Oily Sheen Appears on the Sackville River

June 14, 2013 – 8:21pm By MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE Staff Reporter

Nova Scotia Environment staff investigated Friday an oily sheen seen on the Sackville River in Bedford.

Photos emailed to The Chronicle Herald showed what looked like oil in the water. A provincial inspector was dispatched to look into the situation.

Lori Errington, a spokeswoman with the provincial Environment Department, said the inspector “visited the site after reports were made of an oil sheen entering the Sackville River from a storm water outfall.”

She said Halifax Water personnel were at the river Friday afternoon “and they deployed oil-absorbent booms to control the release into the river.”

In an email, Errington said “the hydrocarbon (petroleum) odour and sheen were traced back through storm water infrastructure, and one source appears to be the catch basin in the parking lot of Sunny Side Mall” in Bedford.

“Representatives from the mall have a vacuum truck en route to clean out the catch basin,” she said. “Halifax Water will reassess the outfall on the weekend to determine if cleaning the catch basin addresses the issue.”

Errington said Environment Department staff will continue to monitor the situation “to ensure the cleanup effort continues.”

The Sackville River flows in a mainly southerly direction into Bedford Basin, according to the Sackville Rivers Association. It says the river is about 40 kilometres long and drains an area of some 155 square kilometres.

Walter Regan, the association’s president, said he was unaware of the presence of oil in the water until contacted by this newspaper.

“This is very disappointing as we now have wild Atlantic salmon on their spawning run up the river and they have to travel through this,” he said in an email.

Regan said “the person responsible should be charged and made to pay a large fine that would go toward doing fish habitat restoration in the Sackville River.”



3rd Annual SRA Youth Bike Safety Rodeo

The SRA will be holding our 3rd Annual Youth Safety Bike Rodeo on Saturday June 22, 2013. This year it will be held in the parking lot of Downsview Mall behind the Esso Gas Station – 9am to 12 pm. Free BBQ for the kids. Free bike helmet giveaway and we will have a draw for two bikes care of the Boys and Girls Club of Sackville/Sackville Heights Community Center, and the Medicine Shoppe Sackville Drive.

SRA’s 25th Anniversary – Speech by Mat Wynott

Speech – Mat Wynott
Sackville Rivers Association – 25th Anniversary Event
7 p.m., June 6, 2013, 45 Connolly Road Sackville.

“I ain’t hugging any trees, and I ain’t kissing any whales!”

That’s what Walter Regan told his neighbour, Shane O’Neil, back in 1988, when Shane asked him to join a Sackville River clean-up.

But Shane kept asking, and one day, just to be neighbourly, Walter agreed to go along.

That first clean-up was at Walkers Pit in Sackville—just twenty minutes from Walter’s house. It was August, and it was hot. In one day, Walter helped pull 50 cars out of the river.

That was 25 years ago—when his knees were still good.

What struck Walter at that first clean-up was the contrast. One side of the river was complete devastation–an abandoned pit, where thieves rolled burned-out cars right into the water. The other side was pristine, with chirping birds, lush moss, and 100-foot trees.

Afterwards, Walter thought about the devastated side…and he got mad. That’s when he made his ‘first mistake’—he went to a Sackville Rivers Association meeting.

Walter’s second mistake–the one that turned his wife, Ann, into a “River Widow”—was putting up his hand when they asked for volunteer committee members.

There have been three especially memorable moments in Walter Regan’s life–marrying Ann, the birth of their first child….and holding a thrashing, 20-pound, wild Atlantic salmon for the first time.

Walter says when he looked into the eye of that salmon, he saw into its very soul—and it was angry.

Perhaps that was the moment he found his vocation.

For 35 years, Walter was a stationary engineer with the Department of National Defence–that was his job. But his true vocation—the place where a person’s deep passion meets the world’s deep need–is to advocate for the Sackville River watershed and its inhabitants—specially the angry ones.

On behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, and the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Sterling Belliveau, I congratulate the dedicated members of the Sackville Rivers Association and your indomitable president, Walter Regan, on your achievements, and thank you for your outstanding work on behalf of the Sackville River Watershed.

I know you work closely with my colleagues at Inland Fisheries, and they sure appreciate your efforts. They say you are tireless advocates of sport fish and their habitat, and a great support to the Division:

• You represent the interests of the watershed at our Recreational Fisheries Advisory meetings;

• You assist our staff with sport fish enhancement, helping to stock and sharing your expert knowledge;

• You were instrumental in establishing Nova Scotia’s Sportfish Habitat Fund;

• And you remain strong supporters and advocates of the Fund and its programs—like Adopt-A-Stream.

But we know you do much more than this.

For a quarter century, members of the Sackville Rivers Association have protected floodplains and wetlands, constructed wild salmon pools, restored salmon habitat, counted salmon, stocked trout, built trails, planted trees, thrown rocks, and conducted clean-ups.

All your projects are important, but as a youth advocate involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, adolescent mental health, and youth at risk, I am particularly impressed by your work with elementary school children.

Through your River Rangers and Fish Friends programs, you have engaged nearly 20 elementary schools and 6,000 children in stewardship activities.

These programs work because they build relationships between kids and the local watershed.

Walter still talks about the calls he got back in 2002, when a water main broke, lowering the pH level in the Little Sackville River—an accident that killed over 50,000 fish.

When the story made it to CNN, Walter got calls from former program participants in Vancouver, the US, and even the UK. The caller from Vancouver asked if his fish had been killed.

Ladies and gentlemen, before I go, I’m going to let you in on something—Walter Regan has a reputation within the provincial government—folks say it’s hard to say ‘no’ to him. When you ask them why, they say it’s because of his passion—his personal commitment.

Walter has maintained this passion and commitment for 25 years—since 1988, when a neighbourly whim turned into an unforeseen vocation. Walter explains this vocation best: “I speak for the river”, he says. “I speak for the salmon.”

Tree hugger or not, they couldn’t have a better spokesperson.

Enjoy your evening.

RBC names Sackville Rivers Association 2013 RBC Blue Water Grant Recipient

RBC is giving a $5,000 Blue Water Community Action Grant to Sackville Rivers Association. The funds will help develop a plan to restore large sections of two of the major tributaries of the Sackville River – Stoney Brook and Tomahawk Run. This is the fifth year RBC has partnered with Sackville Rivers Association on a water-related project.

“In today’s climate of variable economic conditions, a non-profit organization like SRA has difficulty securing funding to deliver services to the community so we’re very fortunate to have a strong working relationship with RBC resulting in many years of support for our activities from habitat restoration for the wild Atlantic salmon to our educational programs such as River Rangers,” says Damon Conrad, Coordinator SRA. “Without this support from RBC, SRA would not be able to serve our local community to the extent that we do.”

This grant is one of only five new RBC Blue Water Project Community Action Grants given in Atlantic Canada in 2013 and one of only 68 across the country.

“Water is our most precious natural resource, and we know that industry, government, business and individuals can all play a part in watershed protection,” said Glen Dormody, RVP Metro Halifax. “We are pleased to be helping Sackville Rivers Association with its work in fostering a culture of water stewardship in this province.”

The grant will be celebrated in the RBC Bedford branch on June 14, which is RBC Blue Water Day.

About RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is an historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $36 million to more than 500 charitable organizations worldwide that protect watersheds and promote access to clean drinking water, with an additional $6 million pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014, the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.

About RBC Community and Sustainability
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 49 other countries. RBC is recognized among the world’s financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012 – 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, one of Canada’s 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations and among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.

2013 Fish Stocking

Thanks to McGowan Lake fish hatchery and the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, SRA helped to stocked four lakes in and around the Sackville River Watershed with about 2,000 speckled trout (one and two year trout). The lakes stocked were First Lake, Second Lake, Webber Lake, and Springfield Lake. Three more lakes (Lewis Lake, Third Lake, and Pentz Lake) will also be stocked at a later date.