Province steps in, recommends new project board for sewage treatment project

The province has recommended the CRD set up an independent panel of experts of oversee the wastewater treatment project.

There are 24 members on the Capital Regional District (CRD) board, each representing their respective communities from around Greater Victoria and all with differing views on how to move forward with a wastewater treatment plant to serve the region.

But now, the province is fed up with the CRD’s inability to move forward with the project and will set up an independent panel of experts to oversee the issue.

Communities Minister Peter Fassbender recently noted the project has a complex governance model that “needs to be separated from other organizational governance as responsibilities are currently divided between committees,” and warned the CRD could risk losing $500 million in funding.

During a meeting Wednesday, the province put forward a number of recommendations, which the CRD accepted, including establishing an independent project board and project director to set a project plan and schedule, select sites and develop a business case.

The project board would bring all information to the CRD, who would ultimately have the final say.

“What the minister did is outline the realities of where in the time frame and provided some review through their facilitator and helped bring some clarity to some key areas,” said CRD chair and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. “We recognize this is an extremely complex governance system that we have. The reality is is that we have struggled to come together and move forward. We asked the province for help, they are providing it . . . we want the region to move forward with this.”

Over the next two weeks, staff will be working with the province to recommend candidates for the six to seven-person project board.

The CRD has until Sept. 30 to identify a site(s) for a wastewater treatment plant, which also includes zoning. The current proposed plan calls for two secondary or tertiary sewage plants at either McLoughlin or Macaulay Point in Esquimalt and Clover Point in Victoria at a cost of roughly $1 billion. A third facility would eventually be constructed somewhere on the West Shore.

Approval is needed from both Victoria and Esquimalt council in order to move forward, but both municipalities have been hesitant to do so.

Esquimalt council has been vocal about having a single plant at McLoughlin Point and rejected the idea two years ago, but Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen placed it on the table again a few months ago. The site already has proper zoning. Most recently, Esquimalt council sent a letter to the CRD stating the township will not support the placement of a wastewater treatment facility in its borders unless it is a portion of a distributed system with another plant in another municipality. Desjardins would not comment specifically on McLoughlin Point and whether it could potentially be the site for the plant.

“At the end of the day, if it’s going to depend on a community rezoning a particular property and they refuse, that will be the end of the line,” said Jensen, adding Esquimalt could technically still pull the zoning on the site. “The minister made it clear that the zoning has to be in place by the end of September and trying to get rezoning or some of the other sites is going to be difficult in that time frame.”

 

Just Posted

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read