McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt is being looked at a possible site for a new sewage treament plant.

McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt is being looked at a possible site for a new sewage treament plant.

Mayor hopeful new provincial board will advance sewage project provincial board

There has been much emotion surrounding the CRD plans to build a wastewater treatment plant to serve the region.

There has been much emotion surrounding the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) plans to build a wastewater treatment plant to serve the region, especially when it comes to deciding where the site(s) will go. But now, that emotion is being taken out and the project can finally move forward, according to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Last week, the province stepped in to help manage the controversial project.

Communities Minister Peter Fassbender noted the project’s governance model of 24 directors from municipalities around Greater Victoria is complex and “needs to be separated from other organizational governance as responsibilities are currently divided between committees.” He also warned the CRD could risk losing $500 million in funding if it doesn’t meet the Sept. 30 deadline to identify a site for the plant.

The province put forward a number of recommendations to help move the project forward, which the CRD accepted. Recommendations include establishing an independent project board and project director to set a plan and schedule, select sites and develop a business case, based on the work that’s already been done.

The project board will bring all recommendations to the CRD, who would ultimately have the final say.

“It’s a very positive step. I think it’s a very good thing,” Helps said.

“I think everyone was looking for a way forward and it was unnecessarily complex. Not only the governance model, but I think really the challenge became that everybody fancied themselves an engineer — some elected officials think they’re engineers, members of the public think they’re engineers. Community engagement is important for sure, but you can’t have a community engineering project.”

Helps said part of the problem is there’s been so much emotion around where the wastewater treatment plant could potentially go.

The current proposed plan calls for two secondary or tertiary sewage plants at either McLoughlin or Macaulay points in Esquimalt and Clover Point in Victoria at a cost of roughly $1 billion. A third facility would eventually be constructed somewhere on the West Shore.

However, since those sites were named, there has been immense backlash from residents in Esquimalt and Victoria.

“We’ll wait and see. Is it Clover (Point), is it McLoughlin, is it Rock Bay or some other site that we haven’t even thought of yet, who knows? I think the speculation over sites has really harmed the project,” Helps said, adding she will be open to the recommendations the project board makes.

“(The board) will take the emotion out of it. When people hear about this site and that site it becomes an emotional process and you can’t build a $783 million- project on emotion.”

CRD board chair and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins agreed.

“There’s a lot of emotion out there, every time you turn around, there’s another concern that’s coming out of the public,” she said. “I think this is important for our public, for our region to recognize the board is moving forward, that we know there is a timeline and that we are going to meet it.”

Over the next two weeks, staff will be working with the province to recommend candidates for the six to seven-person project board.

The CRD has until Jan. 1 2021 to complete the project.

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Most Read