Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Paddle? Not.

After December turned into a near-complete write-off for paddling, what with biting cold wind storms, record snow storms and too much holiday schmoozing, we had hopes for a return to the water this weekend. But nature wasn't done with us yet, as this week we've had record rain falls which combined with the fast-melting snow pack in the hills to play havoc by flooding out roads and houses.
They've also had an unexpected consequence as noted by this story (and photo below) from the Victoria Times-Colonist.
It seems that Victoria's old sewage and storm water system is designed to overflow onto beaches when it reaches capacity. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often. But one has to wonder who thought that this was a good design concept to begin with. Anyway, the Vancouver Island Health Authority has declared that the beaches in the Victoria area currently pose a health risk to swimmers and bathers, and presumably also kayakers.
The state of Victoria's sewage system has long been a thorny issue for the region. Currently, Victoria has no sewage treatment facilities; our sewage is delivered untreated into the ocean from two sewer outfalls each about 1 km long. Some argue that the ocean currents naturally diffuse the sewage so as to be of no consequence, while others (such as Mr. Floatie) argue that it's shameful that a modern city should be dumping 120,000 cubic metres of raw human waste into the local environment every day. Currently, the province and the city have finally decided that the status quo is not acceptable and are in the planning process to construct the long-debated sewage treatment plant. Maybe in my lifetime they'll actually build the damn thing. But I digress.
So with Richard away, Paula organizing an important family celebration for this weekend, and this morning's weather looking cloudy and rainy, there's no paddle today. Nevermind that all our launch points are literally crappy.
Besides, Louise and I stayed up last night watching the great Simon Pegg series Spaced. We stayed up way too late and this morning we are in much the same condition as our beaches: pooped.

1 comment:

  1. The big problem with a sewage treatment plant is that they're talking about building it in the Haro Woods and pumping out at Queen Alexandra's Solarium for kids, near Arbutus Cove. That's good kayaking territory! And Haro Woods is a recovering, naturalizing forest after a nasty clear-cut. Not the best location, I think.
    The real big problem with a proper sewage treatment plant is that it's hard to get permissions to tanker-truck the treated sludge to farmland. If there were space to dry the sludge out to a compost-like texture, it could be hauled in ordinary trucks. That is, if could if there were enough farmland on the Island to accept the dried sewage materials. Say, for fertilizing hayfields or grazing range for cattle. Oddly enough, this rocky Island has very little of either. Our local cows producing local milk do not eat local food -- their feed is trucked in from Alberta. And oddly enough, no one wants to spread solids from treated sewage on farmland that grows crops for human consumption the same year.