The Esquimalt First Nation Reserve, Esquimalt Lampson Field, Bullen Park, and the Esquimalt Works Yard and town centre have been named as potential locations for a west side wastewater treatment facility.
The list, announced in a media conference Thursday at the Songhees Wellness Centre, also names two sites in Langford, 11 in Colwood, and one in View Royal, including Colwood City Hall and West Shore Parks and Recreation. Others include such vacant properties as the Royal Bay development lands near the new high school and private land currently sitting empty at Veteran’s Memorial Parkway and Kelly Road in Langford.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, co-chair of the Westside Select Committee, said the sites were chosen based on a number of factors — proximity to infrastructure and truck routes, potential for resource recovery, water reuse and heat and site size, among other things.
“Really, these sites were put forward [in Esquimalt] because they are municipality-owned pieces of property, they have the size,” said Desjardins, noting there is the potential for private landowners to come forward to have their sites accessed, but none have done so in Esquimalt yet.
She added these potential sites offer opportunities to enhance services to residents.
“For example, Bullen Field, would enhance the sport field and potentially improved the configuration of the sports centre and the rec centre, there’s a number of opportunities there should the public feel like they’re interested in looking at it,” Desjardins said.
With the Capital Regional District moving away from the previous “one site” idea for wastewater treatment, the Westside Solutions group, including Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations and Esquimalt, has split the concept further
Desjardins said a westside system of wastewater treatment could include anywhere from one to four of the locations under consideration, depending on the sites chosen and how the system is designed. Various facets of treatment could be spread between different locations, depending on how the public consultation plays out over the summer.
“Now we’re at that step were we’re saying ‘what are your thoughts, what other information do you need to help you with those sites and narrowing down sites and process’,” she said. “The public process last time as appalling, we want to make sure that the public is part of the decision-making in each step as we go forward.”
There will be an opportunity for public input online for roughly the next month, as the committee hopes to have a plan to present by March 2016.
A public open house is also planned for Wednesday (June 24) at the Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel in Victoria to continue the dialogue and discuss the Westside and Eastside proposed locations and plans and
Carol Hamilton, co-chair of the committee, said she’s not only unconcerned that the majority of the sites chosen at this phase of the project are within her municipality, she’s actually happy about it.
“Colwood stepped forward about three years ago saying we’d happily take a site,” she said. “It was going to be in conjunction with the Capital City Centre project. That has stopped, but it hasn’t stopped the optimism of Colwood,” in the possibility having a treatment site within its borders.
View the full list of proposed sites, including the analysis that went into choosing them, at westsidesolutions.ca.