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Politics Ignore Science

  Outfall Marine Life

CRD – Step in the right direction

CRD – Step in the right direction

Congratulations to the CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee for finally acting to correct some of the most glaring flaws in the proposed Waste Water Treatment System. Now that it has begun to re-examine its plans with a critical eye one can hope that yet more changes are in the works.

For over a year, critics have been pointing out the absurdity of the proposed Saanich East plant which, at enormous cost in both dollars and environmental damage, would have accomplished almost nothing. Proposals to instead build attenuation tanks [i.e. storage tanks designed to even-out flows – a low-tech, relatively low-cost solution which has been adopted in many other cities, including Seattle] were rejected out of hand and the Committee clung to the illusion of potential resource recovery at this site even after a consultant’s report indicated it was impractical. In its commitment to building this plant the CRD has already spent nearly ten million tax dollars on consultants, land acquisition, and spin. And it remains committed to hundreds of thousands more for now-redundant Environmental Impact studies which should never have been commissioned. But it has apparently stopped throwing good money after bad, and much of the expenditure will not have been wasted if Haro Woods is preserved.

Likewise, the proposal to site a biosolids treatment plant on the Upper Harbour, offering the virtual certainty of unpleasant smells and greenhouse gas emissions in the City’s core together with the unacceptably high risk of a disastrous spill, should never have gotten off the ground.

But if its press release is to be believed, the Committee still clings to some dangerous illusions, particularly regarding carbon offsets and resource recovery. Carbon reduction and waste heat recovery are laudable goals, but there has to be some reasonable expectation of achievement. Much of the “planning” to date has been no more than wishful thinking.

So, to the CRD: Congrats again, but don’t stop now!

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