SEWAGE IN THE CRD Letters: Former Halifax resident weighs in on current situation

One resident points to the differences between Halifax and Clover Point

Your articles and backgrounder have provided a good overview of a difficult process.

A few observations:

1. Halifax sewage treatment – I lived in Halifax in the 1950s and early ’60s. The head of Bedford Basin was often littered with used condoms which were called “pee-bags,” and sewage. But as kids we fished, sailed and explored the healthy eel-grass beds.  With limited tidal flushing action, there was a need to install sewage treatment facilities.  The same was true for Olympia, WA and most of Puget Sound, and tertiary treatment is required due to significant industrial wastes.

2. Clover Point – on the one hand, an obvious site given its current use. With enough funding to commit to “work around” and keep it park-like on top, anything is possible.  Our Nike “just do it” Mayor Helps does not have the social licence from the neighbourhood. The site was off the radar; the costs and externalities of construction and sludge management are significant. Fernwood is giving Fairfield the finger. If it proceeds, Clover Point should be renamed Goose Point.

3. McLoughlin Point – another obvious choice. The previous variance application failed and was probably unrelated to Mayor Desjardins living on a float home.  If not NIMBY, then what?  Why is the smaller project now OK if the downsides are shared with Victoria?

4. On the other hand, secondary or tertiary treatment is not required at all. Former environment minister David Anderson, public health officials, Focus Mag, etc. have made the case. Victoria has a “royal flush” already; over-zealous environmentalists and “one-size fits all” governments bribing us with our own money are the problem. Prime Minister Trudeau had said the plan should be evidence-based.

We know the provincial government would rather not spend money in the NDP-oriented lower Island. Business and tourism organizations should back off because the tax/fee increases would be enormous and most foreign tourists don’t care about our sewage.

5. Have the courage to call a time out and review the evidence and life-cycle cost-benefits before making a decision. Politicians don’t like zero-sum games, but if they had $1 billion and three spending options, would sewage treatment rise to the top? Improved transit or recreational facilities, perhaps?

Tony Beckett

James Bay