Prospect Lake residents hope the Capital Regional District will “sit up and pay attention” after offering a petition with more than 2,200 names to the legislature on Monday (May 5).
MLA Andrew Weaver presented the petition, signed by 2,249 concerned residents, that asks that the BC Legislature order an independent, expert third-party review of the CRD’s sewage treatment plan.
“We do have the attention of the government on this,” said Fred Haynes, past president of the Prospect Lake Community Association. “It calls for a halt and a third party review of the current plan.”
The community association initiated the petition in December. Recently the provincial government indicated it will stay out of any intervention request by the CRD.
“This is not politics, it’s about appropriate development and appropriate taxation levels for municipal infrastructure,” Haynes said. “We should not spend $1 billion to purchase a treatment system that is flawed and past its expiry date.”
They’re interested in looking at newer technologies, citing those demonstrated at Dockside Green in Victoria, Ladysmith, Blaine Washington, and Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Around the world people are looking at harvesting the resources, the water itself and the biosolids. The newer tertiary treatment systems let us capture that,” he said. “This current technology doesn’t capture any of that. It’s like buying a cellphone that’s 15 years old. Why would anyone do that?”
While the current proposal may have been thoroughly looked at and vetted by CRD staff, Haynes said that was in 2007.
“They would have missed this new technology. … If you’re making a big purchase that’s going to put you in mortgage for 25 years, you should be able to have a sober second look. The review would find, we believe, there are newer technologies.
“We don’t understand the rush to put in the current system,” he said. “It would be better for the environment, better for the taxpayers and a better system.”
He’s bolstered by a pair of other municipalities already pushing for a review. In March, the CRD agreed in principle to allow Colwood to build its own sewage treatment facility. In April, Esquimalt rejected the treatment site.
“Colwood and Esquimalt councils have demonstrated it is possible for individual members of the CRD to pause and look at technology offering options for the sewage infrastructures of the future. The citizens research group, Sewage Treatment Action Group (STAG) has identified examples of viable, less costly alternatives. The intractable problems of locating the large scale centralized systems proposed by CRD at Hartland and at McLoughlin could be addressed by these more nimble decentralized systems.”