunately, setting aside a ‘Stanley Park’ in the middle of Nanaimo was not in the plans back then.  Here we are in 2014 facing the destruction of large areas of  Linley Valley for new roads and developments which are effectively subsidized by Nanaimo taxpayers.

It is up to the people to demand that saving Linley Valley is a priority. Keep sending your emails of concern to and follow Team Save Linley Valley West on Facebook.