‘Forced hiatus’ on CRD sewage project an opportunity, says Saanich councillor

Westshore communities, Esquimalt working on terms of reference for distributed model study

Capital Regional District directors meet once again Wednesday to discuss salvaging the region’s $788-million secondary sewage treatment project, but the “forced hiatus” provides a window for new ideas, said Saanich Coun. Vic Derman.

Derman, who also sits as a director on the CRD’s core area liquid waste management committee, intends to put forward a notice of motion next week to ask for an overview of the latest technology and the feasibility of a distributed treatment model.

“It might be appropriate to have an investigation led by a retired deputy minister or someone of similar status,” Derman said. The process wouldn’t need the time and expense of a full-scale Request for Proposals, but could still inform directors on “what’s out there,” Derman said.

“We’re not going anywhere right now, and that’s pretty obvious,” he said. “There’s been an attempt to resuscitate the old project, and for lack of a better term, buy off Esquimalt. I don’t think that will be successful.”

Only two smaller projects, the Craigflower pump station and a $760,000 design of an attenuation tank at Arbutus Road, are continuing as planned while the Seaterra program awaits direction on a way forward from CRD directors.

During that wait, Derman said directors need a “sounding” of available sewage treatment technology to ensure they’re building the best plants for the right price.

“We need an independent examination of the technology out there, the potential for architecture, what are examples elsewhere, and get enough information to figure out whether a distributed model is worth pursuing further or whether we stick with the direction we went, but without McLoughlin Point.,” he said.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins is already involved in that process. Staff from West Shore communities, Esquimalt and the City of Victoria are currently working on terms of reference to move ahead on a distributed model study under the umbrella of the CRD, she said. The team had hoped to present those terms at Wednesday’s meeting, but more work needs to be done.

“Our technical staff believe we may be able to provide sewage treatment that not only meets regulatory standards and guidelines, but beats them by standard and by cost,” Desjardins said.

The CRD is required by federal legislation to treat its sewage to a secondary or greater level by 2020, and the province has set a wastewater treatment deadline of 2018.

An extension to that provincial deadline will likely be necessary if the CRD can come up with a viable alternative to the current plan. Even with the current project, an extension will likely be needed to find an alternative site to McLoughlin Point.

“We have five of seven affected municipalities working on a new way forward,” Desjardins said. “We need Saanich and Oak Bay to come on-side, because we don’t want them to get left behind.”

Regardless of the outcome, the Seaterra program that included McLoughlin Point as a wastewater site is now effectively dead, she said.

“The sooner everyone understands that, the better off we’ll be coming up with solutions,” Desjardins said.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

VicPD nab distracted driver with expired licence

On the phone while in motion, man had overdue fines from driving while impaired

Gallery: Turnout good for Oak Bay’s inaugural volunteer fare

Oak Bay showcased non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Mature Garry Oak falls on Beach Drive

150-year-old tree blocks access in front of Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Most Read