CRD should ask province to analyze sewage project

Re: “Sewage plant’s future is murky,” editorial, April 9.

The editorial asks “What now?” given that Esquimalt council rejected the Capital Regional District’s application to build a sewage plant at McLoughlin Point.

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CRD staff recommends asking the province to overturn the council’s ruling. In the legislature Tuesday, Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver asked Environment Minister Mary Polak if the province would intervene. Polak replied: “I can assure the member that our position remains the same today as it has in the past … we have no plans to intervene.”

The CRD should ask the province for an independent cost analysis in 2014 dollars with 2014 technology of distributed tertiary sewage treatment versus the CRD plan. It should be a full, comprehensive life-cycle analysis that compares the options with a focus on maximizing not only resource recovery, but also financial results.

The analysis could start with Colwood. Colwood proposes to do its own project without federal or provincial funds. And it expects to be able to do tertiary treatment for less than the cost of the CRD’s secondary treatment. They aren’t exiting for fun; they’re exiting because they know their taxpayers will pay less than under the CRD’s plan and they’ll get a better, more sustainable result.

Greater Victoria needs to treat its sewage by 2020. But we also need a world-leading, cost-effective, long-term plan. And, we need to get the plan and the numbers right before a contract is awarded.

Lisa Helps

Victoria city councillor

 

 

 

 

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