A chunk of the Colquitz River bank is being shored up with spray concrete after it threatened to slide and damage one of B.C. Hydro’s main transmission lines.
It is not known why the area of the riverbank beside Interurban Road, near the intersection with Columbine Way, became unstable, said B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk.
“We took the lead because we have to ensure the integrity of the transmission line that serves thousands of Greater Victoria customers,” he said.
“We are always very protective of our transmission lines.”
The work is being watched anxiously by volunteers working to restore coho salmon runs in the river, which has suffered numerous oil spills in recent years.
But Olynyk said shotcrete and steel rods will be used to stabilize the bank and will not have any adverse effect on the fish.
“Once it is cured, it is as benign as concrete,” he said.
The same material is used on B.C. Hydro’s dams and fish have no problem with water around the dams, he said.
Volunteer river steward Dorothy Chambers would have preferred to see other remediation methods and said she is surprised that Fisheries and Oceans consented to spray concrete on the bank of a salmon river.
“Concrete changes the pH of the stream water and is deadly to fish,” she said.
“Nothing grows where shotcrete is used. It is like making a sidewalk on the steep side of a slope than ends at the river.”
There are also concerns about trees cut by B.C. Hydro as the roots provide ground stability, Chambers said.
Olynyk said it was necessary to cut 10 trees, including a Garry oak, to do the stabilization work.
“It was unfortunate, but we had to ensure we could do the work,” he said.
More trees will probably be planted once the work has been completed, Olynyk said.
“We will do whatever we can to bring it back to a more natural-looking state.”
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