CRD directors working without a net on sewage project

View Royal mayor a little nervous about what new board may come up with

The Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment project is moving forward to a Sept. 30 funding deadline with a new board.

For at least one member of the CRD’s liquid waste management committee, letting go and allowing this partially new group of individuals take the reins on a massive project involving other people’s money is a little bit scary.

“You have mixed feelings for sure,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech. “It’s a real leap of faith that we have placed in this board. At the end of the day we are going to be in a position where we have to accept whatever they bring forth in order to retain the (federal) funding.”

With decisions previously made by the local committee essentially “out the window,” he said, over the next three months it’s “absolutely essential” that CRD directors take a step back, let the board dive into the files and assemble a business case for the project. “I feel pretty strongly that we weren’t getting anywhere anyway,” Screech added. “(But) until we know what they come back with, we’ll be worried a bit.”

The new board, which has expected to begin working this week on a business justification for the project, based on its “environmental, social and financial benefits,” makes its first progress report to the CRD board next month. The fact the new board is required to meet a minimum of once each quarter (three months) – the CRD sewage committee meets every other week – effectively eliminates much of the discussion between CRD politicians. Recommendations on the final project will be announced by late September.

Established after the province became more directly involved in the estimated $1 billion project, the new board’s mandate is to see the project through to completion. Its goals and objectives appear similar to those pursued by the since-disbanded core area wastewater treatment commission (formerly Seaterra) – the board is responsible for siting, project management and expenditures, among other aspects. But the province will be watching this group’s actions more closely than the previous regime.

Similar to Seaterra, a project director will be hired to oversee the creation and implementation of a plan. In the interim, CRD general manager of parks and environmental services Larisa Hutcheson will serve in the role.

The CRD board must still give final approval to the business case before it is submitted to the federal and provincial governments, and will maintain responsibility for any changes that could affect the scope, schedule and budget for the project.

The new project board, to be chaired by lawyer and experienced large-project manager Jane Bird, includes past members of the since-disbanded Seaterra Commission, including former chair Brenda Eaton, an economics expert with experience on many large corporate boards; and former vice-chair, engineer Colin Smith.

Other board members include design, procurement and construction consultant Jim Burke; infrastructure development consultant Don Fairbairn, CRD board vice-chair and Southern Gulf Islands director Dave Howe, and CRD chief administrative officer Robert Lapham.

“They seem like a highly qualified group of people with a lot of collective experience dealing with major projects,” Screech said. “I was certainly impressed with the experience of all of them … I think we’re fortunate to have them.”

CRD board chair and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins echoed Screech’s comments in a news release, indicating she is very positive about the makeup of the new board.

“Their caliber of expertise and experience with large, complex infrastructure projects means the project is in very good hands and we thank them for taking on this important work for our region,” Desjardins said.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Three children to run Victoria as ‘Mayors’ on Tuesday

Local kids will be honorary mayors for a day

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read