John Threlfall, Monday Magazine, June 30, 2010
By now, most local residents will have heard—and likely already started fuming—about last week’s approval by the CRD of the controversial (some would say unnecessary) $782 million sewage treatment project at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. While 10 members of the CRD board voted for the Esquimalt site, there were three strenuous objections: Esquimalt mayor Barb Desjardins, View Royal mayor Graham Hill and Saanich councillor Vic Derman.
“Sears used to advertise their products as ’good, better, best’—I think we’re working on ’bad, worse and worst,’” quipped the outspoken Derman about the decision. “The whole process has been hugely flawed right from square one . . . but it’s been going quite sideways particularly since Christmas, when we got a report saying there was virtually no resource-recovery involved in it. It’s just a traditional sewage-treatment project—at very considerable expense with very limited environmental benefit.”
Sounds like just the kind of thing we need these days, what with the ever-ballooning cost of the proposed Johnson Street Bridge project and so many other civic improvements needed. “We have all sorts of other things we need to do—like transportation issues—and we’re going to need a lot of money for those,” says Derman.
Alas, with nearly a billion dollars to be sunk into the federal/provincial/municipal project, and over $20 million already spent on various studies and engineering reports, Derman doesn’t seem to be holding his breath for any changes to the process now. “It leaves very little flexibility for new technologies, very little opportunity for changes in fundamental design . . . and the worst thing is that it virtually ignores the regional growth strategy, with the possible exception of the Western Communities,” he says. “It’s the most bizarre process I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”
Sewage committee has lost its way
Letter to Times Colonist from Rosemary Murray, Esquimalt, June 24, 2010
All trust has been broken with the core area liquid waste management committee with its approval of a completely new sewage configuration this week. Their decision is to use McLoughlin Point as the sole site for sewage treatment for Greater Victoria.
The committee seems to have one thing in mind: Secure government funding at any cost.
However, we will pay more later for poor decision-making now.
The provincial government asked for a distributed system and for maximized resource recovery.
The committee’s plan is a centralized treatment centre, shoehorned into a space that is too small (because that is the only land they have found), with no possibility for true resource recovery.
Esquimalt put forth McLoughlin Point as a suggestion for a smaller site that would be part of a distributed system. Esquimalt is the only municipality that has stepped up to take responsibility. For this act, they have been chosen as the dumping ground for Greater Victoria. Esquimalt has not been consulted, nor listened to.
How can a governing body that has been given the privilege and responsibility to represent an entire region act so unilaterally with regard to the largest public works program ever undertaken in the region?
Point sewage plant bad for tourism
Letter to Times Colonist from Shirley Waldon, Victoria, June 24, 2010
I read about the Capital Regional District’s plan for building the sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.
As an Esquimalt resident, I too am not pleased with the way the CRD is handling this whole issue. There has been nothing in the way of consultation with residents. Consultation meetings are slated for next month. If the CRD wanted consultation with Esquimalt residents, why did they not do so long before now? It seems they have already made up their minds and are are willing to push it through no matter what anyone else thinks.
Where is the tourism industry on all this and why have they have remained completely silent on this whole issue? The building of a sewage treatment plant directly across from a cruise ship terminal in not conducive to attracting more visitors to our city. While a treatment plant is needed, it should not be placed in such a prominent location such as McLoughlin Point.
Monday Magazine, David Anderson, 24 June 2010
Re: “Quiz Time,” June 17-23
A tough choice, but the treatment plant has to top the “biggest
boondoggle” list. The sheer refusal of the CRD and provincial
govenment, on a project of this size, to consider the opinions of the
medical health officers and the UVic marine biologists, who are those
with most to contribute to the discussion, is unprecedented.
Land Based Sewage treatment is a waste of money
Graydon Gibson, Times Colonist, May 21, 2010
Almost every day there is an editorial or letter bemoaning the ongoing funding cuts by the provincial government and the impacts they will have on the disadvantaged, the ill and the less fortunate.
And yet Victoria continues to stumble toward a financial Armageddon by spending a billion dollars on a land-based sewage treatment system that is not only unnecessary but that will create new and expensive problems (construction and operating costs, disposal of sludge, etc.).
The Capital Regional District and the province seem determined to ignore the informed science-based opinions of marine engineers, oceanographers and public-health officials who have all stated repeatedly that the current screened, deep outfall dispersion of our sewage into the fast-flowing currents of Juan de Fuca Strait is an effective and environmentally benign way for us to dispose of our natural bodily wastes.
Despite what the proponents of this harebrained, politically correct scheme say, the fact remains that our current sewage treatment system works well by all public health and engineering standards. To squander our hard-earned tax dollars on this project when so many legitimate and needed public services are being systematically and mercilessly cut back is senseless and irresponsible.
To learn more about this whole issue, please visit rstv.ca or aresst.org.
Graydon Gibson, Victoria
Sewage treatment long overdue
Caroline Covil, Times Colonist, Friday, May 21, 2010
I am writing to support treatment of our community’s sewage.
We discharge 130 million litres of raw sewage and toxins daily into our oceans. This is the largest raw sewage discharge in Canada. The seabed around the outfalls is contaminated and the shellfish closure was expanded to 60 square kilometres in part due to the sewage discharge.
We have come a long way in recent years toward establishing the sewage treatment that is needed to protect one of our precious resources and our children’s future. Sewage treatment is mandated by both provincial and federal regulation and is supported by over 80 per cent of CRD residents and all three levels of government, First Nations, local businesses, local labour organizations and the local tourism and environmental communities.
This issue has been debated for over 40 years. Now is the time for action.
Caroline Covil, Victoria
Sewage outfalls far off shore
Dr. Shaun Peck, Times Colonist, Friday, May 21, 2010
I wish to correct the May 19 report on the sewage outfalls. The outfall at Clover Point is 1.1 kilometres offshore and at the end of it is a 196-metre diffuser, 60 metres below the surface of the ocean.
The outfall at Macaulay Point is 1.7 kilometres offshore and at the end of it is a 135-metre diffuser, 65 metres below the surface of the ocean.
It is through these two engineer-designed outfalls that an average flow of 103,400 cubic metres of liquid waste (which is 99.97 per cent water) is discharged each day, after passing through six-millimetre screens.
The effluent is then treated naturally by the ocean waters.
Dr. Shaun Peck, Victoria
Stop sitting on the pot, move on treatment
James Skwarok, Times Colonist, Friday, May 21, 2010
The debate over sewage treatment is moot. Eighty per cent of Capital Regional District residents support sewage treatment. We also have the support of all three levels of government, First Nations, local businesses and local labour organizations.
Sure, there are a few scientists that favour dilution as the solution to the pollution, but we all know the ocean is not a big toilet for us to dump sewage and toxins into.
Besides, the evidence of harm is clear: The seabed around the outfalls is contaminated with toxins, the shellfish closure was increased to 60 square kilometres partly due to raw sewage discharge and animal diversity in Victoria Bight has decreased dramatically.
Thankfully, the CRD is making progress in developing a plan to treat our sewage. It is carefully considering facility placement, community concerns
and resource recovery. Hopefully, construction of the system will begin next year, which will be great as Victoria will no longer be sitting on the pot aimlessly.
James Skwarok, Victoria
CRD sewage chair denies former MP’s claim that funding not secure
Natalie North, Saanich News, 19 May 2010
To treat or not to treat, that was the question.
The B.C. government and the CRD say there’s no turning back, despite continued efforts of a group dedicated to reversing the decision to treat Greater Victoria’s sewage.
On February 9, MInister of Environment Barry Penner approved the CRD’s LIquid Waste Management Plan, following up with a 2006 commitment to provide partial funding for the project.
The last two thirds will come in equal parts from municipal and federal governments, said CRD councillor Judy Brownoff.
Brownoff stands behind the science that sparked the decision, stating that the ocean floor is contaminated. That position is contrary to what the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARREST) announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
ARREST supporter David Anderson, the former Victoria MP, insists funding hasn’t been accounted for on paper. The group also questions both the financial impact of the large-scale project and the environmental argument for land based treatment.
“Consider that you can build 14 new Blue Bridges for the cost of the proposed system,” said ARREST’s Dr. Shaun Peck.
“There will be a negative impact on health and the overall environment from building these facilities.”
Brownoff, who has until June 30 to submit any amendments of the current plan to the Ministry of Environment, is puzzled by ARREST’s claims.
“I find it fascinating that people who are not involved in the process say that we’re not getting funding,” Brownoff said.
Greater Victoria’s sewage treatment is high on the federal government’s list of priorities, she said, adding the city doesn’t meet any of the federal regulations on sewage treatment.
“The ocean floor is contaminated,” Brownoff said matter-of-factly.
Residents’ wishes unheard, even if from 1992
Oak Bay News, 6 April 2010
Re: “To ask or not to ask…” (News, March 24)
Its an incredible breach of local democracy when Capital Regional District sewage committee chair Judy Brownoff can attempt to deny residents the vote on funding for this unnecessary CRD sewage plant mega-scheme.
Especially because CRD voters already turned downed the same sewage plant funding in 1992, such a denial of democracy now by Ms. Brownoff and those of her ilk amounts to no more than a back-door way to sneak this same project through – against the democratically expressed decision of CRD residents in 1992.
The only beneficiaries of Brownoff’s anti-referendum stance appear to be the CUPE union leaders and the Liberal government.
How ironic. How shameful.
CRD residents deserve better political leadership than what we are seeing now on this billion-dollar sewage plant project.
John Newcomb, Saanich
Sewage plans seem like a bad joke
Times Colonist, 6 April 2010
Re: “Key part of sewage project approved,” April 1.
Hilarious! A sewage-treatment plant as our version of the Sydney Opera House. The destruction of the Haro Woods. A billion-dollar price tag with no benefits. This April Fools Day joke is the funniest thing since the fast ferries.
David Roberts, Victoria
Persuade the Premier to Axe Sewage Treatment
Times Colonist Online, 5 April 2010
I am a father of three and grandfather of six. We must not make them pay for an ill-designed secondary sewage treatment plan for Victoria.
For 30 years I led a research team on polar oceanography, working primarily in the high Arctic, providing advice to the Canadian government.
For the first time in my life I am going beyond advice to try and save my descendents from a terribly expensive and unnecessary scheme based on an inadequate or biased understanding of sewage problems in Victoria. Look to
the website www.RSTV.ca to get the technical opinion of internationally respected scientists, engineers and health officials.
Filtered human waste by itself does not present a serious problem when pumped into the strong tidal currents and open strait offshore of Victoria. Other, far more toxic, components must be controlled at source by a random sampling of the sewage at the many inspection points currently available. To trace back these components to their point of insertion
should be easy and the perpetrator fined.
The Capital Regional District may call for a referendum on sewage treatment, but in itself, this will not allow cancellation of the instruction given to the CRD by the provincial government. We must try to get the premier to change his mind, and the only way to do this is by force of numbers. We need thousands of individual voters to send an e-mail to gordon.campbell.mla @leg.bc.ca or fax (250) 387-0087 with your comments. Don’t think you can leave it to someone else; don’t use a form letter; don’t put it off to tomorrow. Please put some time and energy into helping our children today. Very soon it really will be too late.
E. L. Lewis, Victoria
Taxpayers are being taken for a one-way ride
Re: Province Committed to Sewage Funding
Letter from Minister Bill Bennett
Times Colonist March 30, 2010
While the Minister may be committed, it should be noted what he is committed for the imposition on Victoria of a billion-dollar boondoggle to solve a non-existent sewage problem. Despite exceedingly favourable reports by the CRD itself upon the functioning of our outfalls, the science is being ignored.
To quote Dr. Chris Garrett of Uvic’s School of Ocean Sciences, the reports being relied upon by Minister Bennett and the CRD, to support on-land sewage treatment, if submitted as undergraduate term papers, would be given a failing grade.
Taxpayers in the CRD’s core area should realize that they are being taken for the proverbial one-way ride aided and abetted by ministerial commitment.
John L. Motherwell