The Cortes Housing Society (CHS) has some great news regarding the soil tests we commissioned for the Rainbow Ridge property.

Since the onset of our plans to build 24 affordable rental townhomes, there has been well-founded concern for the ecology of nearby lakes, and whether they would be negatively impacted from having our new housing cluster in Mansons Landing.

During this time, The Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS) has been diligent in monitoring any potential effects on the well-being of our most precious fresh water habitat.

We started with some initial ditch water testing for nitrogen and phosphorous. Data was monitored and evaluated by leading experts, including a freshwater scientist contracted by FOCI who looked at the lake samples. Following up, we hired soil scientist Brian French to review the capacity of the Rainbow Ridge wastewater fields to retain and absorb nutrients.

We are delighted by his findings. Brian determined that the naturally occurring minerals in the Rainbow Ridge soil will permanently bind and retain any undesirable phosphorous from the wastewater; and given the septic field’s considerable distance from Hague Lake, there is no indication that any phosphorous from our site will impact it.

The full report is available for reading on-line via our website:

On the other hand, Brian also indicated that some of the more water-soluble nitrogen may leave the site and make its way toward Hague Lake; but this is less of a concern. FOCI’s research shows that Hague and Gunflint are very similar to almost all low-nutrient lakes in BC where phosphorous is the limiting nutrient (e.g. there is already extra nitrogen not being used by the system).

Nonetheless, we’re taking steps to provide as many opportunities for nitrogen uptake by plants and trees through measures such as:

  • Locating the wastewater field within the forest zone on the furthest western edge of the Rainbow Ridge property with near-surface distributors enabling trees & indigenous plants to absorb the nitrogen; and
  • Managing stormwater on the surface as much as possible within bioswale channels (creeks with holding ponds for sediment settling and riprap waterfalls), a built wetland (pond) to manage 100 year atmospheric river events, and surface ditches connecting these stormwater features.

These findings give us much more peace of mind as we move one step closer to breaking ground, continued gratitude for your support as we keep moving forward.



Sandra Wood, CHS Executive Director

On behalf of the Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS)