A plan to send Capital Regional District directors and staff to Europe on a learning trip about wastewater management sank at the CRD Wednesday (Sept. 13).
“I think there was a feeling amongst the directors that it wasn’t necessary at this time and more work has to be done and more information gathering can be done without going to Europe,” said CRD director Nils Jensen, Oak Bay mayor.
The Capital Regional District’s integrated resource management (IRM) advisory committee Sept. 6 approved sending three CRD directors and two staffers to Europe to tour sewage treatment and biosolids processing facilities, as a way to learn more about IRM strategies.
The plan had to make its way through the environmental services committee earlier in the day.
“It had been completely replaced by the time,” Jensen said.
Instead, the CRD board voted to gather the kinds of information required.
“I’m really pleased the board accepted the shift. I don’t know that it took a lot of convincing,” said board chair Barb Desjardins, Esquimalt mayor. “They still needed to understand why and how the shift happened.”
One reason, she says, is they heard the concerns of constituents over the proposed trip. They went so far as to add an amendment that no travel would be considered.
“It assures the public that we’re into doing this now. We’re moving forward on the criteria and we thank you for your input,” she said.
“We have information we’ve gathered from the task force on IRM (integrated resource management) as well as the IRM committee,” Desjardins said. Staff will now bring all of that information forward and work with the consultant to bring forward a process to develop the criteria for the project to move forward as well as develop a request for proposals.
“We jumped right through the hoop saying staff you’ve got a lot of information let’s try and start sorting out the criteria,” Desjardins said.
The original idea was to discover projects that were clearly unsuitable and could be rejected quickly or major successes.
“That was the intent, to see it on the ground. But that wasn’t necessary at this point. We should be relying more experts than politicians who had a bit of exposure to information in a few reports and on the internet,” Jensen said. “That can be gathered from a whole bunch of sources including staff and the facilities in Europe and other parts of North America. It’s not going to slow the exploration of options is the bottom line.”