Photo Credit: Camille Andrews | Greenway Land Trust

Save Simms Creek – Local Biodiversity Hotspot Threatened by Housing Proposal

But shutting down the project will be no easy feat

proposed apartments has residents up in arms over impacts to their local creek

Simms Creek could be approaching its last Spring. 

The local biodiversity hotspot is set to be developed with over 200 housing units, and residents are unhappy about it.

“WestUrban Developments is poised to build 3 apartment buildings where salmon swim, bear and deer roam, woodpeckers drum, eagles soar, frogs metamorphose in wetlands, and the forest stands tall.”

So says the website that the group “Save Simms Creek” has put together to gather supporters.

They’re running a letter-writing campaign which hopes to shift the city’s support for the project.

The group is spearheaded by Deborah Broadley, who began the movement by posting flyers around the neighbourhood informing people of what was happening.

She told Black Press Media she’s not against building more housing but feels the land selected for this development is the wrong spot for such a project.

“We’re not anti-development. We understand that housing is required in Campbell River,” she said. “We also know that it’s more affordable housing (that’s needed), and this is not going to be necessarily affordable housing.”

The neighbourhood seems to back her feelings on this. Simms Creek is a local favourite to get out in nature and for the Junior Streamkeepers project.

“The overwhelming feeling of people that have been in contact with us in the neighbourhood… this is really an unsuitable parcel of land to be building any development.”

Biologist Michele Jones walked the property and found “pocket wetlands” that flow into Simms Creek, also on the property.

Since the pocket wetlands flow into the fish-bearing Simms Creek, they fall under the provincial Riparian Area Protection Regulations. Jones said the wetlands likely could not have been seen due to dry conditions when the original reports were made.

“I’m not faulting the biologists. Many developers want this assessment done now, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is,” she said. “They went out, I believe, in September, which last year was super dry. If you have really tall grass and you have dry wetland,s those channels may have been obscured by that grass. They may not have seen the channels.”

Save Simms Creek members hope that discovering the wetland areas will delay the project’s start time.

It will be a hard-fought win if they manage to get the development moved at this point.

The development is zoned RM-1, which means it does not require rezoning from the city.

That means there will be no public hearing for opposers to air their viewpoints, except potentially on a request that WestUrban developments have made for slight variances in height, which hasn’t yet been granted.

It’s the last chance to get the group’s voices heard. This is why they’ve started the letter-writing campaign, so the city may be forced to hold a public meeting before granting the request.

Broadley says if you’ve ever walked near Simms Creek, and care about keeping it around for your kids, now is the time to speak up.

“I watched the world evolve. Why do we keep making these same mistakes around the environment? My children and grandchildren are going to ask me that question. What kind of answer can I give them? And so that’s why I’m standing up and speaking out in opposition.”If you want to learn more or add your voice to the movement, you can head to