Saanich council including Coun. Judy Brownoff heard from the project board overlooking the regional wastewater treatment project. (Black Press File).

Councillor criticizes board overseeing wastewater treatment project

Coun. Judy Brownoff accuses project board of ignoring public input

A Saanich councillor openly criticized officials in charge of the regional wastewater treatment project.

Coun. Judy Brownoff directed her comments at members of the project board overseeing the core area wastewater treatment project. They include project director David Clancy and deputy project director Elizabeth Scott.

Brownoff’s critique came after the board had announced that it would change the alignment of a pipeline carrying residual biosolids from the future wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt to Hartland Landfill in Saanich to save up to 50 trees along the east side of Grange Road.

Residents had opposed the initial alignment because it would have led to the loss of those trees. This possibility prompted an outburst of lobbying by area residents, which culminated in the submission of a 380-name petition by former MLA and Saanich councillor David Cubberley leading a delegation of residents.

During this period, residents also charged the project board with failure to consult residents, and Brownoff seemed to go a step further by suggesting that the project board acted against whatever input it had received.

RELATED: Capital Regional District moves pipeline to save up to 50 trees

RELATED: Grange Road residents optimistic CRD will change pipeline plans

Brownoff said she had told concerned Grange Road residents attending an open house in late November to contact the project board, only to hear from residents a week later that the work was going ahead.

“I must say I was shocked when residents got a hold of me the very next week that the project board had gone out, ribboned trees [and] spray-painted sidewalks, and that there really hadn’t been any follow up on the [feedback] cards,” she said.

Brownoff said she herself was a “little bit upset” because staff had specifically asked her to tell residents to fill out the feedback cards on the implied promise that the project board would listen to them.

“So you can understand the angst that happened in the community, because they just didn’t think that even afer filling in [feedback] cards letting the project board know their concerns, they would be listened to,” she said.

This prompted Brownoff to ask the delegation how the project board would handle future public engagement forums.

“I want some assurance that if you are going to use [feedback] cards, that the residents do get some follow-up from you, and you don’t automatically go out and start working,” she said.

Scott said the project board does listen to feedback.

“In this case, the timing was unfortunate,” she said. Pre-construction started soon after the feedback had arrived and the board “entirely” understands the concerns of residents, she said. “We will make efforts to make sure that sort of timing doesn’t happen again.”

Scott also confirmed the new pipeline alignment would save all of the trees on Grange Road, adding she does not anticipate similar situations along other sections of the pipeline in promising to work with the public.

Mayor Fred Haynes praised the board’s response in also thanking council and area residents including Cubberley for their respective efforts.

Looking at the larger picture, the public heard the $765-million project remains on budget and schedule. Under the terms of the project, it must be ready to meet provincial and federal treatment guidelines by Dec. 31, 2020.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

District of Saanich

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

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

Most Read