Metal recycling site courts CRD for Greater Victoria biosolids site

Schnitzer Steel goes public with bid to sell land for biosolids processing plant

As if the Capital Region’s sewage treatment plans needed another wild card.

This week, Schnitzer Steel – a scrap metal yard located on Victoria’s upper harbour – revealed it was willing to vacate half of its leased heavy industrial property to make way for the Capital Regional District’s biosolids processing plant.

The company said it wanted to offer an alternative solution to the controversy surrounding properties at Esquimalt’s light industrial park on Viewfield Road and at Saanich’s Hartland landfill for the biosolids plant. A separate wastewater treatment facility is slated for McLoughlin Point.

In the 11th-hour announcement, Schnitzer said efficiencies in its recycling process mean 1.6 hectares of its 3.2 ha property at 307 David St. are up for grabs, if the CRD offers the right purchasing price.

Property owner Fred Berman is also on board with the plan, but negotiations with the CRD already fell apart once when neither party could agree on a purchase price, said Michael Geoghegan, media spokesman for Schnitzer.

Complicating the proposal is the need to remediate the soil, which has been used for industrial purposes for more than a century.

Instead of purchasing the land, the CRD could take out a 50-year lease on the property to avoid clean-up costs at a comparable overall cost to the Viewfield Road site, Geoghegan said.

“We thought we’d approach the CRD again and make it public and discuss the pros and cons. … Even if we need to deal with the soil issue, let’s focus on getting to yes,” he said.

CRD spokesman Andy Orr confirmed discussions with the property owner began two years ago and that talks were still taking place as recently as February of this year.

“We were under a confidentiality agreement with the owner,” Orr said. “If we could come to an agreement, it’s a viable site … but we’d have to come to a pretty quick resolution.”

On Friday, neither Schnitzer representatives nor Berman had held discussions with the CRD to discuss reopening negotiations, Orr said.

Geoghegan suggested the CRD could also take advantage of a rebuilt dock at the David Street facility to barge biosolids waste instead of using trucks through urban areas.

The assessed value of the eight acre-property is about $1.5 million, according to City of Victoria documents.

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

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read