(Blue-green algae/Photo by James Younger)

On Tuesday afternoon, hours before the televised leaders debate, the BC NDP decided to address an issue specific to the Greater Victoria area.

NDP Saanich South candidate Lana Popham announced that the party would pledge $750,000 to reduce the number of toxic algae bloom outbreaks at Elk and Beaver lakes in Saanich.

Both lakes have been the site of multiple toxic cyanobacteria outbreaks in recent years, during which humans and pets are advised to stay out of the water to avoid illness.

“These lakes are a treasure for our communities, our province and our country – we need to keep these waters clean, safe and enjoyable for everyone,” said Popham in a statement.

“By making sure these waters stay healthy and clean, we can protect the beauty and benefits of these lakes for everyone.”

The party says they will fund the use of oxidation technology to dramatically increase oxygen levels in the deepest parts of the lakes, restricting the ability of the toxic blooms to take hold.

The cleanup would also protect the health of fish and wildlife habitats both in the lakes and downstream.