Editorial: Treatment foes must hound CRD

In 2007, the News had a discussion with a broad-based, highly placed group of scientists from the University of Victoria.

In 2007, the News had a discussion with a broad-based, highly placed group of scientists from the University of Victoria.

Focused only partly on the price tag of the Capital Regional District’s proposed sewage treatment system, they said the net benefit to the local marine environment of pumping treated sewage into the ocean, rather than screened raw sewage, would be minimal. Other more pressing problems, such as the loss of marine habitat due to development and the impact of invasive, non-native species – not to mention the effect of polluted stormwater – should take financial precedence, they said.

We believed them then and still find their arguments, and those of anti-treatment group ARREST, led by ex-Colwood mayor John Bergbusch and former medical health officer Dr. Shaun Peck, compelling.

While the CRD held open houses outlining a range of strategies for heeding the provincial mandate to treat the region’s sewage, there was virtually no public consultation around the actual decision to treat or not treat our effluent.

That is problematic. But with federal regulations stipulating wastewater treatment now in place, an extra set of regulatory eyes are watching how the CRD proceeds on this matter.

If, as former Victoria MP and environment minister David Anderson implied Monday at an ARESST press conference at Clover Point, the opportunity remains for the region to lobby for an exemption to the federal rules, based on a lack of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of secondary treatment, that needs to be determined as quickly as possible.

But for the feds to make a funding announcement for the CRD project in the high-profile manner seen last week, it’s clear they’ve made up their mind on this issue.

The Stephen Harper Conservatives are not in the habit of leaving much to chance when it comes to their public image. Pulling an about-face now, especially after coming out with new federal regulations so soon afterward, would make them look pretty foolish.

The role of the treatment opponents should now shift to keeping the CRD’s feet to the fire and ensuring hundreds of millions of dollars of tax money are spent wisely.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is a tough market, even for former homeowners

Seniors often squeezed out of the housing market due to limited income

Garry Oak Meadow Marathon underway at Cattle Point

Every Sunday in February and March Friends of Uplands Park is seeking volunteers

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read