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.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Esquimalt puts freeze on taxes for local businesses

The tax increase for residents sits at 5.51 per cent, averaging to an additional $46

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Development replacing Fairfield United Church gets final approval

The new Unity Commons Development will take over the space at 1303 Fairfield Rd.

Saanich forwards student-targeted development to public hearing

Proposed development advertises itself to individuals who want a car-free lifestyle

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Most Read