Contaminated creek in Sidney getting work done

Transport Canada engaged in preliminary review prior to cleaning up Reay Creek

Retired DFO ocean scientist Rob Macdonald, left, and Peninsula Streams executive director Ian Bruce show off the core samples taken from sediment in Reay Creek Pond in Sidney back in 2015. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

Retired DFO ocean scientist Rob Macdonald, left, and Peninsula Streams executive director Ian Bruce show off the core samples taken from sediment in Reay Creek Pond in Sidney back in 2015. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

New work is taking place this month around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond, a body of water classed by Transport Canada as an active contaminated site.

Reay Creek Residents group spokesperson Bill Collins sent an email recently, notifying people who live around the pond and along the creek, that Transport Canada has contracted a local consulting firm to “carry out topographic surveys” of the upper reaches of the creek. Collins said such work is an indication of scientific investigation and is part of the groundwork for remediation.

The residents’ group is part of the overall Reay Creek working group headed up by the Town of Sidney. It includes Transport Canada, the Victoria Airport Authority and District of North Saanich.

Contamination in the waterway has been known for years, but independent testing done in 2015 — and again by Transport Canada in 2016 — officially confirmed the presence of heavy metals in the pond and creek bed sediment. High levels of cadmium, zinc, lead and chromium have been found buried in the sediment. While the Town stated in 215 that there was no danger to the public, the municipality did put up signs in 2016, warning residents and park users to keep themselves, children and pets out of the soil along the creek.

The contamination is generally believed to have come from years of operations at the Victoria International Airport — or the Pat Bay Air Station, when it was built in the early 1940s. In recent years the Victoria Airport Authority, which took over operation of the airport from Transport Canada in 1997, has been spending its own money on projects to clean up the creeks on its property.

Transport Canada declined an interview with the Peninsula News Review, but in an emailed statement, said they are “undertaking environmental assessment and survey work to determine the extent of contamination in Reay Creek within the Victoria International Airport land, Town of Sidney and District of North Saanich.”

“The purpose of collecting the environmental and survey information is to identify the preliminary scope and estimated cost of remediation options.”

According to the federal government’s contaminated sites list, Transport Canada set aside $80,300 in 2016/17 for preliminary work. They also estimated around 4,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil might be in the area.

In it’s statement to the PNR, Transport Canada noted once the planning is done, they will work with the other stakeholders to develop a final remediation strategy. Any work after that could take place in 2018. Collins noted earlier this year that remediation could range from doing nothing, to monitoring water quality, to removing all contaminants and fixing the creek bed, or even eliminating the pond.

Peninsula’s Active Contaminated Sites

There are four active contaminated sites being looked at by the federal government, according to the online sites list.

In addition to Reay Creek, there are contaminated sites in Tseyhum Harbour, as well as an ‘East Dumpsite’ and ‘West Dumpsite’ both on Department of National Defense lands at the airport.

All of those sites are in some stage of review or remediation and all contain heavy metal contamination, petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

According to the list, the federal government is spending anywhere from $80,000 to $91,800 on these active sites in 2016/17.

The federal contaminated sites list shows there are in excess of 15 spots on the Saanich Peninsula whose files have either been investigated and closed, or are still open.

 

Reay Creek in Sidney. Town council is considering removing an upstream dam and the returning the watercourse to full stream status. It’s part of ongoing clean up and restoration discussions with Transport Canada and other partners. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

Reay Creek in Sidney. Town council is considering removing an upstream dam and the returning the watercourse to full stream status. It’s part of ongoing clean up and restoration discussions with Transport Canada and other partners. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read