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.

Just Posted

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Boom & Bust: a history of the resilient women of Telegraph Cove

Author spends four years tracking down women to write about their experiences.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sees delays in expansion

Rising construction costs prompt AGGV to look at different design and funding options

Tofino douses Atleo Air firefighting heroes with support

Community says thanks after chopper volunteers extinguish remote brush fire

Mitchell’s Musings: Time flies faster in new millenium

Like Steve Miller before him, columnist feels time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read