Sidney, BC. The Town of Sidney has recently learned that the Reay Creek Pond contamination remediation project will not be completed in its entirety this year. Rather, Transport Canada will take a multi-phase approach to the project that will see remediation on another section of Reay Creek, at the Victoria Airport, move forward this year in preparation for cleanup of the pond further downstream.
Reay Creek Pond is classified as a Class 1 contaminated site with a “High Priority for Action”. The Pond contains high levels of heavy metal contamination including chromium, cadmium, zinc and lead. It was determined that these contaminants resulted from upstream industrial activities on the airport lands, which was operated by Transport Canada prior to being taken over by the Victoria Airport Authority.
The remediation of the pond entails the removal of approximately 3,500 cubic meters of contaminated sediments, disposal of this material at an appropriate facility, and restoration of the pond.
Upon review of the complex Reay Creek Pond remediation project, Transport Canada determined that to ensure construction impacts on marine life were limited, work needed to begin and be completed during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) timing window of June 15 and September 15. This window is a DFO mitigation measure to time any work that is in or around water to protect fish, including their eggs, juveniles, spawning adults and/or the organisms upon which they feed. Given the time required to complete all the necessary preparatory work to start this remediation project, Transport Canada has since determined work cannot be completed in time for this phase of the project to be done in 2019, while the smaller, less complex project at the Airport can.
This restructuring of the project provides the Town with sufficient time to proceed this fall with community engagement regarding whether or not the existing dam structure should be retained, as well as determining what additional park improvements might be deemed desirable by residents. With this consultation complete, it is potentially possible that all of the works (i.e. pond remediation, re-construction of dam/or dam removal and park landscaping) could happen concurrently.
Transport Canada will continue to pursue remediating the remaining area of the Reay Creek Pond in the future, while the Town of Sidney is committed to working with Transport Canada to ensure the timely completion of the remediation project.