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Published July 12th, 2017
Vision for Lafayette creeks applauded but council takes no action yet
A section of the creek on the west end of Lafayette. Photo Pippa Fisher

As plans for the restoration and development of the downtown creeks are unveiled - including viewing areas and patios, creek access and crossings - members of the Lafayette City Council praised the detailed report for its broad vision and flexibility.
A measure to adopt the Downtown Creeks Plan was before the council on June 26. Creeks Committee Chairman Will Elder, along with Gates and Associates consultant Steve Goetz, presented the main points of the 148-page report.
Together they explained that the plan's vision seeks to unify elements over the next 20 years as creek-side parcels of land that are currently privately owned come up for redevelopment. The plan addresses the improvement of water quality, encourages parcel-specific enhancements and proposes using the public projects in the west end of Lafayette as a catalyst for private projects.
Unifying elements include creek walkways, interpretive signage, creek icons and uniform fencing.
Water quality will be improved through low impact development requirements, pervious paving, rain gardens, which take runoff water from the streets to gardens that serve to purify the water before it goes to the creek, and riparian habitat restoration, including some removal of non-native plants.
Elder explained that the plan was to focus initially on the west reach and to start by addressing erosion. He said that once the public sees what can be done, it would be a catalyst for private development. They plan to restore the creek all the way along to the gazebo on the east end, through the downtown area.
Using the creek which flows by the Cooperage as an example of a private project, Elder said they are looking into replacing the current concrete sections of the creek with stone, making the walls more decorative and replacing the current chain link and barbed wire fencing with a more attractive alternative.
City council members uniformly praised the work of the creeks committee. Council member Cam Burks said it showed "excellent vision" but noted, having only just seen the report, that he would like more time to review it before making further comment on something that could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Similarly Council Member Ivor Samson said that because of the financial implications he would need more time to study it and give it the time it deserves.
Council Member Mark Mitchell echoed concern about the cost and the need to look into outside funding sources as well as the implications for cost in terms of maintenance.
Vice Mayor Don Tatzin said he supports the plan but noted that it is a long report and most members of the council had not had enough time to review it thoroughly so suggested it be continued to the second city council meeting in September when all members would be present.
That motion to continue was carried unanimously with Mayor Mike Anderson absent.

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