The idea of putting Greater Victoria’s sewage sludge or bio-solids on forestry lands did not sit well with Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks.
The Capital Regional District (CRD) directors at a meeting on October 28, voted to maintain and uphold the sewage bio-solid ban. The 2011 ban states that no bio-solids would be sprayed or applied to land. CRD staff was asking the board to consider allowing sludge to be applied to forestry lands for silviculture uses, reclamation in mines, forage crops and landscaping applications.
“It was contentious issue,” said Hicks. “The CRD looked at rescinding the policy of putting bio-solids/sludge on land to change it to say they could put it on forestry land. I pointed out that the only forestry land in the CRD was in the Juan de Fuca.”
Hicks stated that the forestry lands are used for mushroom harvesting (among other things like hunting), which is just as much agriculture as growing strawberries. He said if it is not allowed on farm land it shouldn’t be allowed on forestry land. Hicks said the chiefs from the T’Sou-ke and the Pacheedaht bands were not in favour of bio-solids on lands they control. The Pacheedaht First Nation partners with Queesto Community Forest on TFL 61 and that is where the sludge would likely go.
“It’s not going to happen in the JdF,” said Hicks.
Hicks stated Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne was also on side with maintaining the ban.