Halifax Harbour cleanliness questioned by paddleboarder

Peter Doig is raising questions about just how clean Halifax Harbour really is after seeing floatables and sewage on his paddleboarding commute through the Northwest Arm to the Halifax waterfront.

Halifax man says he sees floatables and sewage on his commute to the Halifax waterfront

Peter Doig paddleboards his way through the Northwest Arm to his office at the Halifax waterfront. He said he has seen floatables, but doesn't have physical evidence. (CBC)

A Halifax man is raising questions about just how clean Halifax Harbour is.

During fair weather, Peter Doig rides his paddleboard across the Northwest Arm to his office on the Halifax waterfront. It's usually the pilot whales and cormorants that catch his eye.

Not this week.

"I'm seeing blossoms in the area, I'm seeing floatables," he said.

Doig said he has not photographed or videotaped evidence, but knows what he saw.

"In some cases, my board has to sort of push through the crud to get through the water," he said on Tuesday.

Construction divers tell a different story. Mike Huntley of Huntley's Sub Aqua Construction called the state of Halifax Harbour an "absolute joy."

Halifax Water has said it's meeting the conditions of its operating permit set out by the Nova Scotia Environment Department. (CBC)

"The water's clear," said Huntley. "It's never warm, but it's not too bad. The water is actually clear and the bottom is nice and clean as well."

James Campbell, a spokesperson for Halifax Water, said even with its workers on strike, its treatment facilities aren't letting raw sewage escape.

"That stuff can come from anywhere," Campbell said. "It can come from ship bilge, it can come from boaters just flushing their toilets in the Arm or Halifax Harbour, which unfortunately happens. They can come in on the tide."

Campbell said it would be rare to find random items floating in the water.

"We have a system that treats the floatables and all the waste water that enters the harbour. So, there really should be no reason for it to enter the harbour," he said.

Whatever Doig saw, Campbell said Halifax Water is meeting the conditions of its operating permit set out by the Nova Scotia Environment Department.

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