With considerably less fanfare than deployed announcing the awarding of warship contracts to Vancouver and Victoria Shipyards last week, in March of this year the “Harper Government’s” Ministry of Public Works and Government Services Canada quietly inked a near $40 million deal with Tervita Corporation for the remediation of the Esquimalt Graving Docks.
The Graving Dock has, for more than 85 years now, dumped all manner of industrial pollution into the harbour, with scant attention paid to either the environmental damage they were doing then, or the price to be paid by future generations. Well, the bill is coming due now, and the clean-up is commencing. It could be a news story, but – and, it’s an enormous but – there’s a problem: Just where does one dispose of a near-century’s worth of toxic sludge?
If you live in the Highlands, the community nestled high above the western reaches of Victoria you likely already know; the hundreds of dump trucks transiting the narrow and barely graded roads winding through the normally tranquil woods there is the answer. And the issue goes much deeper than the surface traffic.
Darlene Sanderson is a Highlands resident who, along with the Victoria chapter of the Council of Canadians is trying to put a stop to the dumping before what they fear will be irreversible damage is done to their local ecology, and to the water table it sits above.
Darlene Sanderson in the first half.
And; intrepid local peace and justice activist, Kevin Neish has just returned from his latest sojourn into dangerous territory. Kevin has over last few decades served as a human shield and human rights observer in some of the most dangerous places, in their most dangerous times.
In the late 1980’s he was in Guatemala, protecting the opposition group RUOG and Nobel Peace laureate to be, Rigoberta Menchu as they returned from exile for peace talks. In the 90’s Kevin watched the polls as El Salvador achingly moved towards democracy; and, more recently he travelled to Colombia to make the Colombian government aware the world was watching its treatment of union and peasant leaders held within that country’s squalid prison system.
But it is Kevin Neish’s long dedication to the cause of the Palestinian people over the last dozen years, travelling to Bethlehem and Gaza to brave the brutality of the Israeli Occupation Forces, and surviving its harrowing and lethal May 31, 2010 attack against the Turkish aid ship, Mavi Marmara, (and participation on a subsequent aid flotilla sailing) that may inspire most.
Kevin’s has spent the most of this year in Gaza, his return delayed this last time by the turmoil in neighbouring Egypt that brought the profoundly anti-Palestine military Junta into power.
Kevin Neish home from Gaza in the second half.
And Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news from our city’s streets and beyond. But first, Darlene Sanderson and a toxic dump too near and too far in the Highlands.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/