Crews are busy at work in the Sudbury community of Garson, uncovering a part of Junction Creek that had been forced underground decades ago.

The creek traverses much of the city, flowing from Garson, through to New Sudbury, downtown and running south to Kelly Lake. The section downtown has been routed into underground culverts, similar to the section in Garson where crews are currently at work.

After the culverts in the Garson section started to fail, creating sinkholes and issues in the area, city staff proposed a plan known as "daylighting." Instead of replacing the culverts, the creek would be dug up and allowed to flow on the surface, as it had originally done.

Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo said daylighting Junction Creek in the area, and creating a pathway, will add to the quality of life for residents.

"Lions' Park is really in a unique location, right in the heart of Garson," said Jakubo, the area councillor. "(We're) adding a wonderful feature that is basically going to be a walking trail along what is a constantly running creek.

Wonderful improvement

"It's not a lot or a significant amount of water -- it is a constant flow of water, and that's a very soothing environment for anybody and to be able to walk along that, even for a short stretch. I think is a wonderful improvement."

The cost of daylighting the creek is significantly less than the repairing the culverts. There are also several environmental benefits to the project.

It's costing the city almost $200,000 and it's expected to be done by the end of the month. Some of the planting along the area will be weather dependent and may have to be pushed into next year.

Jakubo said some trees had to also be removed, since the roots had grown into the culverts.

"At the end of the day, the majority of the trees will be left and that's the kind of work that's been seen currently," he said. "The end product is going to be an open-channel with aggregate on either side to shore up the banks that will run from Spruce Street to pretty much Birch Street."

Pleased to see the work being done

The Nickel District Conservation Authority (Conservation Sudbury) owns the land and leases it to the city. In a statement to CTV, they said:

"Conservation Sudbury is pleased to see the work being undertaken in Garson. Daylighting streams, when feasible, can be a great step forward. It returns a natural value to Junction Creek and allows everyone to appreciate the stream an in urban park setting."

The move has also earned the city kudos from the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee, which has been lending its input to the project.

"It's great, like you say it's been a long time since the creek was buried and I guess the more exposed through the city it is, the better," said project coordinator Brandon Holden. "It provides more habituate for the birds, fish and other animals that use the creek."

Holden said they've seen a real improvement over the years in the health of Junction Creek, and they've been continuing their work, monitoring it for its viability and the wildlife around it.

"I'm really pleased that this was the best alternative and I'm really pleased that staff brought this forward," said Jakubo.