Politicos call for full sewage environmental study

Oak Bay mayor says debate missing 'sanity and rationality.'

Two Greater Victoria politicians are calling for a full environmental study on regional sewage treatment, a delay others fear could jeopardize government funding.

Saanich councillor Vic Derman and Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, who sit on the Capital Regional District liquid waste committee, want to halt work on the $782-million regional sewage project to conduct a full environmental impact and cost benefit study.

Derman maintains that every credible study points to minimal harm associated with the current system of piping screened sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The federal government should change its designation of that system from high to low risk, he said, a move that would delay the requirement for changing the current system by 20 years to 2040.

“Every scientist, and even the CRD’s own reports show that no damage results from the current system,” Derman said. “We don’t have any emergency here. It’s a three quarter of a billion dollar solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Jensen agrees. “What’s been missing, other than sanity and rationality, is a full environmental impact study,” he said.

“Theatre and perception is triumphing over science. It’s a bad basis for public policy making. Private industry wouldn’t undertake a project of this kind without study.”

Victoria councillor Geoff Young, the CRD board chair, disagrees.

He admitted that CRD reports don’t point to an environmental emergency in the current system, but said that it’s likely that damage to the marine ecosystem isn’t fully understood.

“It would be like taking an air sample in Victoria and using it to say that we have no carbon footprint,” he said.

Young said that delays have risks and that federal and provincial funding could disappear. “That could leave the municipalities to pick up the entire cost of the project,” he said.

Jensen has heard that argument, and said it falls flat.

“It’s a heck of a lot of money,” he said. “But that’s the point. If it’s not the right thing to do, we shouldn’t go ahead. Just think of what we could do with our portion of the money. A quarter of a billion dollars? We could end homelessness, improve roads and bike trails … the list goes on.”

Jack Hull, the interim project director of the regional sewage treatment project does not agree with any delay. “These are federal and provincial regulations. They are not optional. Nothing (in the plan) can change,” he said.

Derman’s motion for a study is scheduled for debate within the CRD sewage committee on Nov. 15.

“This is about the most important political issue we have (in Victoria),” Jensen said. “The only way we’ll be heard is if we collaborate and work together with the seven communities who have a stake in this.”

Information on the Liquid Waste Plan can be found at crd.bc.ca/wastewater.

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

Victoria cannabis dispensaries are busy in their first days of legal operation

The Cloud Nine Collective and The Original FARM opened their doors on April 15

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read