Despite protests, Greater Victoria sewage plan marches on

CRD directors shut down a motion by naysayers to pull the reigns on project

Capital Regional District directors once again shut down a motion by naysayers Wednewsday to pull the reins on the region’s secondary sewage treatment project.

Saanich Coun. Vic Derman put forward a motion for an independent review of the plan and parallel public input process to solicit alternative ideas, both in an effort to appease many residents who feel their concerns have not been heard.

The motion was defeated by directors 10-4, or 41-14 when weighted for population size.

Two disparate perspectives seem to be solidifying among local politicians. A majority of directors are publicly committed to the current plan because of a strict federally mandated compliance deadline of 2020 and the fear of losing federal and provincial funding, or two-thirds of the project’s $783-million price tag.

On the other side, a minority of directors that include Derman, View Royal Mayor Graham Hill, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins believe public confidence in the project continues to erode due to poor consultation.

“There is huge concern in the general public in terms of trust, confidence and confusion as to what the heck is going on,” Desjardins said.

“And we’re not doing ourselves any service down at CRD by not taking a pause, making sure we’ve answered those questions, and getting communities to come onside. You do that by understanding and by listening to them.”

The CRD is well into its request for proposals process for a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, scheduled for completion by 2016. Esquimalt has made that process more dubious by tweaking zoning approval to encourage commercial, residential and amenity development on the site in conjunction with the CRD project.

In a statement released last week, CRD chair Alistair Bryson said alternative sewage treatment options have already been considered and deemed to be too costly, and an appointed seven-person commission of unelected officials is already well underway in planning the current project.

“Pursuit of a new or parallel process could undermine the independence and work of the commission and significantly delay the entire project,” Bryson said.

Desjardins warned public discontent isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

“Many members of the public are trying to provide alternatives and questions that would provide better options and they’re being shut down, and that is not acceptable,” she said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Coun. Vic Derman’s motion included an extension of the federal compliance deadline for sewage treatment.

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

Just Posted

Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Louie family has operated Oxford Foods and predecessor for five decades at Cook and Oxford streets

WorkSafeBC investigating death at Victoria Customs House construction site

Prevention officer will ensure all safety issues addressed before work starts again

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

‘Broken Promises’ to acknowledge the thousands of Japanese Canadians who faced dispossession

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Rare fish washes onto Whiffin Spit in Sooke

Deep water fish identified as ‘King-of-the-salmon’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Most Read