Colwood to ask sewage Project Board to postpone assessment

An environmental study surrounding a potential Colwood plant is deemed a waste for a facility that is decades away from construction.

In the end, Colwood council decided it simply didn’t make sense to conduct a $2-million environmental impact assessment for a project that might not come to fruition for 25 years or more.

On Monday council voted to request that the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board postpone the assessment – which would determine the viability of discharging treated effluent into the ground – until the planned McLoughlin Point plant is within an estimated five years of capacity, which isn’t projected to happen until at least 2040.

Originally, it wasn’t clear to Colwood and Mayor Carol Hamilton when a facility might be constructed in the municipality following the assessment. When it became clear that it wouldn’t be built until it was absolutely needed, the study didn’t seem worth it.

“Technology is changing constantly, systems are being improved (and) footprints on plants are being improved,” Hamilton said.

She also noted that potential land identified as useful for a plant now might not be available decades down the road.

While the $2 million would have come from the Capital Regional District rather than the city, taxpayer money is taxpayer money, Hamilton said, and council didn’t feel it was a “prudent use” of public funds.

“It just didn’t make sense to spend (potentially) another $2 million dollars of taxpayer money … on a study that would end up sitting on a shelf for 30 years or so.”

During the Nov. 14 meeting, Colwood chief administrative officer Ian Howat also noted that changing political landscapes might make the study a waste.

“What we do today may not be palatable for the councillors four or five terms from now, and that also applies to the CRD elected officials as well,” he said before recommending that council request postponement of the study.

Colwood has been vocal about wastewater treatment plants in the past as it tries to ensure City residents aren’t stuck paying an unfair portion of the bill, with only about 30 per cent of the municipality’s homes connected to sewers.

The City was willing to provide land for its own facility, but the CRD eventually rejected the idea of several smaller facilities in the region in favour of a large, centralized plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point.

Hamilton would have preferred it if the CRD had looked at a different solution than the single, high-capacity plant at McLoughlin. She used the example of Royal Bay secondary, which is already at capacity in its second scholastic year, as an example of what can happen when decisions are made without proper forward thinking.

“I don’t want people looking at this in a short period of time going, ‘you had a chance to do it all brand new and this is what you took?’” she said.

Colwood Coun. Cynthia Day was stronger in voicing her displeasure with the McLoughlin result at this week’s council meeting.

“After all the time and effort that was made to look at something innovative … we are right back to where we started, forced to participate in a (plant) downtown based on population projections that are fatally flawed,” she said.

“As much as I’m unhappy with that and the subsequent additional costs and lack of environmental benefit for the citizens of Colwood, I think it would be foolish to start trying to plan for a future that’s that far away.”

The CRD was not immediately available for comment.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: View Royal resident spots cougar in nearby backyard

B.C. Conservation notified about early Thursday morning sighting

Group desperate to find solution to wrecks lining shores of Cadboro Bay

Caddy Bay ‘a wild west’ without authority, say locals

Victoria police arrest two people during ‘tweet-a-long’ Strike Force operation

VicPD offering ‘behind the scenes’ look at the operation

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

COVID-19 demolishes new construction in Greater Victoria

Value of new building permits in Greater Victoria drop more than 37 per cent

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Most Read