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

Saanich passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Colwood Elementary gets new inclusive and accessible playground equipment

Parks and playgrounds on the West Shore have equipment for everyone

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read