Financial plan lacking for sewage project

Economics of treatment project don't add up for reader

Ten of 14 members on the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee are itching to push taxpayers into a huge financial black hole with the CRD’s treatment project, despite the lack of a sensible, conservative financial strategy.

B.C. promises to pay its one-third share of the $783-billion cost when the project is finished – after the CRD proves it works – and after the federal government contributes its one-third share. CRD taxpayers will cover the other third, plus any cost overruns.

The province and feds haven’t signed anything that guarantees their conditional promises. But don’t worry, politicians never go back on their word, do they? And government projects never go over budget, do they?

The proposed system’s effective life is 20 years, give or take. Components such as the concrete should last a long time, unlike other components such as the capacity. The technology could well be obsolete before the plant is complete and the benefits are nil.

If we’re stuck with high cost overruns, reneged promises, operating costs and interest, the potential financial drain on CRD taxpayers could cripple the local economy. The sewage committee’s legacy could be skyrocketing property taxes and utility bills, negatively impacted property values and a higher cost of living, potentially causing people to move out of the region.

Approving the project without an appropriate financial plan is beyond poor judgment. It’s irresponsible, dangerous, high risk and grossly negligent.

Nine days ago, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty forecast higher federal deficits that put election promises in doubt. A week later, he pledged more cash for Victoria, noting that the Building Canada Fund doesn’t expire until 2014. But promises aren’t worth squat.

The CRD can hope for the best, but should provide for the worst by signing sewage-water-tight financial agreements with B.C. and the feds before going a step further. Financial plans B, C and D would help, too.

Norman Clark

Victoria

Just Posted

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival returns to its roots, 20 years in

Longstanding music event brings together myriad talent in various genres

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Province funds $88.6M for two new schools in Langford by 2022

Langford gets 500-seat elementary school and a 700-seat middle school

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read