Closure plan now creating sediment in creek

Water turbidity is known to interfere with the ability of young salmon and other fish to survive.

Closure plan now creating sediment in creek

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Strategy is working at cross-purposes with the Mill Bay and Area Conservation Society.

Over the past 40 years the Mill Bay and Area Conservation Society has moved coho salmon past a few impassible waterfalls into Lower Shawnigan Creek. The fish then swim up the creek, into Shawnigan Lake and then into the lake’s inflowing creeks such as Upper Shawnigan Creek where they spawn. The eggs hatch and after one or two years the young salmon return to the ocean. This effort has helped to maintain the coho population in the Salish Sea.

Recently, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has approved the final closure plan for the contaminated soil landfill on Lot 23, off Stebbings Road, Shawnigan Lake. The final closure plan now allows the named parties to make additional monies since plan includes the dumping of another 70,000 tonnes of fill onto the site. Strangely, during the development of the plan, the engineering firm that developed the final closure plan was owed approximately $100,000 by the owners of the site and it is this same engineering firm that is now the qualified professionals overseeing the final closure plan. Curiouser and curiouser as Alice would have said.

Fill began to be dumped onto Lot 23, with Ministry approval, just before Christmas. The Upper Shawnigan Creek runs through Lot 23 with the run-off from the contaminated landfill entering Shawnigan Creek via several routes. Dumping of fill has just commenced. I note that this now is the rainy season. The dumped fill is uncovered with the rains now flooding sediment into Upper Shawnigan Creek and from there into Shawnigan Lake. Water turbidity is well known to interfere with the ability of young salmon and other fish to survive.

The contaminated fill dump site is now owned by the Crown due to unpaid property taxes. We now have our government, taxed with looking after the interests of the citizenry, promoting harm to fish, particularly the iconic salmon. Since our government is not taking care of the viability of our fish populations, the Shawnigan Basin Society has undertaken the task to monitor changes in turbidity and other parameters of Upper Shawnigan Creek.

It is time to change the name of the Ministry since it is too Orwellian to continue to call it the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Bernhard Juurlink

Mill Bay

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