CRD using tax dollars as toilet paper

Extreme tax hit coming if sewage treatment project goes over budget

Be prepared for a massive property tax hike. As the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment plan is just getting started, local politicians are expressing concerns that extra costs for incinerators, barging and other unforeseen expenses may lead to cost overruns borne entirely by local taxpayers.

CRD sewage committee chair Denise Blackwell said she was once convinced the project would come in on budget, but now she’s not sure. Provincial and federal “fixed” contributions total two-thirds of the project’s $783-million budget. Victoria-area taxpayers will fund the rest. This amounts to several hundred dollars per year on a typical home.

Given the fixed portion of funding, if the project goes over budget by one third, your tax portion doubles. If it goes over by two-thirds, it triples. If you look at the track record of large infrastructure projects taken on by governments, this is quite possible.

The irony is that I haven’t seen any evidence that the CRD treatment plan will be a net benefit to the environment. This project is a major drain on resources that could have gone into necessary projects such as increased seniors housing, improving the Colwood crawl, or storm sewer upgrades (surface runoff contains more contaminants than sewage). Instead, we are flushing massive amounts of money down the toilet.

Jeff St. Gelais

Saanich