McLoughlin greenlit by CRD board for sewage plant site, West Shore solution also in mix

Colwood mayor hopes project board’s $2 million idea to complete technical studies for area followed up on

It’s an issue that has plagued the Capital Regional District (CRD) for decades.

But on Wednesday, after a lengthy five-hour discussion, the board finally voted to build a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.

CRD directors voted 15-1 to approve the business case as put forward by the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board, which includes building a single 108 megalitre/day plant for the tertiary treatment of wastewater at McLoughlin Point, at an estimated cost of $765 million.

Esquimalt mayor and CRD board chair Barb Desjardins, who has been holding off on giving her opinion until the meeting, threw her support behind the recommendation. “I know that I can stand up and say the project board has listened to our residents and to the community,” she said, adding there are still a number of questions the township has.

“I anticipate further dialogue once this decision has been made. Are there some things we could have done better? Maybe. But we don’t have time.”

Carol Hamilton, CRD director and Colwood mayor, hopes the project board will not forget about its recommendation to spend up to $2 million to complete the required technical studies and environmental impact assessments relating to a future wastewater treatment plant to serve the fast-growing West Shore.

“I’m not sure of when the timing is to look at another plant in Colwood. (If) we wait 20 years, it becomes old and dusty and you lose the benefit of the gift that we’re getting now,” she said.

“Lands identified now as potential sites, may well not be available in 20 years time.

Two years ago, the CRD came close to constructing a facility at McLoughlin Point, but the Township of Esquimalt rejected the plan, citing concerns with the facility’s size and environmental impact.

In March, McLoughlin was put back on the table at the suggestion of another CRD director.

Since then, Desjardins believes, the project board has listened to and taken Esquimalt residents’ concerns into account. “Our position has always been to get the very best project for the best value. That means it’s socially acceptable, environmentally beneficial and we get the best value for dollar cost.”

Also approved were recommendations for a construction laydown area at Rock Bay in Victoria, a commitment to study a wastewater treatment proposal for Colwood and for solids to be transported by pipe to the Hartland landfill in Saanich.

According to project board Jane Bird, the latest project has a much smaller footprint, larger setbacks and is significantly less money than the previous plan.

Director and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was also in support of the project, that has already cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few decades.

“Yes, it’s been delayed but we are getting a better project, both in the sense of taxpayers’ dollars and in terms of treatment with tertiary treatment. It’s better than what we want to do for less money,” she said. “I’m very happy to support this today and even happier when we get the shovels in the ground.”

Director and Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said the plan is “not perfect” but is a good plan in that it balances the board’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizes cost to taxpayers, meets federal requirements for secondary wastewater treatment, and adds value to the surrounding community.

The only director to vote against the recommendation was Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell, arguing the numbers don’t add up.

“Our (the CRD’s) cost has gone up to $311 million. As a business case, it’s better for the province and the federal governments, but it’s not better for us,” he said.

Project board member Don Fairbairn said the previous proposal and budget put forward by Seaterra in 2012 cannot be compared with numbers from 2016, adding it’s like comparing apples to oranges, since construction costs and inflation have increased.

The clock is still ticking on the project, which is expected to be complete in 2020. The board has until Sept. 30 to submit its plans for wastewater treatment to the federal government or risk losing millions of dollars in funding.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

We Are One! celebrates solidarity, inclusion with song and dance

Nov. 30 performance includes performers from across Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria students help bring small-scale urban farming to community

The high school students presented their work at City Hall on Nov. 13

Saanich resident calling for gas powered leaf blower ban finds support as autumn leaves fall

‘Cities don’t need to be noisy and happiness and wellbeing should be a priority,’ says the resident

More than 150 rental units proposed for Gorge Road neighbourhood

The City of Victoria is set to hear of a new five-storey project

VIDEO: North Island man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read