Langford mayor agrees with Colwood decision on sewage study

But Stew Young remains cautious about CRD’s math on treatment project

Langford Mayor Stew Young supports Colwood council’s decision not to spend $2 million of taxpayers’ money on a sewage treatment environmental impact study that could be shelved for 25 years or more.

“It makes sense,” Young said of the move, announced last week. “They shouldn’t be spending any more money, no one should … Colwood has done the right thing.”

However, not spending the money now only makes sense, he said, if everything the Capital Regional District’s Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board and staff have claimed about the sewage treatment project comes to fruition. “If (the CRD) is wrong, they’re wrong, and that’s not a good thing,” he added.

If the cost of the McLoughlin Point treatment plant in Esquimalt comes in at the current estimate of $765 million, and the plant is viable for 20 or more years, Young said it’s hard for the West Shore municipalities to make a case for sewage treatment on their own.

“We can’t do it cheaper than that.” However, he warned, “if it turns out being $1.2 billion, then we’ll have (made) a huge mistake.”

As the numbers for sewage treatment started to balloon and the estimated annual cost per household for Langford grew to more than $500, Young said, they had no choice but to start researching other options for West Shore residents. However, with the latest figures downgrading that number to about $180, Young said it was hard to come up with a reasonable alternative that was as cost-effective for West Shore taxpayers.

“I’m not sure how they did the math on it … I just hope they’ve got their numbers right,” he added.

Any mass overages on the cost estimates will cause the public to lose all confidence in the CRD and a number of the Region’s local politicians, he said. “I hope for everyone’s sake the CRD brings this (in) under budget.”

katie@goldstreamgazette.com