The provincial government is supporting the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) request to the federal government for more time to submit a plan for wastewater treatment in order to receive millions of dollars in project funding.
In a letter to Amarjeet Sohi, minister of federal infrastructure and communities, B.C. Community Minister Peter Fassbender outlines how the province will provide facilitation support to allow the region to determine a path forward so the CRD can meet its accountabilities by 2020 as required by Environment Canada.
In the letter, Fassbender notes the project has experienced “significant difficulties” within the region as appropriate technology, scoping and site selection have been worked through. Despite the challenges, he said there has been a “resurgence of commitment among the region’s mayors to find a successful way forward for the project.”
The provincial facilitation will focus on two phases: technology review (a fact finding exercise regarding the potential technology options) and decision facilitation.
The CRD currently has until March 31 to submit its plan for wastewater treatment or risk losing $83 million in funding. The district has already received a one-year extension and plans to extend the current agreement to August.
Last month, the CRD approved a two-plant tertiary treatment system with facilities at Clover Point in Victoria and McLoughlin or Macaulay points in Esquimalt. The cost is more than $1 billion.
According to CRD staff, a sewage treatment plant at Clover Point would be constructed underground so it’s out of sight like the pump station currently there now. Construction, however, would likely take a couple years to complete.
The CRD’s plan has been submitted to Victoria and Esquimalt. Approval is needed from both councils in order ot move forward.