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Debunking Victoria’s billion-dollar myth – KeithMartin, MP

Opinion, Victoria News, December 01, 2009
by Dr.Keith Martin, MP for Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca

The rush to choose a sewage treatment site for Victoria before all the
facts are available belies a much larger problem.

This initiative to spend nearly $1 billion to build one or more sewage
treatment plants in Victoria is based on myths, fear, perception, and an
appalling lack of due diligence on the part of both the federal and
provincial governments. It entails the deliberate refusal to listen to the
science.

Indeed, the facts are being ignored: this project will not improve our
environment in any measurable way; this will not decrease the real
pollutants that foul our water; and the project will even damage our
environment.

What should Victorians be aware of?

- That this $967.5-million project will add $450 a year (or more) to every
homeowner’s property tax bill for decades. For those of modest means, this
is a huge amount of money they can ill afford, especially during this
economic downturn.

- Most of the worrisome pollutants that damage our environment will not be
removed through this proposal. That is because the primary source of these
toxins does not come from our liquid waste. The way to reduce these
dangerous pollutants is to expand on the Capital Regional District’s
excellent source control program, enforce actions against dumping garbage
into our waters, and repair our storm drainage system.

- Our sewage is currently screened before entering the ocean so nothing
larger than six millimetres goes out the other side. What is discharged
into the ocean is 99.9 percent water. The “floaties” and debris come from
our fractured storm drainage and dumping.

- CRD monitoring shows that sea life thrives around our sewage outfalls.
It is not a dead zone.

- Building sewage treatment plants will consume vast quantities of fuel
and produce greenhouse gasses. Even more pollution will be produced if we
have to truck the sludge to a landfill or another processing site.

There are better solutions, however, we will not learn about them unless
we stop this proposal and do a cost benefit analysis to show how we can
effectively at address our environmental challenges.

- Keith Martin is the MP for Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca

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