Reay Creek remediation complete

Victoria Airport Authority completes major environmental initiative

A restored Reay Creek. The area around it has been upgraded to better reduce the potential for contamination to enter the creek.

A restored Reay Creek. The area around it has been upgraded to better reduce the potential for contamination to enter the creek.

A large project started earlier this year to restore a section on Reay Creek on airport land has been completed.

The major restoration project began in 2011 during the planning phase of a program to clean up the area. A request for proposals process began in the spring and construction actually began on the restoration during a month long period from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15.

“The actual physical work on this project started in the summer because we had to work within a fisheries permit and they give you a window in the dry period,” explained James Bogusz, director of airside operations, technology and environment for the Victoria Airport Authority.

Reay Creek is a fish bearing stream that runs through the airport’s east industrial area, through Sidney and then drains into Bazan Bay. The remediation project had been initiated to improve stormwater quality from historically contaminated areas of the creek.

“Leading the way in environmental management is a core focus of our organization,” said Geoff Dickson, president and CEO of the Victoria Airport Authority, in a press release. “We took a good look at options for how we could improve the stormwater coming from airport lands.”

The project consists of a new 200 metre long diversion channel that incorporates aquatic habitat features such as rocks and wetlands plantings to provide habitat for a variety of aquatic species. The new channel will be used to divert stormwater drainage around the existing creek channel, which has been converted to a bio-remediation wetland. Bogusz said the wetland will help filter out stormwater pollutants and improve water quality.

“All the work put in by our staff and contractors greatly reduces the potential for new contamination to enter the creek, allowing the bypass channel to avoid the most contaminated areas while it is given a chance to heal.”

The project cost around $220,000 to complete, all of which was funded by the Victoria Airport Authority.

“This area, being a (Second World War site) has had a lot of contamination over the years, and it was just due time to do something in the area to clear it up,” said Bogusz.

– With files from the Victoria Airport Authority