Sewage budget needs adjustment

Jack Hull adds useful information to the sewage debate, in his Oct. 31 letter, but misses important factors.

Jack Hull adds useful information to the sewage debate, in his Oct. 31 letter, but misses important factors.

The claim that delay increases cost does not make financial sense. Except for paying the ongoing bureaucracy, delayed expenditures are paid in future funds – adjusting costs and savings to a common year is standard practice for economic calculations. (That is necessary to reflect the impact of inflation and of the money that can be earned by investing if it is not spent today.)

Budgets should be adjusted for changes which may include maturing technology, construction market conditions, and cost increases from inflation.

Capital cost normalized to population is not a proper comparison, unless adjusted for economies of scale. Ancillary costs such as piping and dealing with sludge must be included. So should value of land, in this area perhaps one of the large rock outcrops is suitable but other factors must be costed for a rational decisions. Even fancy exteriors, like the one in Blaine, WA.

A better question about the many local plants already in operation in the broad region around here is how proven they are, it may be far too early to tell.

Of course, sound design and proper operational management are essential.

For the Blue Bridge in Victoria, two things stand out – premature use of estimates (which proceed in stages during which more detail is known thus fewer risks remain) and the grandiose design forced by politicians.

Hull does not address the question of whether secondary treatment is needed at all. He may consider that a separate subject, especially involving the federal government’s questioned regulations and people pandering to hypocritical lawyers from Seattle.

And while Hull recommends a “qualified” municipal planner, few are truly qualified. They tend to be bureaucrats of the same ideological bias as the mayor.

That they are annointed by politicians does not make them qualified.

Saanich, for example, has produced verbose poorly written reports that contradict themselves.

The CRD has a poor record – look at the ongoing delays fixing the sewage system in Ganges on Saltspring Island.

Keith Sketchley