Letter: Amalgamation the difference in sewage situation

Single municipality makes it simpler to make land use decisions

Re: Sewage in the CRD, Oak Bay News

I just wanted to let you and your team know how pleased I am that you have planned a series of articles to report on this thorny issue.

This fits clearly within your mandate as a community newspaper and is a great service to the community you serve. I can already see that you are filling in some information gaps that I feel have never been covered adequately in the daily press. Typically we get a lot of on- off reporting decisions taken at individual meetings of the CRD sewage committee, but a big picture overview and analysis is desperately needed.

Just one thought about your reporting on the Halifax solution that is pertinent to our fraught decision making process in the CRD.  Halifax was amalgamated many years back and a single governance body can make decisions for a very wide region on land use planning matters, programs and municipal services.

In the CRD, where municipalities hold zoning powers but sewage service is provided at the regional level, it is much harder to get to “yes” – a great argument for amalgamation if ever there was one. However, the CRD has the bylaw authority to set sewage rates. I do wonder if they could offer tax rate reductions to the properties most affected by the construction/disruption, if not in perpetuity then at least for a few  years. Redistributing the costs this way might help to get the necessary zoning approvals at the local level.

I look forward to following this in my Oak Bay News over the coming weeks.

Lesley J. Watson

Oak Bay