Next up for sewage: Westside options considered

In two weeks, people will have another chance to weigh in and pare down a list of potential sites for at least secondary sewage treatment.

Through public consultation involving about 2,000 people, a list of 47 potential sites on the east side of the region — in Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay — was narrowed last week to 27.

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Of the remaining sites, 19 garnered a mixed level of support in public consultations and surveys, while eight had a high level of support. About half of those eight sites are in the Rock Bay area of Victoria. The remainder are located at Clover Point, coast guard land beside Ogden Point, University of Victoria lands, and a public works yard in Saanich. None is in Oak Bay.

Over the next two weeks, engineers will determine how technically feasible the sites are. The 47 potential sites were suggested by municipal councils.

Everything is open for discussion, according to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who chairs the Capital Regional District eastside select committee.

Some parcels of land will be better suited to a distributed model of sewage treatment while others will be able to accommodate a centralized model.

Different types of sewage treatment and resource recovery will also be explored.

The province requires secondary treatment of sewage, a process that removes biosolids. More land would be needed to accommodate a tertiary sewage treatment plant, which also removes contaminants from the water.

On June 24, the eastside and westside select committees will present their regional sites for wastewater treatment for input from the public. A brief presentation in the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel’s Harbour Room will kick off the open house, which runs 5-7 p.m.

The westside select committee, representing Esquimalt, Colwood, Langford, View Royal and the Songhees First Nation, has not revealed any potential sites.

An interactive online survey will also be available from June 24 until about July 10. Feedback via letters and emails will also be accepted.

Over the summer, the two CRD committees will hire an independent engineering team to look at preferred solutions. At the end of this process, there will be more opportunity for input on sites and technologies.

The hope is to have an approved plan and a zoned site or sites by March 2016.

The CRD’s sewage-treatment project has a budget of $788 million. The federal and provincial governments are to contribute two-thirds of the cost, while the remainder is to come from local taxpayers.

For more information on the CRD’s sewage treatment plan, go to crd.bc.ca/seaterra-program.

charnett@timescolonist.com

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