April 28, 2011



ARESST: Interesting what the CRD "fast-facts" does not say about sewage treatment plant projects!

Original pdf (1.5 MB size): http://www.crd.bc.ca/documents/2011-apr-20-crd-fast-facts.pdf

ARESST: Excerpt from news below: "Victoria still dumps raw sewage in the ocean although it is planning an upgrade and Metro Vancouver is planning costly upgrades to bring two of its plants with primary treatment up to the secondary level." However, in actual report, sewage impacts are noted as low: "Wastewater discharges also occur in the Strait of Georgia/Juan de Fuca Strait; however, interaction with sockeye habitat is not expected to be significant...Limited or local influence on Strait of Georgia; existing sewage receives high dilution and duration of overlap with sockeye would be low". (page 43) This full report #12 is available for download - click here to download 2MB pdf as a zip file. Reporter Jeff Nagel may have got the sewage interpretation from Christianne Wilhemson of Georgia Strait Alliance?


Jeff Nagel
BC Local News
April 26, 2011 

Despite a burgeoning Lower Mainland population and an ongoing development boom, researchers have found no evidence that localized pollution or habitat damage is a major factor in the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon.

In fact, they argue habitat along the lower Fraser and in the Strait of Georgia has improved over the past two decades, thanks to tightened industrial, development and discharge regulations.

That's the core finding of a technical study commissioned by the Cohen Inquiry into the sockeye decline and led by Dr. Mark Johannes of Golder and Associates.

Researchers looked at population – which rose 150 per cent over the 1990 to 2010 study period – as well as impacts from farming, forestry, industry, sewage discharges, shipping traffic and river dredging and diking.

The heavier human footprint on southwestern B.C. through urbanization and other actions has not translated into more pollution in the receiving waters, they found.

"Contaminants in the Strait of Georgia show a general improvement over time, with decreases associated with effluent regulation and improved treatment in recent years," the study report said, pointing to better treatment of sewage by Metro Vancouver before it's released.

Construction that disturbs fish habitat is also better regulated, it said, resulting in net habitat gains in the Fraser estuary due to the duty of developers to enhance or replace damaged areas.

Juvenile sockeye swim through the lower river, its estuary and out into the Salish Sea before heading deeper into the Pacific Ocean.

During that transition period, they're sensitive to changes in water properties and levels of food, competitors and predators.

Migrating sockeye historically faced "moderate to severe" harm from human activities, the study noted.

"But these impacts have not been generally observed during the last two decades and importantly, these impacts have not been observed to coincide with the decline of Fraser River sockeye."

The authors noted that sockeye use the lower river only for a period of days while migrating.

They caution their conclusions regarding sockeye don't necessarily apply to other species in the river or offshore – particularly ones that spend more time in the area than sockeye.

There's still plenty of room for improvement on habitat protection and control of discharges, the report said.

Victoria still dumps raw sewage in the ocean although it is planning an upgrade and Metro Vancouver is planning costly upgrades to bring two of its plants with primary treatment up to the secondary level.

But the report warned climate change and diminishing space near the river and its tributaries is making it more challenging to achieve habitat gains that can compensate for losses.

The study is one of a series of 12 technical reports being prepared by the commission.

Much evidence to date suggests enough sockeye are hatching in the upriver spawning beds, growing into smolts and then migrating successfully down to the ocean.

If sockeye aren't vanishing in the lower river and the immediate marine waters, the search for a culprit will likely shift further offshore.

Christianne Wilhelmson, executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, agrees there have been gains – pulp mills, for example, dump much less dangerous toxins than they did a couple of decades ago.

But she doesn't yet discount the possibility cumulative local impacts are a factor causing the sockeye decline.

"It's the challenge of the inquiry of finding one smoking gun," Wilhelmson said. "Chances are it's death by a thousand cuts."

The Cohen commission was named after the collapse of the 2009 sockeye run, when just over a million fish returned, about a tenth the expected number. A huge return last year is thought by many experts to be an anomaly in a long-term decline.



Carla Wilson
Times Colonist
April 26, 2011
Letters: letters@timescolonist.com

Oak Bay's renowned gardens are becoming pesticide-free, with the municipality joining three other capital region councils in banning pesticide use.

"It is clearly what our residents wanted, and now that there is such a concern over pesticides, we felt it was necessary to update our bylaws," Oak Bay Coun. Nils Jensen said Monday.

Oak Bay's ban came into effect this month, joining Esquimalt, Victoria, and Saanich, which earlier passed their own bans. Fines can go up to $10,000.

Oak Bay is putting on an education program for residents, Jensen said. "I think it is going to be, in the long run, a good environmental decision."

Many residents wrote the municipality urging it to enact the bylaw, he said. The Canadian Cancer Society has also been advocating pesticide bans, citing health concerns.

"There are very effective natural ways to deal with weeds, but the odd weed here and there, we can put up with when we counterbalance that with the health benefits for our children. And for that matter, many people were concerned about their animals," Jensen said.

Greater Victoria gardeners are increasingly asking for environmentally friendly products and at the same time, organic produce and home-grown fruits and vegetables are growing in popularity, say garden centre representatives.

At Marigold Nursery Ltd. and Elk Lake Garden Centre, the amount of chemical pesticides for sale has diminished drastically in recent years in favour of environmentally friendly products. Another factor is that some once-common products were removed from the market several years ago, said Debbie Sherwood, Elk Lake store manager.

"There are alternatives that you can use," she said, citing Safer brand organic soaps to tackle certain insects as an example.

Ray Blouin, general manager at Marigold in Central Saanich, said most customers are aware of what the rules are in their own municipalities.

Although chemical pesticides are still on the market, about 80 per cent of products are organic and environmentally friendly, he said.

Sales have picked up for weeding tools, such as snippers and pullers, Blouin said. The switch from pesticides means more effort on the part of gardeners. "I think they are bending their backs a little more."

In Oak Bay, residents can safely dispose of their nowbanned pesticides by dropping them off at the public works yard on Elgin Road until June 30. The Hartland recycling depot accepts pesticides from residents living in the capital region.

Brochures describing the Oak Bay pesticide ban are being mailed with property tax notices, said Coun. Hazel Braithwaite. Council voted unanimously in favour of the pesticide ban bylaw.

The Capital Regional District is promoting pesticide-free gardening, and has suggestions for how to do it at its website -www.crd.bc.ca/gardening.

Among the suggestions:

- Keep weeds at bay by keeping your lawn healthy; mow high, water deeply and infrequently, aerate and overseed.
- Hand weed or use mulches.
- Remove insects by setting out traps, brushing them away, crushing by hand or with a forceful spray of water.
- Use low toxicity solutions, such as soap-based sprays.
- Grow plant varieties that are native and diseaseresistant.




Goldstream Gazette
April 26, 2011 

In a recent survey that asked whether they support the current Capital Regional District sewage treatment plan to locate a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, all four federal candidates answered “no.” None of the candidates thought the current CRD sewage plan should go ahead as it is now.

For West Shore residents, the current plan to build and operate a large sewage treatment plant at Esquimalt's McLoughlin Point might have significant consequences, because it is a CRD project and because the West Shore's future growth may mean that a sewage plant site so far away could actually be a problem.

It’s important that West Shore residents critically examine the CRD’s sewage treatment plans and ask the big question: Is this plan right for the West Shore?

John Newcomb



Victoria News (and in Saanich News as CRD sewage treatment plans deserve a re-examination)
April 27, 2011

In a recent survey that asked if they support the current CRD sewage treatment plan to locate the CRD’s sewage treatment at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, all four Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca candidates answered no. None agreed that the current plan should be implemented as it is.

Since this sewage plan depends on getting at least a $250-million federal subsidy (together with another $250 million provincially and $250 million from CRD taxpayers), it is vitally important that Greater Victoria residents critically examine the reasons for this total rejection by federal candidates and demand a better plan from the CRD directors.

John Newcomb