It is telling that after a well-organized and seemingly well-funded campaign to stop the Capital Regional District's sewage-treatment plan, candidates in the recent byelection most closely associated with opposition to the project garnered less than 30 per cent of the popular vote.
The number of votes cast for political candidates is, of course, an imperfect measure of voter attitudes, but it can be assumed that the preponderance of votes cast in support of the NDP and Green candidates (despite the latter's curiously equivocal position on the sewage treatment plan) were supportive of the plan. The assertion by the anti-sewage-treatment (pro-pollution?) lobby that the majority of voters oppose the plan therefore smells both of sour grapes and poor losers.
Granted, there are reasons to oppose the plan. The cost of the project is clearly a major concern. A tax increase is unwelcome at any level; but I have not heard from opponents of the plan what cost would be considered reasonable. It would not be surprising, moreover, if Oak Bay residents, who will be most heavily impacted by the costs of the project (due to their past underinvestment in sewage infrastructure) were the most vocal (and articulate) critics. It should also not be overlooked that the scientific objections to the need for sewage treatment seem to rest on an almost 20-year old study. The scientific issues, like the waters off Clover Point, appear murky.
The CRD sewage committee is therefore to be commended for rejecting the motion to sabotage the plan. And it seems reasonable to support additional study - not to delay, but to validate and improve the current project.
But we should not allow the vocal minority to derail a project much-needed for the present and the future.
© Copyright 2013