Beowulf, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes’ dog, enjoys the water on their Prospect Lake property. The shoreline between the land and the water has been maintained in an effort to merge with nature. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Mayor’s home serves as example of shoreline protection in Saanich

Consultations give guidance to those considering building near sensitive ecosystems

  • Sep. 5, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Biologist Lehna Malmkvist provides ecological expertise for people looking for ways to maintain their properties in a “shore-friendly” way.

Green Shores is a program that Malmkvist has worked in partnership with, to help Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes maintain the habitat and natural shoreline processes while building his home on Prospect Lake.

Malmkvist, the principal of Swell Environmental Consulting, provided guidance in adding to the eco-conscious design of the single-family home, ensuring the integration of an innovative, whole-system approach.

“As part of the project, (Haynes) was really interested in improving stewardship opportunities and creating an example project,” she said.

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The house was built as far back from the shoreline as possible to lessen the impact on vegetation, insect and marine life and wildlife.

Of particular interest is the fact there is no hardening of the shoreline to stop erosion, such as rocks or concrete, so vegetation is used to hold the soil in place along the lakeshore, allowing life to get from shore to land more easily.

“It connects the terrestrial ecosystem with the aquatic system,” Malmkvist said. “For example, it allows shelter and shade for juvenile fish, since plants can grow near the shoreline, and it allows leaves and insects to drop into the water, providing more nutrients to the ecosystem.”

Integration within the ecosystems is especially important to Malmkvist, where man-made environments mimic the processes and functions of nature as closely as possible.

To find out more about the Green Shores program, visit

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