Still Creek as a Water-Disposal Machine: An Archival Survey 1913-1988

Kevin Chan


Still Creek, located in Vancouver, British Columbia is one of only two creeks that still flow partially above ground in the city. Although it is in some respects an unremarkable urban waterway, its progressive development into a storm water conveyance channel provides insight into Vancouver’s changing relationship with water since the early twentieth century. I argue that the role of Still Creek as a major drainage trunk has largely been obscured by the "natural" system within which the drainage system has been incorporated. I seek to investigate the ways in which Still Creek has been incorporated into the district’s drainage system through a particular (and intentional) combination of technological and natural systems and how it can be better understood as a "water-disposal machine." I consider both physical changes (such as the dredging, straightening, and culverting undertaken by the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District to increase its maximum water carrying capacity), and changes in popular perception that occurred over the course of the twentieth century.

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