What does daylighting a creek look like in France?

What does daylighting a creek look like in France?

16.10.2015 - Posted by Rob Catchlove
I spent two months in Lyon (France) and was able to catch up with some water planners and project designers from the city (Grand Lyon). They had recently completed an urban creek daylighting project – i.e. the removal of a stormwater pipe and restoration of a ‘natural’ channel in Parc du Vallon.

Looking upstream at Parc du Vallon

There were three drivers for this project: improve flood mitigation, provide a better space for locals to engage with nature and play, and improve the ecology of the area.

The finished product was quite impressive and it certainly delivered on the three objectives – especially the cool playground that my kids enjoyed playing on. As we wandered around I noticed:
  • The new channel was made of rock groynes – removing any possibility for the creek to meander – apparently the architect liked the look of them
  • I couldn’t see any spill ways for the three detentions basins - but that did allow for some nice paths to cross the park
  • I couldn’t see any water quality treatment – but with a combined system there is little incentive to remove excess nutrients.
We have worked on a few concepts for removing old stormwater pipes and recreating natural channels in Australia (Stony Creek in west of Melbourne), but I’m yet to hear of a good daylighting project that has been built in Australia. The benefits of such a project in Australia would be the improved waterway condition and values, the improved amenity, and the opportunity to integrate some stormwater harvesting / flood retention into the project.

Playing in the park downstream of the daylighted channel