Sewage-dumping hurts region's image: tourism group

Tourism Victoria is throwing its support behind sewage treatment for Greater Victoria.

CEO Rob Gialloreto says the organization's board passed a motion at a meeting last week to write a clear position on the issue.

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"The position will say something to the effect that we wholeheartedly support sewage treatment. And we want to make sure we're responsible for our environment, but also our residents," he said.

Some tourism operators have expressed worry that Greater Victoria's practice of discharging screened sewage into the ocean could hurt tourism - especially from Washington state - and the region's image. But Gialloreto said he hasn't heard any specific concerns recently.

Whether the region's $783-million sewage treatment plan is appropriate for the region remains a matter of considerable public debate.

The plan calls for a single secondary treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt by 2018.

Gialloreto said Tourism Victoria doesn't want to wade into specifics about the plan, or the scientific debate.

"From our understanding, we believe in sewage treatment," he said. "Beyond that, we continue to monitor ... and talk to all the players, and we'll see how that goes.

We want to be really careful because it's not our business to talk scientifically."

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