The guesstimated cost for sewage treatment is now $1.5 billion. As we all know, government and in this case, the Capital Regional District, is notorious for underestimating the cost of anything.
If this project were to start today the final cost would be $1.1 billion or more. Before we go any further, the CRD needs to restructure the cost-sharing formula with the federal government and the province. At the very least, they must agree to pay two-thirds of the entire cost, including cost overruns. The final figure won’t be known until the project is completed.
Next, municipalities must tell taxpayers what their cost will be and the CRD must tell us what the annual operating costs will be. Add 10 per cent because again, the price will be lowballed. If the cost proves to be prohibitive and taxpayers run the risk of being taxed out of their homes, the CRD must go back to senior levels of government and demand more money.
The federal government seems to have lots of money to spend on infrastructure projects; let them pay a substantial portion of the cost. Mandate or not, if the feds and the province aren’t prepared to put up enough money so as to ease the burden for the local taxpayer, then the project must be cancelled.