The issue of sites came up during a planning and strategy session on public input during the Eastside Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery Select Committee meeting on March 4.
Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch attended the meeting in Mayor Nils Jensen’s place.
“My hope here is really that this committee fairly quickly and efficiently comes up with a list of possible sites, technologies and costs that might be viable as a standalone Eastside option, get that back to the CRD board as quickly as possible and have those three – Westside, Eastside and conjoined – options available.”
Costs are determined by linkages, locations and levels of expected treatment and early on it’s “very much an engineering exercise.”
“I think our job is to narrow it down as soon as possible to a few viable ones,” Murdoch said during discussion. “Then we can go out to public consultation and get a better understanding – they’re all going to have impact on traffic, on smell, on digging up roads and things to lay pipes – and get some public consultation back on that front.”
His sentiment that it’s “much easier for people to address a concrete proposal” was a common theme among the board.
The City of Victoria asked for a list of potential sites and asked each other municipality to provide the same.
They don’t have the time for a “blank notebook” and “open-ended public consultation” isn’t an option, said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps
“We don’t have that luxury right now,” Helps said. “What I would like, is to have each municipality at this table cough up some sites – not just a site because this is a really bad idea – and have some intelligent conversation with the public about what’s possible on those sites.”
Oak Bay staff will seek out potential wastewater treatment locations in the community to report back to an in-camera, or closed session, of council as it’s a land issue.
Each municipality would be expected to bring those possible sites back to the CRD in early April.
The next meeting of the Eastside committee is March 18.