Financial plan lacking for sewage project

Economics of treatment project don't add up for reader

Ten of 14 members on the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee are itching to push taxpayers into a huge financial black hole with the CRD’s treatment project, despite the lack of a sensible, conservative financial strategy.

B.C. promises to pay its one-third share of the $783-billion cost when the project is finished – after the CRD proves it works – and after the federal government contributes its one-third share. CRD taxpayers will cover the other third, plus any cost overruns.

The province and feds haven’t signed anything that guarantees their conditional promises. But don’t worry, politicians never go back on their word, do they? And government projects never go over budget, do they?

The proposed system’s effective life is 20 years, give or take. Components such as the concrete should last a long time, unlike other components such as the capacity. The technology could well be obsolete before the plant is complete and the benefits are nil.

If we’re stuck with high cost overruns, reneged promises, operating costs and interest, the potential financial drain on CRD taxpayers could cripple the local economy. The sewage committee’s legacy could be skyrocketing property taxes and utility bills, negatively impacted property values and a higher cost of living, potentially causing people to move out of the region.

Approving the project without an appropriate financial plan is beyond poor judgment. It’s irresponsible, dangerous, high risk and grossly negligent.

Nine days ago, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty forecast higher federal deficits that put election promises in doubt. A week later, he pledged more cash for Victoria, noting that the Building Canada Fund doesn’t expire until 2014. But promises aren’t worth squat.

The CRD can hope for the best, but should provide for the worst by signing sewage-water-tight financial agreements with B.C. and the feds before going a step further. Financial plans B, C and D would help, too.

Norman Clark

Victoria

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Playful pooches take over Bullen Park for free event Saturday, Sunday

Ninth annual Pet-A-Palooza featured a mud run, weiner dog races, puppy stampede and more

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of the expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded stadium in Langford is on schedule for Aug. 24

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline Indigifest 2019 coming to Victoria

Scheduled for Aug. 24, the event is a showcase of Indigenous musicians from around B.C.

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Most Read