The subject of sewage treatment has been a contentious one for more than 30 years in Greater Victoria and has so far cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
While some in the region have already begun treating wastewater – Saanich Peninsula started in 2000, while Sooke completed a system upgrade in 2005 – the region’s core and West Shore municipalities send untreated sewage into Juan de Fuca Strait.
The cost, siting and engineering of a regional treatment project make this a complex undertaking from a technical standpoint, but also from a political one, as council representatives from seven municipalities debate plans.
In the past six years alone, the Capital Regional District has spent tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars on research, consultant fees, land purchases and construction. Completion of the project is estimated to cost more than a $1 billion. Annual operating costs will add to the amount for which homeowners and commercial property owners will be on the hook.
It’ll be up to municipalities and the CRD to determine how the tax burden is divided. But who’s making these decisions, and who is holding them accountable?
To help readers gain a better understanding of where we’ve been, where we are now, who’s involved and what the future holds, Black Press assembled an investigative journalism team to provide perspective and help simplify this complex topic.
Starting in tomorrow’s Victoria News, Saanich News, Oak Bay News, Goldstream News Gazette and Peninsula News Review, and next Wednesday's Sooke News Mirror, our five-part series will tackle issues ranging from where money has been spent and the sites being considered to what other cities have done and what scientists say.
We’ll ask for feedback along the way and encourage you to connect with your community newspaper. Write letters to the editor or comment on Facebook and Twitter.
This special Black Press presentation aims to give you new insights into this complicated issue.
To listen to Goldstream News Gazette editor Don Descoteau's interview on Friday about the new series with CFAX 1070 host Ian Jessop, scan to the 33:40 mark below.