This file photo shows a warning posted in connection to now-cleared water quality issues at Langford Lake. The Vancouver Island Health Authority has stopped monitoring water quality at public beaches and is requesting that municipalities take over the sampling. (Black Press file photo)

Island Health no longer testing water at popular Vancouver Island beaches

Municipalities were warned last summer but some have yet to take on the responsibility

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has stopped monitoring water quality at public beaches and is requesting municipalities take over sampling.

The health authority informed municipalities on the Island about the impending shift of responsibility last summer. Some took on the task right away, while others are still taking their time, said Joanne Lum, a senior environmental health officer with Island Health. Sampling bottles and requisition forms were made available for the municipalities but it’s a matter of someone picking them up and taking on the water sampling, she said.

Areas with historically bad water quality have been quicker to take on the sampling, Lum noted. For example, Elk/Beaver Lake water quality testing has been taken on by the Capital Regional District as the region has had issues in the past.

The District of Saanich is still in the process of taking on the water sampling at beaches in the district, she said.

READ ALSO: CRD hosts public forum to discuss water quality at Elk/Beaver Lake

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for Saanich, noted health advisory signs have been posted at the regional beaches to let beach-goers know that the water quality is no longer being monitored by Island Health.

According to McLeod, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes has also sent a letter to the CRD board asking them to consider providing water sampling services for all regional beaches.

Lum pointed out that Island Health opted to discontinue the routine sampling of water quality at local beaches because no other health authorities in B.C. were still doing it. The responsibility is being shifted to the municipalities so that Island Health can focus more on the other services it offers.

Island Health will still be involved in the water testing process and will provide guidance where needed, Lum explained, but the municipalities will need to collect the water samples. Island Health will also continue to pay for the lab services, analyze the results, post the results of the labs on the website and make recommendations about safety advisories.

READ ALSO: CRD looks to deal with deteriorating water quality of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich

Island Health acknowledges that this is a transition year and that the seasonal water sampling will be lacking in some municipalities, said Lum. The health authority has been helping where they can — especially for large events such as Swim Fest, which took place in Banfield Park on July 21. Water testing hadn’t been started there, she explained, so Island Health tested the water on a tight deadline to have the results available in time for the event.

The health authority will continue to work in partnership with the municipalities that didn’t take on the water sampling this year so that they are prepared for next summer. If residents are concerned about water quality at a specific beach, they can voice their concerns to their municipality or to Island Health.

Information about water quality is still available on the Island Health website.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Camp Yellow Dog provides a structured home away from home

Pampered pooches enjoy the royal retreatment, but keep active, too

One piper piping during the pandemic

Tribute to health care workers reaches the 100th performance

Grads’ gratification goes beyond words for prom

Thankful Chemainus Secondary class enjoys a celebratory evening

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to Saltair

Only 40 tickets available so get them soon if you’re interested

Board of Education moves district closure week to March 22-26

Change aligns Cowichan Valley School District dates with others around the province

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read