Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria offered a list of potential places “technically feasible” to site wastewater treatment projects in each community.
Each municipality, together called the Eastside Select Committee, brought forward potential sites earlier this week as part of the public engagement process expected to end with selection of a site or sites by late summer.
“The decision around siting is an exciting opportunity for elected officials, technical folks and the public to work together so no one is making decisions in a bubble,” said Lisa Helps, chair of the Eastside Select Committee.
“We’re revealing the technically feasible sites before we’ve made any decisions so the public can help us by bringing their values, criteria and desired outcomes into a meaningful conversation.”
The publicly owned land in Oak Bay deemed feasible is all located in parks: Henderson, Carnarvon, Willows, Fireman’s, Windsor, Lafayette, Anderson Hill, Walbran, Trafalgar and the Turkey Head Walkway. There are no private properties identified. In Saanich and Victoria many feasible sites are parks, public works yards or private property.
“Our council is well aware of the concerns people will have regarding their parks, I think that’s going to be true in all three of the communities,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “This is the first step in a multi-step process trying to identity a suitable site.”
All sites identified could technically house a wastewater treatment facility. Some of the sites are smaller and could host more compact distribution plants while others are large enough to situate a plant to service the entire core area.
The next step will be to review the locations and to use public priorities and emerging technical, social, economic and environmental considerations as filters to help narrow down the number of sites.
“The next step is to get feedback from the public on May 30 and 31 and then start narrowing down the number of potential sites,” Jensen said. “Feasible does not necessarily mean suitable … The next steps we’ll be applying the triple bottom line, social, economic and environmental filter to the sites.”
Members of the public can participate in siting charrettes on May 30, 10 a.m. at the University of Victoria, Cadboro Commons building, and May 31, 10 a.m. at Victoria Conference Centre. The sessions will offer a chance for the public to learn more and offer input into the site selection and technology selection process.
“Hopefully by early June the number of sites will be reduced to a handful on the eastside. That same process will occur on the westside and eventually we will reach consensus on a site or sites,” Jensen said, noting they’ve yet to determine most economic or environmental situations of one or more sites. “That is another issue that has to be determined.”