Victoria anti-treatment advocates push back with awareness campaign

Group insists that planned sewage treatment plant can still be halted

A group of marine scientists, public health officers and a former federal environment minister are launching a formal public campaign to stop the Capital Regional District’s $782-million sewage treatment project.

The Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST) believes the proposed land-based sewage treatment project is unnecessary.

“Very simply, it’s not an environmentally motivated plan; it’s politically motivated,” said ARESST chair John Bergbusch.

The organization points to scientific studies that show the current sewage treatment, which pumps filtered wastewater to deep-sea outfalls, is safe and effective.

“We hope to make this an issue in the federal (Victoria) byelection and the provincial election in the spring,” Bergbusch said.

If the project goes forward, property taxes will increase by hundreds of dollars for residents in Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal, Colwood and Langford.

ARESST members will present their concerns at St. Ann’s Academy on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m., featuring former Liberal MP David Anderson.

The CRD is in the early planning stages of the mega-project, which includes a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, a biosolids energy centre at Hartland landfill in Saanich and a 17-kilometre pipeline.

For more information and to sign a petition supporting ARESST, visit stopabadplan.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com