07/09/2008: "Supernatural BC"
I recently made a video on Victoria’s sewage problem. It has caused an international stink. Did you know there is an organized group of “sewage deniers” in Victoria BC? Well there is, and when they got a whiff of what we islanders think about their sewage they were quick to react in a hostile way.
The group that supports Victoria’s sewage dumping policy has a web site. They say that using the Straight of Juan de Fuca for their toilet is “natural”. Anyone who challenges this assertion is simply an idiot that doesn’t know what he is talking about. Is it possible that Victoria is the only city in the world whose sewage doesn’t stink? How “Supernatural” is that?
The list of adherents to the “dumping-raw-sewage-is-natural” movement is diverse and impressive. This group is made up of physicians, health professionals, scientists, and community leaders. They all have one thing in common. They do not want to pay any money to fix the problem (What problem?). They are a miserly lot. Will they ever get off the pot and do something? Perhaps it would be more expensive not to.
Last year BC increased its tourism promotion from 25 million to 50 million.
Tourism creates jobs for over 114,000 British Columbians and $8.9 billion in economic activity in communities throughout the Province. With the Olympic games coming to the to Canada in 2010 these numbers could more than double.
That is why the threat of a boycott has created such a stink. BC environmentalists and the sewage deniers are united in that they all fear any kind of media focus on the sewage problem that could flush their “Supernatural” image down the toilet. This is why we absolutely need to make a stink now!!
Here is what happened when I attempted to do this. I got several calls and emails from Canadian sewage experts saying that the plastic tampon applicators that I found on the beach and featured in the video could not possibly have come from Victoria. They have been screening out plastic debris for several years now. The offending flushed plastic feminine hygiene products that they call “whitefish” must have come from “local beach campers or ships transiting the area.” Therefore I am an idiot that doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
Okay, first let’s put this all in perspective. It is not the whitefish that are the problem. Yes, they gross me out. The problem is that Victoria residents treat our shared environment as their toilet and don’t seem to care what we think about it.
Now let’s examine the arguments from the sewage experts shall we? As for the beach camper theory, camping is not permitted on our beaches. The transiting ship theory is a classic. How many ships transiting the area have large numbers of women crew whose periods are cycling together and all flush their tampon applicators when they get close to Victoria? What are the odds that the print on their tampons reads in French and English?
Upon closer cross- examination I got an admission that “it's possible that those whitefish are from multiple overflow events (during heavy rains).” It is also possible that they have been on the beach for a long time. Any casual beachcomber can find them.
I was told that some treatment facility is expected to be in place by 2016. Still, 8 more years of dumping raw sewage into the straight is not something that should boost Canadian national pride. Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I used to visit regularly. I don’t go there anymore because of their callous attitude about this problem. If others do this too there may be hope that solutions will come sooner and the pollution will stop.