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Delta to ‘rename’ Northeast Interceptor Canal to Lower Cougar Creek

Staff say the change will increase awarness of creek “as a functioning salmon bearing watercourse”
The Northeast Interceptor Canal follows the train tracks from Cougar Creek down to the Fraser River. (Grace Kennedy photo)

There won’t be much talk about the Northeast Interceptor Canal in Delta council anymore.

On Monday, June 19, council voted to change the name of the lower section of Cougar Canyon Creek to Lower Cougar Creek in Corporation documents and to ask the province to add Lower Cougar Creek as a recorded name to the B.C. Geographic data set.

Lower Cougar Creek, as it is now known, is a man-made waterway that runs north along the BNSF railway to the Fraser River. It connects to the upper section of Cougar Canyon Creek just south of 72nd Avenue.

According to a report presented to council, references to the Northeast Interceptor Canal will have to be removed from the Integrated Stormwater Management Plan and reports, as well as from one listing on Delta’s website.

Officially, the whole watercourse from the headwaters near Scott Road to the Fraser River is named Cougar Canyon Creek. Adding Lower Cougar Creek to the B.C. Geographic data set will not make it a formal name, it will simply make it publically searchable in the B.C. Geographical Names Information System and link it to the official Cougar Canyon Creek.

Changing the Northeast Interceptor Canal name was first brought forward by Cougar Creek Streamkeeper Deborah Jones, who has been working with the Streamkeepers since 2004.

SEE ALSO: Cougar Creek Streamkeepers looking to rename Delta’s Northeast Interceptor Canal

In a letter to council, Jones noted that didn’t know how Cougar Canyon Creek reached the Fraser River when she first joined the Streamkeepers.

“I’m sure many North Deltas are as ignorant today as my husband and I used to be,” she wrote.

“A name change from the industrial-sounding ‘Northeast Interceptor Canal’ to ‘Lower Cougar Creek’ would help clarify for everyone that this watercourse is not a mere canal for intercepting stormwater runoff, but an integral part of North Delta’s most productive salmon stream.”

Cougar Canyon Creek is home to two kinds of salmon: chum and coho. The chum salmon generally live in the slower moving water of Lower Cougar Creek, while the coho prefer the faster waterfalls of Upper Cougar Creek.