Prime Minister is on record opposing sewage expenditure

Feds need to reclassify existing Greater Victoria sewage outfalls as low risk

Re: Sewage griping a costly luxury (Gazette, Feb. 3)

Recent events in marine science research – conducted by the Department of Oceans and Fisheries’ own researchers – have determined that the current proposed multi-billion dollar land-based sewage treatment approach will have a negligible benefit to the marine environment.

Other current studies indicate that sediments in the vicinity of Vancouver outfalls having secondary treatment have higher levels of PBDE’s (a chemical compound used a flame retardant) than the naturally processed sediments off Victoria’s two outfalls. Early findings suggest we will likely  do more harm than good to the marine environment by excessive treating, since nutrients required by marine organisms to help break down these compounds would be removed from their environment.

Canada has just made a world leading commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet consultants to the Capital Regional District have estimated construction of a treatment system will produce 15,516 tonnes of GHGs, with operation of the system producing 7,917 tonnes annually.

We can’t suck and blow at the same time. If we are serious about this, let’s start here.

The facts are clear. There is no justification to pursue this multi-billion dollar folly – harming our environment in the bargain – and then claim “Ottawa says so” as justification. It’s just not true. Prime Minister Trudeau knows this, too, he has gone on record saying so.

What is needed now is good, responsible leadership at the CRD. First, demand that your CRD representatives say “no” to the latest ridiculous, half-baked proposal coming soon from a committee that has already made up its mind what it is going to do – can you say “Rock Bay?”

Second, demand that the CRD put together a Blue Ribbon panel of independent environmental and legal experts, possibly led by ex-environment minister David Anderson, to ask DFO to correct the wrongful “high-risk” classification for our outfalls by reclassifying them as “low risk.”

Third, use the next 20 years (since low-risk compliance is required by 2040 not 2020) to let the scientists complete their research and then – if necessary – work to modify the flawed federal legislation so it is not forcing taxpayers to spend billions of dollars to harm the environment. Or, if problems are identified, to look for more appropriate low-cost solutions to directly address them.

Paul Scrimger

Saanich

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