Water in the Colquitz River system turned brown Thursday, May 2 following a spill of warm, sediment-rich water. (Submitted)

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

It remains uncertain whether a Saanich non-profit had the necessary permits to perform work responsible for a spill into a local salmon-bearing river already facing various strains.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is investigating whether the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific (HCP) had the “appropriate permits” under the Water Sustainability Act to remove a beaver dam on Thursday, May 2.

“The ministry continues to investigate,” said Dawn Makarowski, public affairs officer, with the Ministry. “It is difficult to determine when it will be complete.”

RELATED: Provincial government investigates Horticultural Centre of the Pacific in Saanich over water spill

Various public and private authorities have deemed the removal of the dam responsible for triggering a spill of warm, sediment-rich water into the Colquitz River from a weir part and parcel of the HCP.

Deborah Donahue, HCP’s general manager, said in an email to the Saanich News earlier this month that the centre performed what she called “regular maintenance of the weir,” including “removing the debris to keep the waterway clear and allow the weir to do its job and the fish to make it upstream.”

Donahue did not respond to questions about whether HCP had permission to perform the work.

Ian Bruce, executive director of the Peninsula Streams Society, said he witnessed the river turn “chocolate brown” on Thursday, May 2. Students from Royal Oak middle school were releasing Coho fry into the river at the Wilkinson Road and Lindsay Avenue when the level of the river suddenly rose four inches in height, said Bruce, whose organization hosted the students.

“The clear, slow moving water became chocolate brown with sediment, and began rushing by,” he said. Its temperature rose from 10.8 degree Celsius to 18.5 degree Celsius, while the level of dissolved oxygen dropped by more than half, he added.

Bruce said the spill could lead to the failure of future salmon runs.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

Central Saanich hosts NEAT program to help seniors connect with each other

Health promotion program aims to reduce social isolation among seniors

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read