Colwood seeks standalone sewage treatment plant

Colwood city council has voted to ask the Capital Regional District for permission to change the regional sewage treatment plan

Colwood city council has voted to ask the Capital Regional District for permission to change the regional sewage treatment plan in order to build its own facility.

Being asked for is an amendment to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan allowing Colwood to operate its own wastewater treatment plant, and with no involvement in the regional facility based in Esquimalt.

“We want to do it in such a way that’s it’s no risk, no cost to CRD or its current plans,” said Coun. Judith Cullington, chair of the transportation and public infrastructure committee. “We want to stay within the plan and do our own little piece differently.”

The idea is to save Colwood taxpayers money. Colwood is in a unique position where it has a low percentage of its homes currently on sewers, about 25 per cent, but is having to buy into the regional plan and pay for capacity now which will not be used for years.

As it stands, Colwood’s current sewer users pay for their capacity, while all residents pay for future capacity. Many properties will never have the opportunity to join the sewer system and owners have voiced opposition to paying for a service they will never use.

On the other hand, Colwood councillors say sewer users are concerned about escalating costs, having to pay for their own use plus future community capacity.

“We’re an oddball in the system,” Cullington said. “It leaves the community with this quite big bill for all that future capacity.”

The proposed Colwood treatment plant would be built to handle current needs and short-term capacity increases. The plant would be added to, or other small plants would be constructed, in the future as needed. The city is also looking into tertiary treatment, which creates non-potable water which can be used for irrigation and other community needs.

“There’s great value in it,” said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. “At the end of the day we’re in control of those costs and I think ultimately it’s going to be a better treatment process.”

Tentatively approved by council, Colwood plans are to locate its plant underneath the park-and-ride at West Shore Parks and Recreation, off Ocean Boulevard.

City engineer Michael Baxter said the location would be ideal as it is city land, is above the CRD sewer trunk line, has no residential neighbours and is near businesses and facilities which could benefit from the energy and water it creates. While no plans are set in stone, the current concept sees all park-and-ride remaining.

“It seems hard to come up with a better site, it’s such a perfect site,” Baxter said.

The city has set aside $200,000 to go towards preparing the application and beginning initial planning of a local sewage treatment facility. If the CRD allows the amendment, the city will begin regional public consultation before going to the Ministry of Environment for approval.

Cullington said the Colwood plan will have advantages for the larger region, as it will free up capacity for other municipalities, extending the timeline before the regional treatment plant maxes out. Colwood’s move will also mean when the planned West Shore treatment plant is built in 2020, regional taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for Colwood’s sewage treatment.

“It’s certainly something I’ve heard consistently people saying they’re supportive of this approach,” Cullington said.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

Westcoast Impressions plans to organize a COVID-19 friendly version of the event in 2021 at the Mary Winspear Centre after having cancelled the 2020 version against the backdrop of pandemic. The opening night of the 2019 Sidney Street Market featured more than 150 vendors lined along Beacon Avenue. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney Street Market plans for 2021 return at Mary Winspear Centre

Tentative plan calls for the event’s return to Beacon Avenue after COVID-19 pandemic

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read