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

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read