Uninformed sentiment guides sewage debate

Re: “Important Victoria ranking overlooked,” letter, Oct. 15, and “Leadership needed in sewage issue,” Oct. 14.

The Campbell River letter-writer’s view that Victoria is the “Poop Capital of Canada” is precisely the sort of uninformed sentiment that propelled the Capital Regional District into the current sewage impasse.

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It is pointless comparing Campbell River apples with Victoria oranges. The strong tides flooding past Campbell River in Discovery Passage lead directly into an amorphous tidal point, whereas north and south tides around Vancouver Island meet in the scenic Desolation Sound area, where sea water, and any sewage in it, can sit undisturbed for months. We should also disregard interference by the governor of Washington state — the measured toxic runoff from industrial sources in Puget Sound dwarfs the negligible pollution counts found off Victoria.

A more valid comparison might be the City of San Diego, a much larger community, which uses a similar sewage system to that currently employed by Victoria, involving screening and long outfalls into the ocean. San Diego’s system has been given specific approval by U.S. health authorities.

Whether or not the San Diego approach is appropriate for Victoria, what our civic leaders must do is follow the sort of courageous, open-minded and scientific approach to the issue recommended by former CRD medical officer Shaun Peck in his commentary.

We must at all costs prevent uninformed “Mr. Floatie” sentiment from stampeding the CRD into another poorly planned and very expensive exercise leading nowhere.

Terrence Milne





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