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Threat to eagle’s nest delays work on Central Saanich sewer line

Concerned residents raise awareness of a tree home to bald eagles that would be impacted
An eagles nest in a tree near Wallace Drive in Saanich is the source of concern for residents who worry a new sewer line will put the protected bird in peril. (Courtesy of Wayne Joslin)

The construction of a sewer line easement in Central Saanich will not go forward until there is feedback from an environmental consultant.

Residents of Central Saanich expressed concerns about the construction of an easement for a sewer line they said would threaten a tree that is home to an eagle’s nest.

Wayne Joslin, a neighbour of the tree, said the bald eagles have been nesting there for years and any construction around the tree might cause root damage or disturb the protected birds.

“We’re concerned about working around the tree, for starters with the eagles in it, as well as the roots being damaged from the pipeline,” Joslin said. “The projected route is only 20-metres wide so it would be physically impossible to respect even the minimum 100-metre eagle disturbance buffer zone.”

Joslin said eagles are protected by a zone of 200 metres when active and his main concern is that digging for the sewer line will require habitat clearing and would damage nearby trees.

“We truly hope that in the end, the protection/buffer zone will be respected, an alternate available route will be used instead and we will not lose this eagle family,” he said.

Adam Overend, who works in the engineering department for Central Saanich said construction will not move ahead until they receive the environmental report from Stantec, which is doing the environmental consultation for the project.

“We have no intentions of removing the tree or doing anything like that,” Overend said. “They are a protected species so we do have to abide by all the environmental laws. Nothing is going to be happening to the eagles or the nest.”

The environmental report is expected to be available in March.

“The eagle family in these trees are a documented and monitored family of eagles,” Joslin said. “We are unsure why this site has been chosen given that the eagles have been there for so long and that there are alternate routes available.”

Overend said this route is the most cost-efficient, with other options adding more than $1 million to the project.

READ MORE:New fish habitat damage allegations levelled at northwest B.C. pipeline project


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