EDITORIAL: Leave no sewage stone unturned

Adding one more promising potential treatment plant site makes sense, despite coming after submission deadline

An example of how political actions can bog down a logical process was made clear this month during deliberations over potential sewage treatment system sites for the Capital Regional District.

This week, a large section of private land near Victoria General Hospital was brought forward for consideration by the Westside Select Committee, whose members voted to add the property to the list of potential sites – despite that it came in past the submission deadline. It will be put forward, along with 21 other sites, including a parcel on the Royal Colwood Golf Club lands, for technical analysis to determine its merits and suitability.

Meanwhile, Saanich councillors last week again rejected a proposal from the owners of a piece of property just down the street on Watkiss Way to put forward their land to the Eastside Select Committee for the same purpose.

Regardless of the reasoning for the decision, Saanich council demonstrated a “we know better” attitude that thumbs its nose at the public’s desire to influence the selection of potential sewage treatment sites.

Those on the Westside, with few exceptions, are willing to look at any site with possible merits. On the surface at least, the added benefits seem clear, such as VGH sharing in the energy production from a treatment plant.

We agree with Langford Mayor Stew Young, who worries that Saanich politicians, by putting the kibosh on a possible site before it even gets to the Eastside committee, are engaging in a “not-in-my-backyard” mentality that fails to look at the big picture.

View Royal Mayor David Screech voted against adding the Westside site this week, arguing that its inclusion would further delay a project already running way behind schedule.

While no one wants to see the site selection process drag on to the point where the region is forced to choose quickly to meet funding deadlines, adding a few extra weeks to the process, especially if this site happens to be judged as ideal for the purposes, will be seen as a smart investment.

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