Jensen steps down as head of liquid waste committee

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will replace Jensen, who will concentrate on his duties as CRD chair

With one major hurdle behind them, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen will step down as chair of the regional core area liquid waste management committee.

Next meeting Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will lead the Capital Regional District committee.

“I was very concerned about the deadline that was looming,” Jensen said, referring to grants dedicated toward wastewater treatment in the CRD.

“It’s been a lot of work done in the last four months … We were able to gain the confidence of PPP Canada, who have granted us an extension.”

Provincial and federal funding agreements that will provide approximately $500 million toward the project are contingent on meeting specific timelines.

“That was a real achievement in my mind because the funds were in jeopardy,” Jensen said.

The PPP funds of $83 million were tied to $120 million from Industry Canada, Jensen said. A third chunk of the federal portion came from a green fund to make up the roughly $250 million federal portion.

“If we lost one we would have likely lost the other,” Jensen said.

The funding was extended one year.

“They made it clear that by the end of March 2016 we needed to have a site that was ready to accept the treatment plant and resource recovery… a fully ready site to build on,” Jensen said.

The treatment plant was to be part of the Seaterra Program, established to bring the region into compliance with the federal and provincial regulations for sewage treatment. Last May, Seaterra officially ceased implementation of a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. Work was meant to begin by the end of July on the projected $788-million plant.

Jensen felt “comfortable returning to the role as just the chair” of the CRD with the funding extension in place, and an aggressive one-year timeline agreed to by everyone at the CRD table.

“The plan to work over the next 12 months is a very short timeline… I’m quite confident we’re going to be able to make that,” Jensen said.

It will also free him up to spend more time, as the CRD chair, focused on the other 200 services the Capital Regional District provides.

“Being chair of the CRD is a big job,” Jensen said.