‘Bee’ on the lookout for wildflowers and butterflies: Burnaby begins its “pollinator corridor” project this month
Burnaby and Vancouver are set to begin a joint effort this month to enhance habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Don’t be surprised if Boundary Road looks more overgrown than usual this summer. It’s all part of a new “pollinator corridor” project Burnaby is taking on in a joint effort with the City of Vancouver with the goal of enhancing habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
This month, the pilot project will seed a number of medians along Boundary Road using a complex seed mix, with a variety of pollinator-friendly plants expected to bloom around August as a result.
According to a city infographic detailing the plan, pollinator corridors like these are meant to allow for more growth of long grasses and flowers in areas that are otherwise paved over. This allows pollinating insects, like bees and butterflies, to travel between areas using routes that would be otherwise inhospitable.
The city’s infographic says naturalized areas like these will also help with soil retention throughout the summer, protecting local trees from drought.
A parks, recreation and cultural services department report highlights how communication will be a key part of the plan, so residents don’t misconstrue the city’s intentional wilding efforts as an “unkempt landscape”.
The parks, recreation and culture commission approved the development of this project back in September 2019. And while the details of the plan itself still had to be hashed out after it was approved, Dave Ellenwood, the general manager of parks, recreation and cultural Services, acknowledged that the city was further behind on things than desired.
“We are aware that other municipalities and other jurisdictions certainly are ahead on this,” said Ellenwood at the latest commission meeting. “We’ve had feedback from citizens both commenting on when we do mow an area, asking us not to do it, and others who are pointing out in other jurisdictions what they do.
“I think, as [the commission] pointed out, the pilot project is something that’s been considered and approved before, and we’re making some progress now.”
Whether the project will be accepted by the public is another issue, but Ellenwood acknowledges that, all things considered, it’s worth a try.
“Are people going to accept this is worthwhile in terms of the biodiversity, the benefits it has in terms of water retention and things like that, or are they going to complain?
“I think it’s worth a try… We are ready to justify the program for the benefits it provides as a pilot project and then evaluate later on.”
The Boundary Road project was selected for the first phase of the pilot program, while city staff have identified areas of Centennial Park, Taylor Park, Willingdon Heights Park, as well as BC Hydro and Translink corridors that could also be seeded to support pollinator habitat.