Sidney’s Reay Creek plan back on the table May 12

Consultation into the effects of contamination in Reay Creek, as well as the impact of storm water runoff, continue to be investigated.

Consultation into the effects of contamination in Reay Creek, as well as the impact of storm water runoff, continue to be investigated in the run up to a May 12 community meeting.

James Bogusz, vice-president of operations and development at the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA), says they have hired a contractor to review storm water flows in the creek on airport property.

“That will help determine what and where the issues are,” he said, “and if we need to address that.”

In 2012, the VAA spent around $250,000 to remediate the portion of Reay Creek that runs through its property. Contaminated soil was removed and the creek channel itself moved to avoid what Bogusz said are places of contamination that date back to the 1930s and ‘40s.

“I won’t say there’s no more pollution on our land,” Bogusz said. “It’s been there for years and now the emphasis is on what can be done downstream.”

The VAA is one of the stakeholders in the Town of Sidney’s push to clean up sediment in the Reay Creek pond — just across Canora Road from the airport property. Testing in January, and other work done last year by Peninsula Streams, confirmed the presence of heavy metal contaminants in the sediment — and in the water downstream. In the wake of those results, the municipality has made investigating its cleanup options a priority.

In a meeting with the News Review, Sidney Director of Engineering Tim Tanton and Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble outlined their progress. Not only is the town looking into the pond sediment issue, but the future of the dam that created the pond in the first place.

“It’s a complex project,” said Tanton. “There’s the dam, contamination, flows and a myriad of interested parties.”

The Town’s first goal, he continued, is to establish a framework to guide everyone to possible solutions.

“It’s a strategic process,” added Humble, “and it’s not a finite plan. We will be meeting with representatives of the VAA, North Saanich and Transport Canada within two weeks to discuss process.”

Bogusz noted VAA has reached out to Transport Canada, “strongly encouraging” them to attend.

For their part, VAA continues to monitor the creek since their restoration work. A monitoring shed sits on their land, west of Canora Road. Bogusz said this is a mobile station that Transport Canada contributed to in the early 2000s. Results from it, he said, have always showed pollution.

The level of contamination in the creek today, insists the municipality, is not immediately dangerous.

Residents nearby and others have questioned that.

Tanton said the levels of contamination present were found by the Town’s consulting firm to be at a threshold acceptable for residential habitation.

That said, the long-term impact is a big question mark and one Sidney says they hope to solve through planning this year and possible corrective action in 2016 or ‘17 — in conjunction with the other parties.

Bogusz added the VAA will do its part and wants to see everyone at the table. He said he’s confident  that the good will between them will lead to solutions.

In the meantime, a Reay Creek Residents group, formed in the wake of the environmental studies, plan to meet May 12 with officials from the Victoria Airport Authority. On the table will be details of discussions between VAA, Transport Canada, Sidney and North Saanich. The Town of Sidney, too, is promising to have updated information available at that meeting. It’s scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. at the B.C. Air Museum on Norseman Road, off Canora Road in North Saanich.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Improvements to Reay Creek Dam could end up raising Sidney’s costs

Sidney and Ottawa are still discussing ways to coordinate remediation

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Boy, 5, will donate organs after crash that killed father, son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Endangered butterfly species to be reintroduced to Hornby Island

Hornby Island is about to play a major role in the saving… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Most Read