Politicos call for full sewage environmental study

Oak Bay mayor says debate missing 'sanity and rationality.'

Two Greater Victoria politicians are calling for a full environmental study on regional sewage treatment, a delay others fear could jeopardize government funding.

Saanich councillor Vic Derman and Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, who sit on the Capital Regional District liquid waste committee, want to halt work on the $782-million regional sewage project to conduct a full environmental impact and cost benefit study.

Derman maintains that every credible study points to minimal harm associated with the current system of piping screened sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The federal government should change its designation of that system from high to low risk, he said, a move that would delay the requirement for changing the current system by 20 years to 2040.

“Every scientist, and even the CRD’s own reports show that no damage results from the current system,” Derman said. “We don’t have any emergency here. It’s a three quarter of a billion dollar solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Jensen agrees. “What’s been missing, other than sanity and rationality, is a full environmental impact study,” he said.

“Theatre and perception is triumphing over science. It’s a bad basis for public policy making. Private industry wouldn’t undertake a project of this kind without study.”

Victoria councillor Geoff Young, the CRD board chair, disagrees.

He admitted that CRD reports don’t point to an environmental emergency in the current system, but said that it’s likely that damage to the marine ecosystem isn’t fully understood.

“It would be like taking an air sample in Victoria and using it to say that we have no carbon footprint,” he said.

Young said that delays have risks and that federal and provincial funding could disappear. “That could leave the municipalities to pick up the entire cost of the project,” he said.

Jensen has heard that argument, and said it falls flat.

“It’s a heck of a lot of money,” he said. “But that’s the point. If it’s not the right thing to do, we shouldn’t go ahead. Just think of what we could do with our portion of the money. A quarter of a billion dollars? We could end homelessness, improve roads and bike trails … the list goes on.”

Jack Hull, the interim project director of the regional sewage treatment project does not agree with any delay. “These are federal and provincial regulations. They are not optional. Nothing (in the plan) can change,” he said.

Derman’s motion for a study is scheduled for debate within the CRD sewage committee on Nov. 15.

“This is about the most important political issue we have (in Victoria),” Jensen said. “The only way we’ll be heard is if we collaborate and work together with the seven communities who have a stake in this.”

Information on the Liquid Waste Plan can be found at crd.bc.ca/wastewater.

Just Posted

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read