Smelly ravine offends senses
The Johnson Street ravine has degenerated into a receptacle for defunct members of the canine and feline families, decaying odds and ends, and malarious soil. On the principle that “out of sight is out of mind,” and forgetful of the romantic memory that clung so tenderly to the once-fragrant locality, every offensive object too nasty to be tolerated in any other locality is hurled into the depths of the pellucid stream and left there to fester and corrode and rot.
But, though lost to sight, the corrupt fagends of animal and vegetable matter have not failed to appeal to at least one sense — that of smelling. Though out of the eye, they are ever present in the nose.
Numerous have been the learned essays penned by local pundits, and the importance of adopting stringent hygienic measures to avert the awful effects resulting from the constant inhalation of carbonic gas upon the human system. Frequent have been the angry protestations of the half-strangled habitants against a continuance of this nosegay of nastiness.
Successive Corporations have been appealed to and have undertaken to “deal with it kindly,” but the nuisance has “fol’owed them blindly” wherever they went, until at last they were compelled to acknowledge that the stench had more “power” than the Act of Incorporation conferred upon them, and they retired vanquished.
But the Legislative Council last winter got angry. The members believed that the ravine had had its own way long enough, and in a fit of nauseous indignation they passed an Act conferring the necessary power on the Mayor and Council to remove all animate or inanimate nuisances.
Under this Act the City Corporation have had the water-course opened and fine culverts built, and have issued an order for a box-drain to run the length and breadth of the ravine to be built at the expense of the lot owners — a drain sufficiently large to carry off all the water and sufficiently substantial to prevent vagrant dogs and cats from committing suicide by drowning, or decayed animal and vegetable matter from finding a lodgment therein.
The culverts are completed; and there is just this one little difficulty operating against the construction of the drain: money is scarce. In some instances the drain would cost more than the lots would bring under the hammer.
The owners of real estate facing the stream of liquid mud have protested against the enforcement of the order, which they seem to regard with even less favour than they do the stench that threatens them with annihilation.
They can stand the nuisance; because, as one of their number says, they are “used to it;” but they “can’t stand the expense” of a drain. The Mayor and the Sanitary Commission have considered their case and find that, like the times, it is “hard,” and considering the state of the money market and the near approach of the cool weather, have relaxed so much of the order as relates to the construction of the expensive drain.
They think a temporary affair will answer every purpose for the present, while they reserve the right to order a more substantial structure at some future period, and there is now reason for hoping that the nuisance, if not entirely abated, will be greatly modified, and the stream gradually restored to its pristine state of poetic cleanliness.
The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle, Sept. 12, 1867