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Reay Creek Pond Remediation

Latest Updates

November 2020

  • November 9, 2020
    • The Town of Sidney is pleased to announce substantial completion of the Reay Creek Dam Renovation Project. The dam along and the fish ladder are in place for the upcoming salmon spawning season.
    • Transport Canada's pond remediation project is also substantially complete. Water is flowing through the pond and over the dam as designed.
    • In the near future, handrails and signage will be installed to improve public safety in the area.
    • In the winter/spring of 2021, the Town will undertake a public engagement process for park enhancements.
    • The public has an opportunity to learn more about the process of this project during the Mayor’s next Virtual Town Hall scheduled for Wednesday, November 25, beginning at 6:00 pm. Details can be found on the Town's Virtual Town Hall page.

September 2020

  • September 24 - Update on the Town's Reay Creek Dam Renovation Project
    • The Town’s contractor, QM Environmental, is working to complete the remediation of the Reay Creek Dam Upgrades Project. This work, as well as the pond remediation work, involves the use of water pumps, generators, excavators and trucks that produce some noise. In an effort to complete the work within a timeframe that protects fish health, QM is working hard to compress the schedule. As such, they will be working on Sundays until the Reay Creek Dam project is complete.
    • Due to the significant rainfall event this week, QM will also have pumps running 24 hours a day for 5-7 days to manage the water. This is an emergency situation that requires this level of effort. QM will do what they can to dampen the noise generated by these pumps.
    • The Town thanks residents and businesses in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
    • If you have questions about the dam renovation project, please contact the Town's Engineering Department at engineeringservices@sidney.ca or call 250-656-4502.

  • September 15 - Update on the Town's Reay Creek Dam Renovation Project
    • The Town’s contractor, QM Environmental, has encountered an unforeseen issue associated with the renovation of the Reay Creek Dam. The issue involves challenging geotechnical conditions for the sheet piling work adjacent to the proposed fishway. Accordingly, the Town’s consultants – KWL and Thurber Engineering - have initiated the design of an alternative option for the fishway component of the dam.

  • September 4 - Update on Transport Canada's ḰELSET (Reay) Creek Pond Remediation Project
    • Click here to view Transport Canada's Project Information Poster.
    • Transport Canada reports that site preparation for the ḰELSET (Reay) Creek Pond Remediation Project has been underway since early August. This work has included mobilizing the project office facilities and constructing a soil management area on the Victoria Airport, adjacent to Canora Road. In the park area, access routes have been cleared and a water treatment plant has been placed. The bypass pipe to re-route the flow of ḰELSET (Reay) Creek around the pond is complete and in operation. Fish salvage and release operations are ongoing and will continue during the draining of the pond. Excavation of contaminated sediment commenced on September 1 and will continue for approximately 2-3 weeks. The floor of the pond will be backfilled and some planting benches will be constructed, starting immediately after the excavation work.
    • The trail that leads downstream from the pond will still be accessible while work is being done.
    • Project working hours will be:
      Monday - Friday, from 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
      Saturdays, from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
    • If you have any questions about the pond remediation project, please email Transport Canada at KELSETreaycreek-ruisseauKELSETreay@tc.gc.ca or call 1-604-666-2528.
  • September 4 - Update on the Town's Reay Creek Dam Renovation Project
    • The Town has signed a contract with QM Environmental for the renovation of Reay Creek Dam, which will take place in conjunction with Transport Canada's ḰELSET (Reay) Creek Pond Remediation Project. Work on the dam is expected to take place from early September to mid-October 2020.


Previous Updates

  • January 2020
    Public Open House 

    The Town of Sidney hosted a Public Open House regarding the progress of the Reay Creek Dam Project on January 30, 2020 from 6 - 8 pm at Greenglade Community Centre. You can find the information boards from the Town of Sidney and Transport Canada here:


Reay Creek Technical Working Group Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date Minutes
September 4, 2015
Terms of Reference
May 11, 2016
November 3, 2016 Minutes
November 30, 2017 Minutes
June 22, 2018 Minutes
November 21, 2019 Minutes


Background Information

Reay Creek was named for brothers William and Charles Reay, who settled on an acreage in the area in 1875.  The watershed for the creek extends across what is now Victoria Airport, to the Cresswell area of North Saanich, on the north slope of Mount Newton.  In the 1950’s a local farmer installed a dam on the creek to create Reay Creek Pond, and the pond was used for commercial duck production.  In the 1980’s the Town of Sidney obtained the land where Reay Creek Pond is situated, and created a dedicated park.

In 2013 the Town hired Thurber Engineering to perform a geotechnical investigation of the Reay Creek Dam. The investigation recommended that the dam be upgraded to meet current seismic design standards, and to be brought in compliance with the BC Dam Safety Guidelines.  The problem with performing remedial work on the dam became apparent when suspicions arose of contaminated sediments in the pond behind the dam.  In 2015 the Town hired environmental consultant SLR Consulting to collect and analyse samples of sediment from Reay Creek Pond.  The samples were taken on January 15, 2015 and the report was completed in May 2015.  Findings indicate high levels of some metals, including cadmium, zinc, chromium and lead.  This is consistent with other sampling work in the area by Peninsula Streams and the Capital Regional District.

In 2015 the Town created the Technical Working Group, a group of stakeholders (including Victoria Airport Authority, District of North Saanich, Capital Regional District, Canada Department of Fisheries & Oceans, BC Ministry of Environment) to determine how best to clean up the pond area. This group provides oversight to the development of an action plan and reviews technical studies as they are completed.

In October 2016, Transport Canada completed the classification of Reay Creek pond under the federal Aquatic Sites Classification System. The site is classified as Class 1, which is “High Priority for Action”. The site is now included in Transport Canada’s list of contaminated sites, which is a necessary prerequisite for Transport Canada to provide funding for cleanup or remediation.

Transport Canada completed remediation of Reay Creek (now referred to as ḰELSET (Reay) Creek by Transport Canada) on the Victoria International Airport lands in 2019. Transport Canada is planning (subject to budget approval) to remove contaminated material from the Reay Creek Pond in 2020. This work will include contamination removal up to the natural boundary of pond, which is mostly dictated by level of the dam’s spillway. There will be approximately 3000 cubic meters of material removed from the pond, which is much more than the 300 cubic meters that were removed from the airport lands.

Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) began extensive improvements of Reay Creek on airport lands in 2012 with the creation of a 200-metre-long diversion channel to bypass the historically contaminated area of the creek channel. The diversion channel incorporates features designed to reduce erosion, provide habitat diversity and provide favourable spawning conditions for resident fish species. In 2017, VAA constructed the Reay Creek Detention Pond to slow the flow of the creek into the Town of Sidney and to allow for the settlement of sediments as they run off airport land. This project has slowed stream flows and reduced erosion downstream of the airport.

VAA has a surface water quality monitoring program in place for the creeks on airport lands, and has several control structures and emergency response plans for the creeks in the event of spills on airport lands.

The Town of Sidney has engaged a design consultant to undertake design work for renovations to the Reay Creek Dam.