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

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Busted water main floods Esquimalt home

Construction crew struck main during CRD wastewater facility construction

Saanich Police nab drunk driver who passed out at two red lights, kept driving

Hot rod motorcyclist, excessive speeding part of busy start to 2019 for Saanich Police traffic

Famous Peninsula chickens adopted out in days

CRD Animal Control re-homed 101 chickens corralled on the Peninsula

Langford cadets top podium in regional biathlon competition

Provincial Biathlon Competition set for Mount Washington on Feb. 9 and 10

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

BREAKING: At least one person has died in a motor vehicle accident in Port Alberni

Burde Street closed as emergency personnel wait for collision analysis team

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

B.C. home sales drop 25% in 2018

The B.C. Real Estate Association points to the federal government’s mortage stress test

Canada asks China for clemency for B.C. man sentenced to death, Freeland says

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to 15 years, but after new trial, was sentenced to die

B.C. surgery wait list has ballooned, group says

B.C. Anesthesiologists’ Society says surgical waits have risen by three times the rate of population

Most Read