Public input sought for sewage treatment plant

Consultation needed before decision is made on location of the first sewage treatment plant

  • Nov. 18, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Kendra Wong

Black Press

Extensive consultation still needs to be done before a decision is made on where the first sewage treatment plant in the Capital Regional District will be built, according to the committee chair.

Lisa Helps, Victoria mayor and chair of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee, said residents will have the opportunity to have their say on the five options proposed for the sewage treatment plant between Dec. 2 to Jan. 15.

“We’re going to be asking the public to evaluate the options. Some will be more cost-effective in the short-term, some will be more cost-effective in the long-term, some will have a different level of treatment,” Helps said.

“To me, the message that is really important to me right now is we’re going to be having a very robust public conversation while people are out in December.”

Last week, the committee revealed five options for the plant, including a one-plant option in Rock Bay, Victoria; a two-plant option with a centralized plant at Rock Bay and a facility in Colwood; a four-plant sub-regional option with facilities in Rock Bay, Esquimalt Nation, Colwood and East Saanich; and a seven-plant option with facilities in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Esquimalt, Rock Bay and Saanich core and east Saanich; and an option that is tertiary.

The options were compiled by the CRD’s consultant team and technical oversight panel.

Cost information for each site will be available on Dec. 2.

Barb Desjardins, Esquimalt mayor and co-chair of the westside sewage committee, said the committee has already conducted a poll with 400 people in which 90 per cent said they had not been involved in the process before, but they were following it.

Once cost information is released, she said public consultation will kick off in full force.

“The next step is to go out to high schools to try and reach out even further and certainly to go back to all those who have participated before,” Desjardins said.

“There will be another round of public input between December and middle of January. We recognize that’s a bad time, but we have time frames that we have to meet.”

The committee will make a decision on which option to choose on Jan. 27, 2016.

The CRD has until March 2016 to submit a detailed plan for wastewater treatment or it could lose the $83.4 million in funding from the federal crown corporation PPP Canada. The federal government has also committed $120 million from the Building Canada Fund and $50 million from the Canada Green Fund.

To provide public input email wastewater@crd.bc.ca.