Editorial: Series readers getting involved

Readers weigh in on Black Press series exploring sewage treatment

From Oak Bay and Esquimalt to Langford and Saanich, Black Press readers are speaking out.

What is happening is exactly what we hoped would transpire when we sat down to plan our investigation into sewage treatment in the Capital Regional District.

Since the five-part series launched a week ago, you’ve become even more engaged in the process and provided new insights into a regional problem politicians have  debated for more than 20 years.

In our introductory story, we inferred that the majority of people support the idea that we need to follow federal wastewater rules and simply get on with finding a way to treat our sewage.

But many of the letters we’ve received in the past week have been statements of both frustration and outright anger at the actions local politicians and Capital Regional District staff have taken in recent weeks, months and years. Readers say those two groups should pay more attention to marine scientists, who argue that the conditions around our outfalls provide enough dilution to limit the deleterious effects of untreated sewage being introduced into the ocean environment.

Some have asked why our decision-makers haven’t made serious inquiries into whether we actually need expensive treatment plants to render our screened sewage safe for human and marine health once released into the ocean.

But we’re not so naive as to think people are solely focused on the science of this situation. The billion-dollar-plus cost of the current proposals is weighing heavily on readers’ minds as well, not to mention the prospect of ripping up a popular destination like Clover Point, or retooling the unpopular decision to put a single plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.

Today we present stories on both of these topics, giving readers an idea what they can expect to pay under the two-plant program currently on the table, and where the money they’ve already paid for the CRD’s sewage program has gone.

We also hear from two former University of Victoria marine scientists. Ocean experts Jack Littlepage and Chris Garrett sat with colleagues in the Black Press boardroom in Victoria in late 2007, asking for help to convince the public and the decision-makers that the measurable benefits of treatment on the local marine environment would be negligible. With such minimal impact, they said, spending a billion or more dollars on treatment plants was a poor use of public money. They continue to assert that today.

While the project cost estimates offered to the CRD sewage committee are rough at best – staff had barely a week to pull them together – the price tag of treatment has people worried. And it’s evident that for some regional residents, the “why” of treatment is still not clear enough.

We hope that picture comes more into focus in the coming weeks and months, as more information comes to light. For certain, we’ll continue to ask questions.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

A property at 1224 Richardson St. in Victoria is the subject of a rezoning application that seeks permission to build three low-rise buildings with 24 units, including four that would rent for below market rate. (Google Streetview)
Victoria development in Fairfield features subsidized housing element

Public hearings this Thursday (Jan. 28) for proposals on Richardson Street and Heywood Avenue

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read