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BC  

Spotlight hurting salmon?

More trouble for the problem-plagued Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria.

The bridge is behind schedule and over budget, now it's coming under fire from environmentalists.

The Bridge is only weeks away from opening, but a local group is shining a spotlight on another potential problem – this time, with salmon.

The Gorge Watershed Advocacy Group says the bright colours from the new bridge lights will light up salmon heading upstream to lay their eggs in the Colquitz River, making them easy targets for seals.

In keeping with its history, the new bridge will be bathed in blue light once it's installed, as a nod to the former structure, affectionately known as the "Blue Bridge".

Advocate Dorothy Chambers says, "it will attract the predators, the marine predators, to the fish that are trying to pass underneath,"

Environmentalists point to Courtenay B.C., where for years people have blamed a diminishing salmon return on lights on the Fifth Street Bridge.

At one point, seals known to frequent the waters below the bridge were culled to try to fix the problem.

Studies out of Washington State show chinook salmon are attracted to Bridge 520 that lights up Lake Washington.

Project Director, Jonathan Huggett, says the lights aren't another blunder on the over-budget and long-delayed project.

-with files from CTV Vancouver Island



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