Sidney has started the process to renovate the dam at Reay Creek Pond in place, but it is not clear yet if the work would coincide with broader remediation efforts by Transport Canada. (Black Press File).

Sidney to renovate Reay Creek dam in place

Decision comes as the public hears concerns about potential cost over-runs

Sidney is going ahead with plans to renovate a local dam.

Council earlier this month voted unanimously to renovate Reay Creek Dam in place with councillors directing staff to immediately tender design of the dam within the existing budget of $600,000. Sidney will also apply for grants to help offset costs and engage the public about the work .

Sidney’s decision comes after it had received an engineering report that showed the feasibility of renovations and public input from area residents and the Peninsula Stream Society in favour of renovating the dam on Reay Creek, a fish bearing stream running through the industrial area east of the airport and Sidney before draining into Bazan Bay.

The federal government has classified the pond created by the dam as a Class 1 contaminated site with a high priority for action thanks to high levels of heavy metal contamination including chromium, cadmium, zinc and lead caused by industrial activity at the airport.

Citing the engineering report and public input, Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said the renovations of the dam would maintain the pond as a habitat for fish among other ecological benefits.

With this decision, Sidney opts against removing the dam erected some decades ago.

RELATED: Reay Creek pond remediation delayed to limit impacts on wildlife

“If we take the dam out, we have no idea of the negative consequences that could happen throughout that region and that entire ecosystem,” said Coun. Scott Garrnett.

But if council’s decision was unanimous, the public also heard concerns about what Coun. Terri O’Keeffee called “significant” cost escalations that could eventually come close to three-quarters of a million.

“The public needs to have a good idea of what this could potentially cost,” she said.

Coun. Chad Rintoul shared O’Keffee’s concerns about costs, but also noted that the tendering process will help answer questions about costs.

One unresolved question concerns the timing of the work.

Transport Canada had initially said that it would remediate Reay Creek pond in 2019, but has since announced that the work won’t happen this year. It has instead applied for funding to do the work in 2020.

It is also unclear whether Sidney will be able to piggy-back the renovation of the dam at the end of the remediation work by Transport Canada, which had previously denied responsibility for the contamination.

Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble said the town has told Transport Canada that it would like to see the remediation and the renovation happen within the same window. “We have said it on multiple occasions, but they have their views and perspectives as well,” he said.

At issue is how many times authorities would have to drain the pond to do the work. If done together, authorities would have to drain the pond only once, thereby minimizing the potential harm to the local eco-system.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

$775-million wastewater project on track to be completed on time, within new budget

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins praises public education aspect of project

Downtown Victoria Green Party office faces break-in

Racelle Kooy’s office saw thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen

West Shore RCMP bust seizes $50,000 worth of drugs

More than 300 grams of cocaine and crack-cocaine seized in Victoria

Downtown Victoria tea shop switches to plastic tea bags

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee says the transition is temporary

Rickter Scale: A novel approach to balancing the books

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

YouTube video of Revelstoke grizzly bear goes viral

Why did the grizzly bear cross the railway tracks?

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Woman charged with numerous drug offenses stemming from a raid earlier this year at Island property

Police make arrest on an outstanding warrant dating back to January

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

COLUMN: Halloween shouldn’t be a purity test

The holiday is a time of pretending and fun

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Most Read