Victoria infrastructure: No sewage commission? No problem

Esquimalt mayor upset at timing of first stage in treatment plant construction process

Capital Regional District directors have approved the first major step towards constructing a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, despite the absence of an expert commission destined to oversee the project.

A request for qualifications was issued last week and runs until the end of June. The CRD will then select three proponents, with the construction contract to be awarded by the end of 2013. Builders are slated to break ground on the project by spring 2014.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins objected to the timing of the bids, saying it would have been useful to have the commission’s expertise in the process.

“Why did we have to rush it?” she said.

“The commission will likely be set up within a month.”

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt, who also sits on the CRD wastewater committee, said most directors chose to move forward because any delays can increase the overall cost of the project.

“It’s also important people know that the RFQ process is like an interview, where you present your resumé and prove you can build a project on this scale,” he said.

The design specifics and potential innovations are considered at the following stage, the request for proposals, he added.

The regional district will hold a design open house in April to solicit ideas from the public and explain the design process.

The successful company will be required to have a financial stake in the project during construction and for a two-year performance proving period after the plant goes into service.

The treatment plant will be owned and operated by the CRD.

The $783-million treatment project includes the construction of the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant, a marine outfall, a Biosolids Energy Centre, pumping stations and upgrades to sewage pipes.

To access the RFQ, visit crd.bc.ca or bcbid.gov.bc.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com