Following a week of heavy rainfall, Ladysmith Sportmen’s Club president, Dave Judson is raising concerns about storm water run-off from housing developments finding its way into Holland Creek.
Judson has been involved in numerous efforts to restore fish habitats in the Ladysmith area. He was involved in the consultation process prior to approval of the Holland Creek housing development, and said he was impressed by plans for storm water mitigation at the time, but now he’s concerned that developers aren’t doing enough to keep sediment from entering the creek.
“I’m not against development, but we’ve put in over 25 years of rebuilding fish habitats down stream, and every time we turn around there’s something wiping them out. I’ve come to the point where I’m pretty much done volunteering to rebuild fish habitats,” Judson said.
“Accidents happen. We can get flash-floods, heavy rain, and whatnot… but there’s steps that can be done to prevent this, especially right in the Town boundaries.”
Judson is calling for the Town and other relevant government agencies to set up a watchdog group to ensure that developments are following best practices to mitigate storm water run-off from entering fish habitats.
Staff from the Town of Ladysmith did contact developers prior to the recent rainfall to ensure storm mitigation measures were in place. In a statement, the Town said that they are working with developers to review those plans moving forward.
“The implementation of effective storm mitigation measures is the responsibility of all respective developers. The Town will work with developers on occasion to discuss the effectiveness of these plans during periods of increased precipitation,” the statement said.
Jim Dickinson of EDJ Projects, which oversees construction for the Holland Creek development said that they follow an erosion sediment control plan that is designed in consultation with a civil engineering firm, a geotechnical company, and a biologist who actively monitor the site.
“There’s constant improvements that we’re making with the general contractor, and additional companies, ” Dickinson said.
“There has been a lot of construction not only on our site, but upstream from us, around us, and all over. We monitor our outflows, and if we do see anything that’s started to wear, it gets pointed out by one of our three professional groups, and it is addressed.”
Dickinson said that the site of the development is at the bottom of a large storm water catchment area, and the developers are constantly updating their plans to control storm water run-off. Due to the nature of construction, the landscape of the area is constantly changing. As the landscape changes, the erosion sediment control plan is updated to reflect those changes.
“Unfortunately, we cannot control what mother nature does, all we can do is prepare plans and react to whatever she throws at us,” he said. “We always try to go over and above on everything that we do.”
On the notion that developers may be cutting corners when it comes to protecting riparian areas, Dickinson said protection of the environment was integral to the Holland Creek development, both as a condition of the partnership with Stz’uminus First Nation, and to the workers on site.
“We’re all Islanders. We live here. We fish here. We hunt here. We raise our families here. This is our community,” Dickinson said.