The latest decisions regarding regional wastewater treatment are good news for Oak Bay and the rest of the region, says Mayor Nils Jensen.
The CRD Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee has secured technical support to conduct detailed analysis and engineering work, selected a Technical Oversite Panel and chosen a Fairness and Transparency Advisor this month.
“We share in the sense that this is good for all of the core area liquid waste management communities,” Jensen said. “This is just a general positive move for all seven communities.”
Fairness and Transparency Advisor Kim Cholette is to ensure the process is fair, transparent, impartial and objective.
Urban Systems, partnering with Carollo Associates, was awarded the contract to conduct the Feasibility and Costing Analysis for the CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan Wastewater Treatment System.
“It’s a good thing for a regional solution to have these steps taken. It shows that there’s forward momentum and it bodes well for us coming to a resolution and a decision within the time required,” Jensen said.
The most looming deadline is for federal funding; siting and technology decisions must be submitted for approval of the end of March.
“The Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee is still confident we’ll be able to make that deadline,” Jensen said.
Jensen said indications are that the provincial portion of the funding offers bit of leeway.
“There is more flexibility on their part and we don’t have the same hard and fast deadlines with them. But we realize we do have to co-ordinate the federal and provincial monies,” he said.
Both have requirements to amend the liquid waste management plan that the funding was previously based on.
Urban Systems and Carollo Associates are tasked with providing detailed costing and technical analysis for distributed options that account for all the flows in the core area communities.
They will also cost a range of potential wastewater treatment systems at Rock Bay from centralized to sub-regional.
“[These steps are] important for two reasons: one, they will give the public a level of comfort that there are outside eyes examining the process to ensure they’re efficient and fair; two, the process of costing is moving forward,” he said.
“One of the critical elements I’ve heard from residents is ‘how much is it going to cost?’ For most people in the core area communities, that’s what will drive most people’s views of what the best plan is.”
Fall will see another round of consultations and public outreach expected to be similar to the public briefings and online surveys put out earlier this year.