Esquimalt residents made it made it clear at an environment-focused all-candidates meeting Tuesday that sewage continues to be at the forefront of their minds.
The recipient of the majority of sewage treatment plant questions was mayoral candidate John Ducker, regarding his competency and knowledge of the issue.
“I don’t have enough background in terms of understanding the engineering,” said Ducker. “I’m trying to learn a lot of this as I go along.”
Ducker said his main priority with the sewage plant is getting the best deal for Esquimalt taxpayers, and he will be open to all options. He clarified that McLoughlin Point, Macaulay Point and Viewfield Road are off the table.
Ducker expressed concern about the possibility of future lawsuits, and asked how much the public would be willing to pay in that situation.
“We also have to consider the potential effect of lawsuits from other municipalities and how far we will go to defend ourselves on that. If the province orders it, are we going to take them to court up to the Supreme Court of Canada and spend money on lawyers to do that? This thing should not be at all costs,” said Ducker.
Esquimalt council candidate Susan Low said she does not think it is fair for the township to have to choose between economic and environmental aspects of sewage treatment.
“The fact that we’re here is the sign that we’ve been victim of a very flawed process in getting us to this point at the CRD,” said Low. “Had the CRD properly consulted and had they kept an open mind to alternative technology and alternative sites, we would probably have a tertiary decentralized system under construction.”
Council candidate Tim Morrison said the municipalities in the CRD need to stop fighting about where to put the sewage treatment plant in order to move forward.
“It’s something we have to do as a region.”
Mayor Barb Desjardins said the plant should be put somewhere that will serve as a benefit.
“In order to take advantage of the water resource, the water reclamation, you have to site something where there is going to be a market for that.”