EDITORIAL: Sewage solution needs your input

Public participation is an important part in upcoming sewage discussions for the West Shore

Get ready to put your thinking cap on again.

While some of us may believe that the recent federal election encompassed one of the most significant decisions we’ve had to make this year, an even more compelling opportunity awaits residents of the West Shore and the Capital Region.

The Capital Regional District is moving comparatively quickly now on resolving the long-standing sewage debate for Greater Victoria. That means it is getting closer to choosing how to implement the federally and provincially mandated levels of treatment.

With cost estimates soon to be released on the various options for treatment plants, the time is fast approaching when taxpayers will be encouraged and expected to weigh in with their thoughts on the appropriateness of what will be some very specific solutions.

Unlike the overly technical nature of past discussions and open houses on the topic, residents will finally be looking at some very real choices, with best estimations of costs for each, and asked to grade them.

It’s almost like a referendum of sorts, one that allows the public’s opinion to be heard, and hopefully valued.

We appreciate the lengths to which the west and east sewage committees have gone to bring the public into the discussion. At least on the surface, it seems the public is more involved this time around than when McLoughlin Point  in Esquimalt was prematurely proclaimed as the lone treatment plant site. Or when the CRD purchased a $17-million property on Viewfield Road in that municipality – land that will never be used as part of this project.

The clock is ticking on some elements of the funding for this endeavour. Unlike the CRD’s last stab at solving this problem it is being forced to solve, this time there’s been no rush to judgment, just slow steady decision-making. That pace of work on this massive project has paid off so far with good information and progress.

We hope it continues to the point where the Capital Region, and the West Shore, receive a good long-term option for sewage treatment that takes into account where the growth is in the region, but also keeps in mind who has to pay for such a system.