Colwood to ask sewage Project Board to postpone assessment

An environmental study surrounding a potential Colwood plant is deemed a waste for a facility that is decades away from construction.

In the end, Colwood council decided it simply didn’t make sense to conduct a $2-million environmental impact assessment for a project that might not come to fruition for 25 years or more.

On Monday council voted to request that the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board postpone the assessment – which would determine the viability of discharging treated effluent into the ground – until the planned McLoughlin Point plant is within an estimated five years of capacity, which isn’t projected to happen until at least 2040.

Originally, it wasn’t clear to Colwood and Mayor Carol Hamilton when a facility might be constructed in the municipality following the assessment. When it became clear that it wouldn’t be built until it was absolutely needed, the study didn’t seem worth it.

“Technology is changing constantly, systems are being improved (and) footprints on plants are being improved,” Hamilton said.

She also noted that potential land identified as useful for a plant now might not be available decades down the road.

While the $2 million would have come from the Capital Regional District rather than the city, taxpayer money is taxpayer money, Hamilton said, and council didn’t feel it was a “prudent use” of public funds.

“It just didn’t make sense to spend (potentially) another $2 million dollars of taxpayer money … on a study that would end up sitting on a shelf for 30 years or so.”

During the Nov. 14 meeting, Colwood chief administrative officer Ian Howat also noted that changing political landscapes might make the study a waste.

“What we do today may not be palatable for the councillors four or five terms from now, and that also applies to the CRD elected officials as well,” he said before recommending that council request postponement of the study.

Colwood has been vocal about wastewater treatment plants in the past as it tries to ensure City residents aren’t stuck paying an unfair portion of the bill, with only about 30 per cent of the municipality’s homes connected to sewers.

The City was willing to provide land for its own facility, but the CRD eventually rejected the idea of several smaller facilities in the region in favour of a large, centralized plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point.

Hamilton would have preferred it if the CRD had looked at a different solution than the single, high-capacity plant at McLoughlin. She used the example of Royal Bay secondary, which is already at capacity in its second scholastic year, as an example of what can happen when decisions are made without proper forward thinking.

“I don’t want people looking at this in a short period of time going, ‘you had a chance to do it all brand new and this is what you took?’” she said.

Colwood Coun. Cynthia Day was stronger in voicing her displeasure with the McLoughlin result at this week’s council meeting.

“After all the time and effort that was made to look at something innovative … we are right back to where we started, forced to participate in a (plant) downtown based on population projections that are fatally flawed,” she said.

“As much as I’m unhappy with that and the subsequent additional costs and lack of environmental benefit for the citizens of Colwood, I think it would be foolish to start trying to plan for a future that’s that far away.”

The CRD was not immediately available for comment.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Sooke council green lights funds for sculpture

A local group is chipping away at raising funds to build a… Continue reading

Get ready for the 39th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Up to 9,000 particpants are anticipated for this year’s three-day race weekend

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

SOOKE HISTORY: Fishing evolves at foot of Maple Ave.

Fishboat activity at the foot of Maple Avenue has varied greatly over… Continue reading

Plaque that replaced Macdonald statue at Victoria city hall vandalized

Less than 24 hours after plaque was installed, an ‘X’ had been scratched through the centre

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read