Colwood’s quest to separate its sewage treatment plans from those of the Capital Regional District faces its first challenge tomorrow (March 12).
The CRD will vote on the city’s proposed amendment to the regional sewage treatment plan, which would see the municipality fund and build its own facility.
Colwood mayor and CRD director Carol Hamilton, who will present the application to the CRD board, has no idea which way the vote will go, but has high hopes.
“I am being optimistic that we presented enough of a business case to them,” she said. “This is very viable and it’s well within the overall and long-term plan.”
While the move would not remove Colwood from the regional plan, it would mean the city will not be part of a regional system anchored by a treatment plant proposed for McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.
The CRD board may either reject the application, ask for more information or approve the change, Hamilton said. “Each one of those outcomes is going to require some action around it.”
If the application is accepted, the city will get to work engaging with the community and working with the Ministry of Environment to develop plans for a localized treatment system. “We’re still a long, long way from any potential shovel in the ground component,” Hamilton said.
If the CRD requires more information, Colwood has set aside money for the application process and will have staff assemble whatever is needed.
If the application is rejected, Hamilton said, the city will examine the board’s objections and research whether other alternatives may be workable.
“I don’t see us giving up. We’ll have to find out why, they’ll have to have reasons,” she said. “Let’s find out why, and if we can, supply more answers and maybe come out with a different outcome.”
Hamilton doesn’t see other municipalities following Colwood’s lead if it is able to provide its own sewage treatment. Colwood is in a unique position due to its projected population growth and its current limited connection to sewer systems.
Removing Colwood from the mix wouldn’t make much of an impact, Hamilton said, as other municipalities will likely consider taking on Colwood’s capacity within the regional system.