It’s bad enough for taxpayers that the cost of the Esquimalt Harbour cleanup has risen sharply to more than $781 million, but unfortunately that’s not the whole story. Thousands of tonnes of contaminated material from the Esquimalt Department of National Defence site has already been trucked to the SIA fill site above Shawnigan Lake, despite a B.C. Supreme Court decision that the provincial permit contravenes local zoning.
This poses a serious risk to the drinking water of thousands of people, and to the aquifers and ecology of the entire watershed. Some of the permitted contaminants, such as dioxins and furans, persist in the environment for many decades. When the liner at the site leaks, as liners always eventually do, another massive cleanup will be necessary, along with another massive bill.
The B.C. government has no answer for this. But it’s clear that one day we will all be paying, once again, for its reckless shortsightedness.
Sonia Furstenau, director
Cowichan Valley Regional District