Victoria sewage treatment project won't be postponed till 2040

Peninsula Daily News news sources

VICTORIA — After three hours of debate and staff presentations, Capital Regional District directors rejected a motion to delay a $783 million wastewater treatment project, keeping the plant on track for a 2018 start-up.

The CRD is an amalgamation of Victoria-area local governments that has been charged with developing secondary sewage treatment to end the discharge of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca from two outfalls.

Tuesday's vote was held over from a Nov. 14 liquid waste management committee meeting, where nearly 30 public speakers argued for and against the need for regional secondary sewage treatment.

Saanich City Councilor Vic Derman and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins defended their motions to pursue a low-risk designation under Canadian federal regulations, a move that would extend the deadline for compliance from 2020 to 2040.

"This is not about not treating our sewage, this is about ensuring a better plan," Desjardins said.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin spoke for the majority on the committee when he said treatment is overdue and necessary.

"For each household, it's a dollar a day," Fortin said. "Let's put this in perspective. It's a big global cost [to not treat sewage] and we have a responsibility to implement (treatment)."

The project currently includes construction of a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, upgrades to existing sewage pipes and a biosolids energy center.

The project is expected to cost Victoria homeowners approximately $350 annually, beginning in 2014.

The British Columbia and Canadian federal governments will contribute up to $501 million, while any cost overruns will fall on CRD taxpayers.

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Daniel Palmer of the Victoria News, a sister newspaper of the Peninsula Daily News, contributed to this report.

Last modified: November 28. 2012 11:01AM
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