Lindsay Critchley holds the Secchi disk she lowered off her property to check the Portage Inlet’s turbidity. (Swikar Oli/News staff)

View Royal residents, council concerned about runoff in Portage Inlet

View Royal council wants more responsibility from upstream neighbours, development

View Royal council resolved to send letters to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the mayor of Saanich expressing concerns and asking for information and responsibility in regard to mud washing into the Portage Inlet from runoff and development.

Several people came to View Royal’s council meeting Tuesday dissatisfied with what they called the lack of any legal responsibility for the issue and asked council to be proactive.

“We need to talk to all the parties involved and find out what’s going on and see what we can do,” Mayor David Screech told Black Press after the meeting.

READ MORE: Construction company not subject of investigation after run-off into Saanich river

Further studies are needed to see what can be done and what damage has already been done. “Then we can go on from there,” Screech added.

The inlet is home to salmon and cutthroat trout and is close to a federally protected bird sanctuary.

Excess silt has smothered the native oysters on artificial reefs said Yogi Carolsfeld. Carolsfeld, a steward and educator on aquatic life in the inlet and executive director of World Fisheries Trust, installed the artificial reefs. He noted the reefs were doing well for two years but last year he discovered they were being covered by mud.

The inlet naturally has a high sediment load, but lately it’s been “quite a bit more than was normal,” Carolsfeld said.

Lately, he’s discovered both silt and topsoil deposits. The topsoil is flowing in from Hospital Creek, while the silt is coming due to the construction of the Mackenzie Interchange, he said.

A few people in attendance, including Coun. John Rogers, noted the topsoil runoff could be caused by the recent clear-cutting of a forest on a private property upstream in Saanich. The lack of trees paired with two extreme rain events in January contributed to the water’s significant turbidity.

Climate change producing rarer weather events means the need for collective action is all the more pressing, noted Rogers.

Lindsay Critchley lowered a Secchi disk – used to measure the depth of disappearance – off her dock on the Portage Inlet to check the water’s turbidity. In clear water the disk can be seen dozens of feet below water. She told council the disk reached about four inches before disappearing, indicating the mark she made on the line.

Dorothy Chambers, who Rogers credits for bringing the issue to council’s attention, held a meeting by the Colquitz River on January 24. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, Rogers and Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming’s representatives were all present.

ALSO READ: Contractor sends raw sewage onto Saanich streets

“Thank goodness for Dorothy Chambers, who’s been such a diligent and dedicated watchdog,” Rogers said. “She pulled us all together.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: Search and rescue organization needs to be examined

No organization should be immune to scrutiny

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in Victoria

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

Most Read