Victoria’s Inner Harbour was listed as B.C.’s most polluted coastal waterway in the Vital Signs report, from the Victoria Foundation. (James MacKenzie/News Staff)

Victoria’s Inner Harbour most polluted waterway in B.C.

High levels of contaminants like lead, mercury and PCBs contribute to problem

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the most polluted coastal waterway in all of B.C., according to stats gleaned from the city’s annual Vital Signs report.

Pollutants can come from a variety of sources including water discharge, road run-off, shipping and construction. However, according to Transport Canada, the largest contributor has been the industrial activity in the area.

“There has been a long history of industrial activity in Victoria Harbour, and that the major pollutants of concern are those that are persistent and don’t degrade easily in the environment,” Transport Canada senior communications advisor Annie Joannette saidin an email.

“The biggest contributors to pollution in the harbour have been historical industrial activity, such as paint factories and coal gasification plants,” she added.

READ MORE: Claremont students bring marine life back to Victoria International Marina

The resulting contaminants include metals such as copper, lead and zinc, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Dioxins and furans.

Since the 1990s, Transport Canada has been trying to remediate the pollutants and their ensuing complications with efforts that include environmental testing programs for sediments and seafood tissues, co-ordinating stormwater source control activities, and most recently a $60 million iinvestment for contaminated sites within the Harbour.

In 2016, 290,000 tonnes of contaminated soil were removed in the Rock Bay Area and recently, Transport Canada announced they will spend over $17 million to remove and replace contaminated soil at Laurel Point Park.

READ MORE: Transport Canada announces $17M for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Locally, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) is also doing its best to stay green, undergoing several audits per year from third party organizations, including the Clean Marine BC Program and the Green Marine Environmental Program.

Al-Nashir Charania, GVHA environmental projects manager, said in 2018 the authority scored 5/5 in several categories, including spill prevention and community impact.

“On a daily, monthly and annual basis we do what we can to clean up the harbour,” Charania said, pointing to the annual harbour cleanup with VicPD. “Annually we work with the VicPD in a harbour clean up… “Every year we tend to gather over half a tonne of garbage, this year we collected two tires in the harbour.”

On a monthly basis, Charania added boats go out to skim the water for garbage, and on a daily basis the GVHA participates in waste collection and management in all their facilities and offer clean pump-out facilities for all the boats in the harbour.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of VictoriaInner Harbour

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

Just Posted

Scarlet fever reported at Victoria elementary school

Parents advised to look for symptoms of ‘strawberry tongue’ and rash

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

North Saanich’s Deep Cove Market up for sale for almost $1.8 million

Long-time owner Rosemary Scott hopes the public will understand her decision

Council approve temporary storage to extend life of Oak Bay Fire Hall

It’s cute, it’s iconic, but the picturesque Oak Bay Fire Hall is… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read