EDITORIAL: Taking politicians to task on sewage

The Gazette looks back at our analysis of the CRD's sewage treatment program

As regular readers of the Gazette have noticed, we’ve devoted a lot of space in the past three weeks to a topic that has proven to be as divisive as any we’ve seen in recent memory: sewage treatment.

Having chosen to focus an editorial team’s efforts on this important subject for a month, we expected good response from our readers. But the number of emails and phone calls we have and continue to receive has convinced us that more people than we first thought are paying close attention to this issue.

There were submissions from individuals and groups – both for and against treatment – who we’ve heard from in the past. What was refreshing, however, was the feedback received from people who have never written a letter to the editor.

So, what did we learn from this undertaking?

That residents are passionate about their communities and how their tax dollars are being spent. That they feel empowered to offer opinions on how best to proceed – or not – on the most expensive infrastructure project in Greater Victoria’s history. And that there are knowledgeable people in our midst who are willing to share their experiences and offer suggestions about this massive project.

We also learned more about the inner workings of the Capital Regional District, the corporate entity many readers love to hate.

Local politicians around the CRD’s core area liquid waste management committee table are there to both represent their taxpayers and look at the bigger picture. And these CRD directors depend on staff to provide the necessary facts with which to make informed decisions.

The fact current preferred sites McLoughlin Point and Clover Point were not even on the table until late in the site recommendation phase reminded us that quality information comes from asking the right questions. So why weren’t more ‘why’ questions being asked by local politicians before then?

We’re glad that forceful arguments were finally made against what appeared to be bad ideas. We hope our elected officials continue to do so as this megaproject, and our ongoing coverage of it, moves forward.

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