Millstone pollution requires attention

The Millstone River runs through Bowen Park in Nanaimo.

To the Editor,

The Millstone River runs through Bowen Park in Nanaimo.

It has received an extensive upgrade known as a bypass channel which reroutes a volume of water to enhance and improve the fish habitat and promote spawning. The cost to develop this was about $430,000.

I am all for this type of development and also donate to a number of salmonoid enhancements on Vancouver Island. But I do have some issues in regards to a lack of stewardship when it comes to taking care of the river.

There is a lack of transparency as to who is in control of regulating pollution on the river.

There are known problems on the Millstone that stem back to a time of industry in Nanaimo.

The lower Millstone has an industrial garbage dump in the river in the upper estuary at Barsby Park. A large and dangerous biomass of wood, metals and unknown materials sits at the waters edge with a light covering of grass.

The Barsby Park area was an industrial area from 1895 up to the 1950s and supported a mill, tannery, power generation station, boat works, bottle works and other.

It is unknown as to what is exactly in the garbage dump, but it doesn’t make sense that we let it continue to seep unknowns into the river estuary.

Another problem is storm drain runoff and other piped water into the river at many locations. We can see old and new examples of runoff pipes that deliver unfiltered water into the Millstone.

We are building new bridges over the river and they have no modern methods of removing oils or sediments from the storm drain systems. We have no way to stop a runoff pollution disaster if it was to happen as it did in Goldstream Provincial Park.

The last and least important pollution in the river lays in the estuary next to Swy-a-lana Lagoon.

On Google Earth you can actually zoom in and see old truck tires in the mud in the estuary. Along with the five shopping carts in the river, these are not good photo opportunities for tourists who visit our city.

There are many governments that are involved in taking care of the river and it has an ignorance affect as to who is in charge.

If it boils down to a lack of funding, maybe the stewardship should be put into the hands of a non-profit organization (similar to one that watches over Nile Creek).

Matt James