EDITORIAL: Sewage griping a costly luxury

Disagreement on how the process is working out is another reflection of how difficult it is for so many jurisdictions to work together

The Capital Regional District’s Westside wastewater and resource recovery select committee includes Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, View Royal Mayor David Screech, Langford Mayor Stew Young and Coun. Lanny Seaton, as well as Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins and Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam.

This committee recently joined members of the Eastside select committee in asking residents to comment on seven options for dealing with treating sewage in those areas in Greater Victoria that don’t already do so (Saanich Peninsula and Sooke do).

Certain details about each of the options is available on the CRD website, from general locations where infrastructure might be located, to the approximate cost per household.

Of late there has been much talk about municipalities going it alone or in combination with adjacent jurisdictions. We can see why Langford, still considered the fastest-growing municipality in B.C., and Saanich, one of the largest in the province, are giving thought to an alternative to what they and their counterparts have proposed collectively.

The fact there still is disagreement on how the whole process is working out – even with the project given a reboot with Seaterra and McLoughlin Point out of the picture – is another reflection of how difficult it is for so many jurisdictions to agree enough to work together on what, for time and logistical purposes must be a truly regional project.

Federal and provincial mandates have taken off the table the notion that sewage treatment isn’t really necessary, even if studies have shown that it isn’t. So the next best option is for the 10 jurisdictions involved to use their collective talents to co-operate with each other on a project that makes sense moving forward.

No civic politician wants their taxpayers to foot a huge bill on this project.

But arguing that taxpayers in one municipality are not getting a fair shake compared to those in another is wasting time and energy that could be used to help come up with a better solution.