Uplands sewer discussions start off on the right foot

Residents appreciate the opportunity to be heard on sewer separation issue

What a difference an approach makes.

By various accounts, the last time Oak Bay council tackled the question of separating Uplands sewer and storm drains – a required project so the district complies with B.C.’s Municipal Wastewater Regulation – the discussion was far more acrimonious.

There’s a different feel this time around.

During each public meeting, residents of Uplands have offered kudos to staff and council for their approach to the sewer separation project.

It’s a marked difference than the plan ditched years ago that would have forced each resident to purchase a pump. A major hurdle at that time, residents say, was lack of informed public input.

To date, the district has offered several public information and input forums, before the item even arrived at the committee of the whole table. Residents throughout the municipality had the opportunity to weigh the different options on the board and it’s perhaps little surprise that those in the Uplands and those outside the area in question prefer different solutions (and financial ramifications.)

While there’s still much work to be done on the Uplands sewer separation project before any decisions are made – and there’s no guarantee all residents will be pleased with those decisions once adopted – the process seems to going more smoothly than the last time around.

And as we’ve seen in other issues that generate significant debate, a solid foundation from which to move forward through potentially difficult discussions is never a bad thing.