Province steps in, recommends new project board for sewage treatment project

The province has recommended the CRD set up an independent panel of experts of oversee the wastewater treatment project.

There are 24 members on the Capital Regional District (CRD) board, each representing their respective communities from around Greater Victoria and all with differing views on how to move forward with a wastewater treatment plant to serve the region.

But now, the province is fed up with the CRD’s inability to move forward with the project and will set up an independent panel of experts to oversee the issue.

Communities Minister Peter Fassbender recently noted the project has a complex governance model that “needs to be separated from other organizational governance as responsibilities are currently divided between committees,” and warned the CRD could risk losing $500 million in funding.

During a meeting Wednesday, the province put forward a number of recommendations, which the CRD accepted, including establishing an independent project board and project director to set a project plan and schedule, select sites and develop a business case.

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

“What the minister did is outline the realities of where in the time frame and provided some review through their facilitator and helped bring some clarity to some key areas,” said CRD chair and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. “We recognize this is an extremely complex governance system that we have. The reality is is that we have struggled to come together and move forward. We asked the province for help, they are providing it . . . we want the region to move forward with this.”

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 Sept. 30 to identify a site(s) for a wastewater treatment plant, which also includes zoning. The current proposed plan calls for two secondary or tertiary sewage plants at either McLoughlin or Macaulay Point 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.

Approval is needed from both Victoria and Esquimalt council in order to move forward, but both municipalities have been hesitant to do so.

Esquimalt council has been vocal about having a single plant at McLoughlin Point and rejected the idea two years ago, but Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen placed it on the table again a few months ago. The site already has proper zoning. Most recently, Esquimalt council sent a letter to the CRD stating the township will not support the placement of a wastewater treatment facility in its borders unless it is a portion of a distributed system with another plant in another municipality. Desjardins would not comment specifically on McLoughlin Point and whether it could potentially be the site for the plant.

“At the end of the day, if it’s going to depend on a community rezoning a particular property and they refuse, that will be the end of the line,” said Jensen, adding Esquimalt could technically still pull the zoning on the site. “The minister made it clear that the zoning has to be in place by the end of September and trying to get rezoning or some of the other sites is going to be difficult in that time frame.”

 

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

Just Posted

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Saanich parks staff will be applying a herbicide called Garlon XRT in Sayward Hill Park between Jan. 18 to 29 to control the invasive species English holly and hawthorn. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Herbicide used to target ‘priority’ invasive species in Saanich park

Treatment applied to English holly, hawthorn stumps, in Sayward Hill Park

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

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

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read