Gorge Swim Fest gets clean bill of health after last year's contamination scare
Published Monday, July 23, 2018 4:23PM PDT Last Updated Monday, July 23, 2018 4:42PM PDT
Hundreds of people dove into the Gorge Waterway Sunday a year after contaminants found in the water made organizers cancel the event.
Jack Meredith, president of the Gorge Swim Fest Society, believes the Gorge is cleanest and warmest swimming hole around Victoria.
“People have been swimming in the gorge for over a hundred years and what our purpose, in reviving the gorge swim fest, is to make people aware that the gorge has been cleaned up," he said.
Organizers cancelled the Swim Fest last year after contaminants were found in a creek underneath Craigflower Road, which connects to the gorge.
“We wanted to be safe rather than risk anybody being in the water if it’s contaminated,” said Meredith.
Last year, wastewater from some improperly connected pipes at a nearby property leaked into the creek. However, Meredith says they have been monitoring the water quality and this year the water is completely safe.
Swim Fest continues to promote keeping the Gorge clean and safe.
“We think if people are aware of how clean the gorge is that they will be diligent in protecting it and keeping it clean so that we won’t get back to where it was polluted in the past,” said Meredith.
Robin Rombs runs a monthly year round swim club at the Banfield Park jetty says they do their part in keeping the Gorge clean.
“It’s still an ongoing thing. Oftentimes we pull some rubbish out when we are swimming but in terms of water quality it’s been good for 5 or 10 years.”
While the gorge is contaminant-free this year, other beaches and bodies of water aren’t.
Langford Lake’s main beach on Leigh Road has been closed off since Thursday due to a significant spike of e.coli.
Malcolm Beach, Saanich Inlet - Clarke Road, Art Maple Bay Beach and Maple Bay Boat Launch are also under advisories.
Art Mann Park has a permanent advisory in place from long standing high levels of bacteria.