It’s too bad that the contamination issue in Sidney’s Reay Creek doesn’t involve human sewage.
If it had been, the entire waterway might have been cleaned up a lot sooner.
Residents next to Melville Park in Sidney will soon see a sewage leak dealt with and while that issue has, apparently, been an issue for a while, the municipality has stepped up quickly to fix it. Especially since Island Health takes these kinds of matters quite seriously.
That said, the Melville Park issue is fairly cut-and-dried. It’s a problem that starts in Sidney and ends in Sidney.
Reay Creek, however, was filled with heavy metal contaminants. This ocurred over decades as metals were flushed into the stream from the airport and industrial areas on the North Saanich side of the border, from land controlled by yet other levels of government.
This issue now involves those different governments, all of which are being asked to some degree, to pay for the cost of clean up.
This week, it has been revealed in the minutes of a working group headed by the Town of Sidney, that Transport Canada has committed to working on classifying Reay Creek in its national contaminated sites system. Members of that committee say it’s a step towards the federal government determining the risk to residents — and possibly what it’s going to take to clean it up.
Still, Transport Canada’s representatives at that May 11 committee meeting did not commit resources or money to the problem.
It’s a case where blame for the issue seems clear, but the water is muddied by the many different jurisdictions who don’t want the entire burden to fall on their shoulders.
In the meantime, residents along Reay Creek are staging a rally on Saturday to raise public awareness of the issue and to try to force action sooner, rather than later.
For people living near the pond or along the creek, the whole thing stinks and has done so for years.
The sad things is, if the creek actually stank, it probably would have been dealt with years ago.
As it stands today, they’d probably say they’ve put up with too much crap, from too many governments, for too long.