Water in the Colquitz River system turned brown Thursday, May 2 following a spill of warm, sediment-rich water. (Submitted)

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

It remains uncertain whether a Saanich non-profit had the necessary permits to perform work responsible for a spill into a local salmon-bearing river already facing various strains.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is investigating whether the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific (HCP) had the “appropriate permits” under the Water Sustainability Act to remove a beaver dam on Thursday, May 2.

“The ministry continues to investigate,” said Dawn Makarowski, public affairs officer, with the Ministry. “It is difficult to determine when it will be complete.”

RELATED: Provincial government investigates Horticultural Centre of the Pacific in Saanich over water spill

Various public and private authorities have deemed the removal of the dam responsible for triggering a spill of warm, sediment-rich water into the Colquitz River from a weir part and parcel of the HCP.

Deborah Donahue, HCP’s general manager, said in an email to the Saanich News earlier this month that the centre performed what she called “regular maintenance of the weir,” including “removing the debris to keep the waterway clear and allow the weir to do its job and the fish to make it upstream.”

Donahue did not respond to questions about whether HCP had permission to perform the work.

Ian Bruce, executive director of the Peninsula Streams Society, said he witnessed the river turn “chocolate brown” on Thursday, May 2. Students from Royal Oak middle school were releasing Coho fry into the river at the Wilkinson Road and Lindsay Avenue when the level of the river suddenly rose four inches in height, said Bruce, whose organization hosted the students.

“The clear, slow moving water became chocolate brown with sediment, and began rushing by,” he said. Its temperature rose from 10.8 degree Celsius to 18.5 degree Celsius, while the level of dissolved oxygen dropped by more than half, he added.

Bruce said the spill could lead to the failure of future salmon runs.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VicPD catches impaired driver near elementary school

Citizens alerted police to driver near James Bay Community School

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

Car crash at Quadra and Finalyson Streets affects Saturday traffic

VicPD and the Victoria Fire Department responded

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read