Brentwood Bay residents express concern about marine waste on local shorelines


CENTRAL SAANICH -- The District of Central Saanich continues to work towards creating cleaner shorelines in Brentwood Bay.

While concerns relating to boating related impacts on the marine environment have been raised for years, municipal leaders have now received correspondence which relays concerns regarding the increasing amount of marine litter accumulating along local shorelines.

According to residents, this has been the most noticeable during the summer months, as they're now calling on local government to address the growing problem. Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says he's heard the concerns for years, and acknowledges that the District continues to work towards a solution.

"There's long been a strong concern that a fair amount of debris is winding up in the bay as a potential source of pollution," says Windsor. "We've also heard about solid waste emerging as a recent issue."

Central Saanich attributes the mess along some of their local shorelines to a lack of consistent monitoring and enforcement. To respond to the long-standing issue, the District is now in the midst of creating a coordinated "Saanich Peninsula Harbours and Waterways" initiative to address moorage, and other marine related issues. The initiative is being developed alongside the CRD and is still in its very early stages, despite the original plan being crafted more than five years ago.

The other phase of the District's plan is to ramp up garbage collection during the summer months to reduce the amount of litter ending up in the ocean and along local shorelines. They say that this -- along with the exploration of adding new portable washrooms in certain areas -- would effectively ensure that shorelines remain relatively clean.

Monitoring for collection of waste from public receptacles has been increased to five days per week until September 15th, which is an increase from the regular summer schedule of 2-3 days per week. Windsor says the increasing amounts of litter has been a by-product of increased outdoor recreation during the pandemic.

"There's been an increase in activity with outdoor recreation," says the Mayor of Central Saanich. "Whether its tourists, locals, all of the above, it leads to potential increase in waste."

The final aspect of Central Saanich's plans to create cleaner shorelines involves local police forces, who are currently developing a program which would allow officers to monitor shorelines to ensure residents and visitors aren't violating environment rules. According to the police, public outreach and education would also form a significant part of the program.

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