A river advocate applauds the quick response of Saanich staff after two oil spills in just over a week threatened the Colquitz River. Oil was spotted spilling into the river near Tillicum Centre on Friday morning and Saanich crews were quick to respond.
Early on May 1, the District received reports of an oil spill near the fish fence in Cuthbert Holmes Park, confirmed Saanich spokesperson Kelsie McLeod.
Crews installed booms in the water to absorb the oil before investigating the source of the spill, she explained.
Colquitz River advocate and Salmon in the City volunteer Dorothy Chambers learned of the spill on Friday morning and rushed down to the fish fence.
Chambers said there was another oil spill in the same river just over a week ago. On April 22, she was walking near Portage Inlet and spotted the slick. She reported it and a Saanich crew arrived shortly after.
She’s grateful to the Saanich crews for their quick response to both spills. The Colquitz River is home to a variety of wildlife, including salmon, otters and migratory birds, she said, adding that oil spills can be deadly even if they’re just a thin skim on the water.
Spills like these are a reminder of what wildlife face while travelling through rivers in urban areas, Chambers said. She hopes that by spreading the word and bringing “community awareness” to oil spills, residents will know what to look for when it comes to river contamination.
“If you see it or smell it and it doesn’t belong in the river, report it,” Chambers said.
To report an oil spill or contamination, Chambers recommends calling Emergency Management British Columbia at 1-800-663-3456 and asking for a Dangerous Goods Incident Report file number in case there’s a need to call back. Reports can also be made to Report All Polluters and Poachers at 1-877-952-7277.