Hatchery’s water threatened

As with all environmental concerns there are technical details

As a growing community, we in Campbell River need to maintain a careful watch over the things we value the most.

Two of those valuable resources are threatened by a planned development near McIvor Lake. Our drinking water and the water that supplies Quinsam Hatchery may both be at risk.

A proposed soil remediation facility at Uplands Excavating could potentially contaminate the type 11A aquifer situated directly below the intended site. Because of the level of treatment proposed and the plan to store and use post-treated materials for fill in the gravel pit area, there exists a high probability of leachates making their way into the aquifer below, the same aquifer that feeds Cold Creek, the valuable source of Quinsam Hatchery’s groundwater supply.

According to maps supplied by Terrawest Environmental, the technical assessment consultants hired by Uplands Excavating, that same aquifer is contiguous with McIvor Lake, our source of drinking water.

As with all environmental concerns there are technical details. Simplified they distill down to this; the site is zoned Industrial 3 and the developer believes that is all he requires for the soil treatment.

However, because the treated soil will be used as fill in the existing sand and gravel pits we are of the opinion that this is a landfill and therefore the land needs to be classified as Industrial 4.

A public meeting is required to facilitate this change in land use. Also sections of the industrial waste management act state that landfills should not be located near class 1A and 11A aquifers.

With respect to the treatment site itself, the design and operational plan looks comprehensive, however the target treatment level is Industrial which allows for 100 times the level of residual contamination (chemicals still in the soil after treatment) of the target level designated as Agricultural, which is the least contaminate target level of treated soil.

It is this Industrial level treated soil that will be stored in the old gravel pit, with no liner, directly above the aquifer that feeds Cold Creek and is connected to McIvor Lake, the source of our drinking water.

So who can we contact to make sure our concerns are considered? According to the Hon. R. Neufeld, if the site is on private land, then the bylaws or zoning of a municipal or regional district will actually apply.

Since this business is within the City of Campbell River our local law makers should have the final say.

However, the process is now with the provincial government’s Ministry of Environment and letters to Minister Mary Polak as well as Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thompson, would also shine a light on the importance we attach to our water and fish resources.

For more information please contact the Campbell River Environmental Committee (CREC) at lowiea@telus.net or 250-287-3506.

Barry Peters,

Campbell River Environmental Committee