From atop a steep slope looking down on a narrow portion of the Jordan River, Ken Farquharson points to two saplings making their way out of the crumbly earth near his feet.
The saplings are an unusual shade of yellow-green and they’re the only things growing on land the Ministry of Environment recently confirmed as “high risk.” “See these little ones, they’re not very happy,” Farquharson says.
For the Metchosin resident, cleaning up the toxic site — a former copper mine dump — is vital if salmon are going to return in full force to the Jordan River below. The retired engineer has made it a personal project since 2012 and now, it looks like it might happen: A responsible party has been identified, a site-risk assessment has been conducted and an remediation plan is due by June 2017.
But the process has raised questions about why it took one motivated individual, with help from the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, to make it happen.
“It’s a really good news story, because I think the people of Victoria can look forward to the return of salmon in Jordan River,” the law centre’s legal director Calvin Sandborn said. “But then there’s a terrible news story. And the terrible news story is why government didn’t get on this a long time ago.”
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