New CRD wastewater project board ‘well underway’

Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board hopes to establish a due diligence committee

The project board responsible for overseeing the multi-million dollar wastewater treatment plant to serve Greater Victoria will establish another oversight committee.

The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board, responsible for developing a businesses case and choosing a site for the wastewater treatment plant,  updated the Capital Regional District board on Wednesday. The province-appointed board has met three times since its inception in May.

Project board chair Jane Bird assured CRD directors that work is underway and on track to deliver a program recommendation and business case for CRD consideration by Sept. 30.

“We’re well underway with our work. It is a significant amount of material to review. We are reviewing all the technical work in conjunction with all the work that has been done,” Bird said. “We’re reviewing each and every piece of that to try and understand the values that your constituents have expressed.”

The project board also hopes to establish a due diligence committee to oversee the process and reports to the CRD.

The due diligence committee, which will be appointed by the project board, will likely be comprised of three individuals who have experience with the development and delivery of large programs and waste water treatment.

However, some councillors expressed concern with creating yet another committee.

CRD director and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell said it’s useful to have an outside set of eyes but expressed concern about the short timeline the board has to hear from both entities.

“We’re going to have a very short amount of time to hear from both of these bodies. I’m wondering if we’re going to have a package on Friday and making a giant decision on a Wednesday, that concerns me as well,” he said during the Wednesday meeting. “I think we need to address that somehow in terms of the approach and how we’re representing our taxpayers.”

Director Vic Derman said if the board appoints the committee, they are not at “arms length” from each other.

CRD board chair Barb Desjardins reminded council that the project is a joint effort between all entities and shouldn’t be considered an “us versus them situation.”

Earlier this year, the province warned the CRD could risk losing $500 million in funding if it doesn’t meet the Sept. 30 deadline to identify a site for the plant.