Transport Minister Marc Garneau

Transport Minister Marc Garneau

Remediation of Rock Bay site complete

After more than a decade, one of the largest remediation projects in the province is finally complete.

After more than a decade, one of the largest remediation projects in the province is finally complete.

Earlier this week, Transport Canada announced the completion of the remediation of the Rock Bay site at the corner of Pembroke and Shore streets in Victoria after 13 years.

“We’ve come a long way to improving the life for people living in Victoria,” said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. “It has environmental affects that went well beyond this particular location…this is a very significant moment.”

The Rock Bay site and adjacent property owned by the B.C. Hydro Power Authority was once the location of a former coal gasification plant that operated from the 1860s to the early 1950s. The gas production resulted in contamination to the site’s soil, groundwater and harbour sediments with hydrocarbons, metals and other substances.

During phases one and two of the remediation, which began in 2004, a majority of the site was remediated, including 50,300 tonnes of hazardous waste soils, 74,100 tonnes of non-hazardous waste soils and 78,500 tonnes of contaminated soils above commercial land use levels. Approximately 250 tonnes of hazardous waste were removed in 2009 at two sediment hotspots at Barclay Point, at the head of the site.

The final stage, which began in spring 2014 and was completed earlier this year, involved draining the bay and digging more then 10 metres below ground surface. Crews removed 88,000 tonnes of contaminated soil and sediment from the remaining uplands and the sediments in the bay itself.

“The bay looks much better now and we’ve removed all that contamination,” said project lead Ian Chatwell.

They’ve also installed a number of features that will provide better habitat to wildlife. A blue heron has returned to the site’s planting beds and Chatwell hopes the remediation will bring crabs, small fish, sea otters and other wildlife back to the area.

The site, which was once the possible site for a sewage treatment centre to serve Greater Victoria, will be purchased by the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation.

Esquimalt Nation Chief Andy Thomas said there are currently no plans for the site after they take possession, which will likely be in December.

“For us to be able to acquire the property opens a big future for our next generations . . . This is something new for us. It’s exciting,” he said.

It cost more than $50 million to remediate the site, which was funded by B.C. Hydro and the federal government’s contaminated sites action plan, which provides funding to assess and remediate federal contaminated sites.

The government has since remediated roughly 13,000 sites, but thousands still remain across the country.

Garneau reaffirmed the federal government is committed to cleaning up the remaining sites over the years.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Farm Fresh website makes it easy to connect with local farmers. (Courtesy Farm Fresh)
Island Farm Fresh Guide lets residents explore local product

Guide appears in this week’s edition of Black Press Media newspapers from Duncan to Victoria

Sooke’s Whiffin Spit in a blaze of glory. (Pete Knight photo)
Whiffin Spit in a blaze of glory. Transition Sooke is calling on the municipality to slow its growth. The group came up with a growth scenario proposal for the Official Community Plan (OCP) which looks different to than the survey scenarios that emerged from the district. (Pete Knight photo)
Transition Sooke calls for slower growth rate

Group submits alternate growth scenario for Official Community Plan review

Royal Bay Beach Park. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood pitches $100 property tax hike

Parks, trails, and sewer maintenance on the rise

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A man sustained burns to his body near this spot around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13 in Courtenay. The fire was left of the pathway. The Station youth housing facility and city public works yard are to the right of the trail. Photo by Terry Farrell
Man catches fire sleeping while outdoors in downtown Courtenay

Firefighters say man still burning when they arrived after he fell asleep next to his fire

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Most Read