Federal wastewater grant deadline extended

CRD receives a six-month extension from PPP Canada

The Capital Regional District still needs to boogie despite scoring a little wiggle room on its major sewage treatment funding.

The CRD received a six-month extension from PPP Canada, providing $83.4 million for the biosolids energy centre project. It is one of three federal funding partners helping pay for the region’s sewage project.

“It’s a good thing, it’s what we hoped for,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “We have to now be aware that six months will go very quickly.”

He noted that includes summer months where public hearings are traditionally not held due to expected low turnout.

“There’s lots of work to be done now, namely identifying the site or sites and ensuring the proper zoning is in place,” Jensen said.

“We’re still a ways away from those goal posts.”

The amended conditional financial agreement gives the CRD until Sept. 30 to make significant progress on a plan, primarily site selection, for the project.

“We recognize the efforts and steps being taken by the CRD to address the challenges encountered with respect to site selection for the wastewater treatment plant,” PPP Canada CEO John McBride wrote in a letter to CRD chief administrative officer Robert Lapham.

Subsequent extensions of the Sept. 30 deadline, he added, would be “based on the CRD’s ability to move forward with the selection of a site for the wastewater treatment plant and to make real progress with respect to the plan.”

The CRD submitted the 10th amendment to its original Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan to the province last week. It included recommended treatment plant sites at Clover Point in Victoria and either McLoughlin or Macaulay points in Esquimalt.

The province, which previously committed to contribute one-third of the original $782.5 million cost of the single-plant McLoughlin Point project, helped facilitate the extension and is working with the CRD to move the project forward.

“I would like to thank PPP Canada for the extension and I am grateful they recognize the progress we have made over the last few months,” said CRD Board Chair Barb Desjardins. “I would also like to thank the province for supporting us in this request as we strive to deliver a cost-effective and environmentally beneficial solution for our region.”

Last month, the CRD opted for McLoughlin Point and Clover Point as two sites to explore building two secondary or tertiary sewage treatment plants, with an estimated $1 billion price tag.

The Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee expects to hear updates from Victoria and Esquimalt councils during its April 13 meeting.

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