It seems a little hypocritical to tell the Capital Regional District it must begin treating its sewage with a near-billion-dollar project, then backtrack on a commitment to pay for one third of it.
That’s what the province appears to be doing, as we now hear its contribution is contingent on Ottawa being the first to show us the money.
And as the CRD passes the five-year mark since studies began on implementation of sewage treatment, why hasn’t funding been committed to the project by the senior levels of government?
The regional district has already invested a huge amount of taxpayer dollars, abiding by what the province asked of it.
The feasibility of building a facility has been investigated, a thorough plan was created and McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt was selected as the future home of a treatment plant.
While all three levels of government are expected to pay an even share of the cost, it seems that only one level is walking the walk and trying to move forward on the project.
The cost of upgrading or building a component of infrastructure rises the longer it is dragged out. But the foot-dragging in this case is being done by the senior levels of government.
If the B.C. Liberal and Conservative governments are waiting on each other to act before progress can be made, it looks like sewage treatment won’t be here anytime soon.
But if either level is actually committed to this project, discussions need to begin to allow the CRD to move ahead on this regionally significant project.
The promise to work together with the federal government and the CRD to make the project happen — made by then-premier Gordon Campbell in 2006 — hasn’t been kept, and is hindering progress.
The CRD shouldn’t spend a dime more on such an expensive project until it gets assurances that regional taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag on sewage treatment.