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

Hundreds come out to meet federal NDP leader at Port Alberni rally

Pipelines, a coalition government and reconciliation among topics Jagmeet Singh covers

Port Alberni students meet federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh at rally

Singh posts trending video to TikTok, says reaching youth on their level is important

Port Alberni receives provincial funding for food hub

Seafood processing hub will be operated by Port Alberni Port Authority

New owner ‘walking away’ from derelict Arrowview Hotel after one week

WorksafeBC issues stop work order; owner Stan Pottie says cost to continue too high

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Most Read