The Town of Sidney recently learned that the Reay Creek Pond contamination remediation project will not be fully completed this year.
The pond which is classified as a Class 1 contaminated site, with a “High Priority for Action,” will be remediated by Transport Canada (TC) in a step-by-step approach.
The first stage of the process is for Transport Canada to remediate an upstream section of Reay Creek, at Victoria airport, before commencing cleanup of the pond further downstream.
The pond contains high levels of heavy metal contamination including chromium, cadmium, zinc and lead. It was determined that these contaminants resulted from decades of industrial activities at the airport, which was operated by Transport Canada, before being taken over by the Victoria Airport Authority.
Approximately 3,500 cubic meters of contaminated sediments need to be removed and disposed of at an appropriate facility, to return the pond back to its best.
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Upon review of the Reay Creek Pond remediation project, Transport Canada determined that to ensure impacts on marine life were limited, work needed to begin and be completed during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) timing window of June 15 and Sept. 15. This window is a DFO mitigation measure to time any work that is in or around water to protect fish, including their eggs, juvenile creatures, spawning adults and/or the organisms upon which they feed. Due to this upcoming window, Transport Canada determined work cannot be completed in time for this phase of the project to be done in 2019, while the smaller, less complex project at the airport can proceed as planned.
This restructuring of the project provides the Town of Sidney with the opportunity this fall to participate in community engagement about whether the existing dam structure should be retained, as well as broader park improvements residents might desire.
“With this consultation complete, it is potentially possible that all of the works (i.e. pond remediation, re-construction of dam/or dam removal and park landscaping) could happen concurrently,” Coun. Peter Wainwright wrote in a statement. “Transport Canada will continue to pursue remediating the remaining area of the Reay Creek Pond in the future, while the Town of Sidney is committed to working with Transport Canada to ensure the timely completion of the remediation project.”