With the region’s $788-million secondary sewage treatment project on the Capital Regional District’s back burner, Oak Bay council is wise to begin planning an alternative to the controversial plan.
Staff from West Shore communities, Esquimalt and the City of Victoria are currently working on terms of reference to move ahead on a distributed model study under the umbrella of the CRD.
The staff of those districts feel they may be able to provide sewage treatment that not only meets regulatory standards and guidelines, but beats them by standard and cost, according to Esquimalt mayor Barb Desjardins.
The CRD is required by federal legislation to treat its sewage to a secondary or greater level by 2020, and the province has set a wastewater treatment deadline of 2018.
An extension to that provincial deadline will likely be necessary if the CRD can come up with a viable alternative to the current plan.
In the meantime though, Oak Bay will hopefully join Victoria and Saanich in a bid to come up with a plan that will pass CRD standards and be able to go it alone, leaving the West Shore communities to do the same.
While Oak Bay mayor Nils Jensen says he is not happy to split with the CRD, the move is a necessary one in order for the district to keep tax and utility costs to residents in line.
As a CRD directors Jensen is likely also spurred on by the threat of personal liability for failure to comply with the regulations.
Whatever the reasoning behind the move, a made near, if not in, Oak Bay decision will serve residents better and hopefully be more cost effective.