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The Billion $ Wastewater Management scheme being foisted on us by our politicians and special interest groups will do more harm than good for the environment!

 

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Open Letter

What do ordinary Victorians think of this issue?

Letter published in the Victoria Times Colonist November 1st 2007

The undersigned citizens of Greater Victoria support the efforts of our local, provincial, and federal governments to explore alternative methods of handling liquid waste disposal in our community. The region is growing and changing, and future needs must be considered. We are however concerned that objective information is needed, and soon, balancing the costs and benefits of all currently available options.

We have been impressed by the detailed assessment by well-informed people – environmentalists, marine scientists, engineers, economists and health care professionals – that has been assembled on the web site www.rstv.ca .

The evidence indicates that the worst problem with the existing liquid waste disposal system is the continued failure to address storm drain overflows. Last January, for example, heavy rains resulted in raw unscreened sewage being discharged from storm drain outfalls along the coastline over 40 times.

The Ministry of Environment has mandated sewage treatment, at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion dollars. Yet the currently recommended plan submitted to the Minister would not fix the storm drain problem. Nor would it enhance the already exemplary source control program (which stops many toxic chemicals from ever going down the drain). The proposed treatment expenditure is huge: $1.1 billion is equivalent to $500-700 per year, per average household, in the core area for the next 50 years. The cost is similar to the annual cost per Victoria household of the entire City of Victoria Police Department.

Evidence-based policy requires evidence. Open government requires that citizens be informed. With these requirements in mind, we assert that the Ministry of Environment has a duty to commission and publish an independent, objective, cost-benefit study of the proposed land-based treatment option.

Consistent with provincial and federal guidelines for cost-benefit analysis, such a study must examine all relevant alternatives, including a) the existing system “as is” (the status quo); b) the existing system with low-cost and probably highly-cost-effective enhancements, related to storm drain discharges and source control and c) the currently proposed plan.

Before proceeding with a $1.1 billion expenditure, citizens of the Capital Regional District, and interested observers elsewhere, should be provided with evidence of the environmental or other benefits to be expected from the treatment plan proposed, and the harms that may result (for instance from the disposal of large volumes of sludge that will be trucked through residential neighbourhoods).

At present, only hypothetical benefits have been identified for proposed land-based treatment. The costs are substantial. This is hardly good evidence for acceptable, rational public policy.

Before the CRD spends more of our local tax dollars on planning for land-based treatment, it is essential that the evidence be assembled on the costs and benefits of all viable alternatives. We call on the Ministry of Environment to fund, commission, and publish such a study, with no further delay.

John Alexander, LLB

Gail Barnes

Brent Beach

Kevin Beaton

John Bergbusch, Former Chair, CRD Water Commission

Robert L. Bish, PhD, UVic Professor Emeritus

Bill Brown

Brian Burchill

Bryan Carberry

Dick Cavaye

Sara Chu

Tim Chu

Eric Clemens , UVic Adjunct Assistant Professor of Local Government

Mel Couvelier

Jay Cullen, Ph.D., UVic Earth and Ocean Sciences

Kerry Delaney, Ph.D., UVic Biology

Gordon Denford

Ted Dew-Jones, P. Eng.

Adrian Dolling, MBA, PMP

Phillipe Dore

John Dower, Ph.D., UVic Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences

Robert W. Durie, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Brian Emerson

Leslee Farrell

Patrick D. Finnigan, DDS, DDPH

Bob Fletcher, Ph.D.

Aengus Fogarty

Les Foster

Chris Garrett, Ph.D., Earth and Ocean Sciences, UVic

Graydon Gibson

Robin David Glass

Tony Gooch

Roman Hahn

Art Hanson

Bev Highton

Blair Humphrey

A. A. Humphreys

Ross Husdon

Hon. Bob Hutchison, LLB

Fiona Hyslop

Mike Jawl

Stewart Johnston, LLB

Chris F. Jones, MBA FCMC

Paul Kelly

Vicki Kuhl

Fenwick Lansdowne

Helen Lansdowne

David Laundy

Michael Layland

Al Lehmann

Tom Lidkea

Jack Littlepage

Russ Lyon, CMA

Hugh MacDonald

Pauline Majcher

Bob Marchand

Dr. Keith Martin, MP

Larry McComb

Marty McComb

John McCracken

Ian McKinnon

Ted McLeod

Craig Mearns

Brian Mihlenstedt

Rob Miller

Terry Milne

Craig Mount

Heather Murphy

John Newcomb, MPA, MA, Geography, UVic; member, CRD Technical and Community Advisory Committee

Sheila Orr, former Chair, CRD Liquid Waste Management Plan Public Advisory Committee

Dan Parker

Dave Paterson

Dr. Shaun Peck, former CRD Medical Health Officer

Tom Pedersen, Ph.D., UVic Dean of Science

Bill Petersmeyer

Peter Pollen

Michael J. Prince

Ken Roueche

Bob Skene

Judy Spearing

Ken Stewart, Ph.D., UVic Economist

Glenn Terrell

Les Underwood

Diana Varela, Ph.D., UVic Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences

A. Vitols

Bill Warburton, Ph.D., UBC Economist, UBC

Rebecca Warburton, Ph.D., UVic Health Economist

Bob Wheaton

Michael Whiticar, Ph.D., Biogeochemist, UVic

Mike Williams, former CRD Engineer

Bill Wolferstan

Georgina Wong

(92 names)