Greater Victoria sewage plans accompanied by hefty price tag

Costs for West Shore taxpayers could reach $800 to $1,000 per year

The latest proposals for Greater Victoria’s sewage treatment system have been floated down the pipes, in the form of a report from engineering consultants Urban Systems and Carollo Associates.

The report outlines five options and the estimated capital and operating costs. Capital cost estimates range from $1 billion to more than $1.3 billion. All exceed the original $788-million plan for McLoughlin Point that was officially scrapped earlier this year.

“It is a bit of a price tag,” said Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, whom sits on the region Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee. “I think there may be a few too many bells and whistles.”

She noted the estimated costs were fairly vague, especially when compared to the McLoughlin Point estimate, which was much more accurate due to the level of which the plan had been developed.

The report detailing the new options will be presented to the committee for consideration at today’s meeting (Dec. 9). Public consultation on the report will launch later this month and run until late January. Details of that public consultation process had not been released by the Gazette’s print deadline.

Option 1A and 1B include plans for a single plant at Rock Bay in Victoria, with costs estimated at $1.031 and $1.131 billion respectively. Option two would see plants at Rock Bay and in Colwood, coming in at a total cost of roughly $1.088 billion.

The third option is a four-plant sub-regional operation with facilities at Rock Bay, Esquimalt First Nation, Colwood and East Saanich, coming in with an estimated price tag of $1.195 billion. The final option is a seven-plant distribution system with facilities in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Esquimalt, Victoria, Saanich and East Saanich with an estimated cost of $1.348 billion.

Costs were also broken down to what each household could expect to pay annually for each scenario based on municipalities, after grants were applied. Predicted costs for Langford households range from $412 to $797 annually. “The cost per household is very high,” Blackwell said.

But she said it would be up to Langford council to decide if all residents would split Langford’s share of the bill, or if only those households on sewer – or expected to be on sewer – would have to pay a larger portion of that bill. She added that several spots in the city would probably never be connected to sewers, pointing to Finlayson Arm Road as an example.

She also noted that some municipalities, such as Colwood, have separate agreements with the CRD, that could potentially see households receiving sewage bills separate, like a water bill.

Costs predicted for households in Colwood range from $252 to $864 annually and range from $427 to $976 for View Royal residents.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

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