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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Professional hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach goalie Connor LaCouvee joins AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners

Backstop returns to North America after stint in Slovakia

The intersection at Moilliet Street and Despard Avenue where a 12-year-old boy was struck by an oncoming vehicle early November while crossing at a marked crosswalk. (Mandy Moraes photo)
City staff members, school district officials to discuss high-traffic Parksville intersection

Young boy suffered broken leg after being hit in Despard/Moilliet crossing

An acre of the former ‘Bus Garage’ property has been sold to Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Qualicum Beach sells prime downtown property to Naked Naturals for $2.75M

Town to retain more than an acre of land for development of public amenities

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Another staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Nanaimo care home

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read