Concerns over runoff from McKenzie interchange construction into Colquitz River


WATCH: A concrete-coloured substance was seen pouring into the Colquitz River, a runoff from construction. There are concerns the spill could be detrimental to wildlife. 

It may be hard to see, but beneath the surface of the Colquitz River, there are several species of fish that call the water home. But it’s a habitat Dorothy Chambers believes was recently polluted with runoff from construction.

“It was coming down from the bank,” said Chambers Thursday.

When she followed the trail left by the runoff last week, she found crews drilling for the Mckenzie interchange construction project that neighbours a protected Saanich park.

Chambers took photos of the grey, watery substance pouring from the site and spilling into the river. It’s a spill that happened despite sediment fences. She feared it was cement.

Some of that same concrete-coloured substance was visible through the grass on parkland Thursday.

There are concerns the spill could be fatal to the fish. 

“I don’t know how much [was] poured into the river before I got here,” Chambers aid. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation insists the water has not been contaminated:

“There was no cement found mixed in with the water. It was natural clay, mixed with water, that hardened when it dried,” said the ministry on Thursday.

The ministry added “it’s unlikely the native clay will have any impact on the habitat but will still be taking steps to ensure whatever remains is captured.”

Chambers hopes the steps won’t come too late.

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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