Julian Anderson, lead steward with Friends of Cuthbert Holmes Park, stands inside Cuthbert Holmes Park near Highway 1, along which the province plans to build a 500-metre highway berm, as part of the McKenzie Interchange Project.

Video suggests new McKenzie Interchange berm has already breached a mandated setback

Video shows project sediment fence within mandated setback of Colquitz River

Saanich resident Julian Anderson has been relentless in his advocacy to protect Cuthbert Holmes Park from damage by the $85 million McKenzie Interchange project, and he’s at it again.

This time the park steward and activist has posted a brief video of a silt fence erected by contractors. In the video posted Nov. 12, Anderson documented himself measuring the distance from the fence to the water, about 28 metres, at least two shy of the mandated 30-metre setback recently agreed upon by Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure representatives at Saanich council.

The distance will be even less when you consider the measuring tape wasn’t completely straight and that the river has yet to hit its high water mark, Anderson notes.

“Two or three metres may not seem like much, but every bit helps when you are protecting a river,” Anderson said.

Aside from the impacts on the sensitive ecosystem of the Colquitz River, and an extended 2019 completion date, the McKenzie Interchange project is moving along fairly smoothly.

However, this is the latest in a series of bigger offences by project contractors (Phase 2 is now underway by Westpro, Phase 1 was Jacob Bros.) that included raw sewage flowing into the street, illegally tying into Saanich’s stormwater system and uncontrolled sediment run off into the Colquitz during salmon spawning season.

It’s also caught the attention of Saanich Parks, who’ve since made a site visit, though third-party environmental monitoring is the responsibility of Westpro-hired Corvidea Environmental Consulting while MOTI-contracted Golder Associates Ltd. is the environmental auditor for the project.

A MOTI spokesperson said they will be surveying a 30-metre offset from the surveyed high water mark and placing a new row of temporary silt fencing.

“The reason we care about the 30 meters is it was a condition of council approval,” said Eva Riccius, senior parks manager for Saanich.

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