Bill Collins, a spokesperson for neighbours living around Sidney’s Reay Creek, welcomes the announcement that the federal government is going ahead with the remediation of Reay Creek pond. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Bill Collins, a spokesperson for neighbours living around Sidney’s Reay Creek, welcomes the announcement that the federal government is going ahead with the remediation of Reay Creek pond. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

A representative for Sidney residents living near the pond created by the Reay Creek dam remains “cautiously optimistic” the municipality will improve the area this year as the federal government readies for remediation of the pond.

“From an environmental perspective, it is way less disruptive, from a neighbourhood perspective, it is less disruptive, and overall, it is more cost-effective to do both at the same time,” said Bill Collins, who speaks for about 60 Sidney residents, with two-thirds of them living around the pond created by the dam.

He made these comments Monday after the federal government awarded QM Environmental approximately $1.14 million for the remediation work of the pond.

Transport Canada is remediating the pond after assuming responsibility for polluting it. Municipal officials have been working with their federal counterparts for some time to determine whether it might be possible to combine the remediation of the pond with the upgrade to the dam itself.

Ian Bruce, executive coordinator of the Peninsula Streams Society, told the Peninsula News Review last year that doing both projects simultaneously would have financial as well as environmental benefits because crews would have to drain the pond created by the dam only once against the backdrop of federal fisheries regulations that require the work to be completed by Sept. 15.

At this stage, it is not clear whether Sidney will join the work.

“The determination of the Town’s dam upgrades happening concurrently with Transport Canada’s pond remediation project will depend on the selected contractor’s capacity and willingness to undertake both projects,” said Paula Kully, Sidney’s communication coordinator. “The Town is still working towards both projects happening concurrently.”

Collins said in an “ideal world” crews would complete remediation of the dam at the same time as the pond cleanup but it “remains to be seen if that is in the cards.”

Collins said he is “cautiously optimistic that the right decision will be made by all parties.”

Coun. Peter Wainwright said last month that Sidney would approach the contractors chosen by the federal government to determine whether they can do the dam concurrently. “It’s not going to be safe to have two different contractors [on site],” he said. “So if the contractor that wins the tender is willing to do the work for the Town, great. Then we will be looking to get that underway. If not, then I’m afraid we will have to put off the dam remediation to next year.”

RELATED: Federal government tenders remediation of Sidney’s Reay Creek pond

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

Looking at the bigger picture, Collins said neighbours welcome the federal government’s decision.

“The residents of the Kelset Creek (Reay Creek) neighbourhood are extremely happy at the contract award,” he said. “We see this as the culmination of many years of effort in bringing to light the abuse of this waterway and finally fixing the problem.”

Workers will remove an estimated 3,900 cubic-metres of sediments with elevated levels of metals from the pond, diverting the creek around the pond area to excavate the sediments, then backfilling it. An approved facility will receive the sediments for treatment and disposal. This year’s work will remove about seven times the volume of sediments as work completed last summer during the first phase of the remediation work. Environmental professionals will also transfer any fish from the pond.

Marc Garneau, federal minister of transportation, said in a release that cleaning up the pond shows the government’s environmental commitment. “Cleaning up the pond will reduce threats to the pond ecosystem and the food web, in addition to providing a healthier home for cutthroat trout and coho salmon,” he said.

Anita Anand, federal minister of public services and procurement, said in a release remediating the pollution caused by past actions represents an “important part” in ensuring future uses of this space for the community.

“By providing procurement and project management services for the second phase of this remediation project, Public Services and Procurement Canada is supporting this cleanup work safely while minimizing impacts to the environment and the local community,” she said.

According to a letter sent to residents by Sidney, project working hours will run Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The work will see crews construct a fence around the pond, adjoining park area and part of Wesbrook Drive. Crews will cut down vegetation in some upland areas, including a number of trees, for safety and access reasons.

Residents will still have full access to the trail that leads downstream from the pond, according to the letter. “After the remediation work, the pond will be restored. The upland areas, cleared for the work, will be restored with native plants and trees,” it reads.

The public heard last month that Transport Canada will follow the municipality’s tree preservation bylaw, which requires the planting of two trees for every tree removed. “Town staff and Transport Canada will continue to work together to try to retain as many trees as possible during the Reay Creek Pond Remediation project,” reads a staff report.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Saanich Peninsula

Just Posted

While recovering several items reported stolen from the set of a Netflix movie in early April, West Shore RCMP also seized drugs and drug trafficking items from a Colwood residence last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Electronics, credit cards taken from Neflix set found in Colwood home

West Shore RCMP seize stolen items, drugs, trafficking materials

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Sooke teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

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

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read