Too much sewage uncertainty

Circumstances such as potential for Colwood withrdrawal dictate reconsidering Capital Region's treatment plan

Re: Sewage price tag swells with delay: taxpayers advocate (News, Feb. 7).

Over the years the continued growth in the Capital Regional District has seen a greater amount of (screened) sewage pumped into Strait of Juan de Fuca.

What CRD governance issue could be growing even faster? That would be the cost of the proposed sewage treatment project, from the planning estimate of $783 million to the total submitted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation of $830 million. I’m inclined to believe that, as there’s still no confirmation of the sewage treatment site or (without contracts) cost confirmation of the treatment plant or a biosolids and incinerator facility.

Unfortunately, these new and significantly higher costs follow the earlier troubling promise of $13 million for Esquimalt “amenities” (also known as bribes). This total included costs for such sewage treatment necessities as oceanfront walkways and bike lanes. Clearly we need new options.

There may be good news on the horizon. Of the seven CRD municipalities participating in the sewage project, Colwood is considering withdrawing to build its own system. With one of seven municipalities having publicly announced possible non-participation, odds are that some of the other six are also quietly considering new options.

Time is of the essence as the present project manager himself has confirmed overall project costs are quickly growing.

In any alliance campaign, there are obvious risks if one or more of the allies announce they may withdraw. It’s time for the CRD to reconsider the presently proposed sewage treatment project.

Ron Johnson


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