December 18, 2010




ARESST members: These CRD RSS online policy brief questionnaires  are an opportunity to easily voice your opinion - confidential or identified - on the CRD's RSS. They need to know that our current marine-based sewage treatment is really a part of a sustainable future vision for the region - MEETS CRD environmental standards, creates NO sewage sludge and FEW greenhouse gases, makes NO community disturbance, costs relatively LITTLE! They just awarded the input prizes, but biggest prize for ARESST will be to have many members' input on sewage issues!


Resource management policy brief: 
Sewage-related input so far:
- Pursue sewage energy capture
- Don't create sewage sludge
Click here to provide your input for Resource Management Questions

Ecological Health policy brief (includes Marine Environment):
Sewage-related input so far:
- Permanently protect surrounding ecosystems
- Cooperation between all levels of government - province, CRD and municipalities - to enforce natural environmental protection

Sustainable Development policy brief:
No sewage-related input so far

Economic Sustainability policy brief:
No sewage-related input so far


Roszan Holman
Victoria News, Oak Bay News, Saanich News, Goldstream Gazette
December 17, 2010

Re-elected Capital Regional District board chair Geoff Young talked to reporter Roszan Holmen about some of the surprises and 
controversies during his term, as well as the changing role of the governing body. His comments have been edited for length.

News: How about sewage?

Geoff Young: 

At every step of the way there has been spirited discussion. We’ve had the view expressed that we should be using a much more decentralized architecture that focuses on resource recovery. That was an option that we explored in a fair amount of detail and we concluded that there are some very high costs associated with resource recovery. 

We are still in the process of debating with (the province) issues relating to procurement and governance of the project. It’s fair to say the provincial government is leaning to the fully P3 (Public Private Partnership) type option and the board has been a little cautious about some of those.




1. # EEE-101 Resource Recovery and Use Plan—Core Area Wastewater
Treatment Program

MOVED by Director Brownoff, SECONDED by Director Brice, that the draft Resource Recovery and Use Plan (Appendix A) be approved and
submitted to the Ministry of Environment, with work continuing through 2011 to refine the Plan.

It was noted that this submission was prepared to meet the Minister’s deadline. However, it was acknowledged that further work would be done in 2011 to refine cost
and revenue estimates resulting from the recovery and use of resources from wastewater.
Staff responded to questions on the plan regarding governance, negotiations with cement kiln operators, co-digestion with organic waste, and cost-sharing. In the ensuing discussion, concerns were raised regarding lack of resource recovery opportunities because of the proposed system configuration, lack of detail in the plan, and the need for life cycle costs.

The question on the motion was called. CARRIED. 
Derman, Desjardins, Hill OPPOSED.



Minutes excerpt from CRD Committee of Whole, 1 December: 

Liquid Waste Disposal Programs – LWMP and Other (Book 5)
a) Stormwater Quality (536)
b) Harbour Studies (752)
c) Onsite Management (707)
d) Regional Source Control (755)
e) Core LWMP (750)
f) Inflow and Infiltration Programs (709)

MOVED by Director Derman, SECONDED by Director Hill,
1. that the Liquid Waste Disposal Programs – LWMP and Other budgets be approved as
presented; and
2. that staff be directed to report on what a stormwater source control program for the core
area would look like and how the costs would be allocated.


BOB WHEATON'S EMAILS TO MURRAY COELL (previously sent to some RSTV/ARESST members, Bob ok's wider distribution)

First email to Coell, sent recently:

Hi Murray :

    This note will be longer than I would like, but only because it is so important and somewhat urgent.

First of all, congratulations on your new appointment.   If you are as successful as your were in your labour portfolio, we truly have something to look forward to in this province as I can't recall any period in BC labour history that has been as quiet and peaceful as it was under your leadership, and that goes back a long way.

As Minister for the Environment and as a local MLA, I would ask you consider meeting with a representative group of marine scientists, public health officials, and engineers, to review the matter of your predecessor's mandate regarding sewage treatment in the CRD.   In so doing, I fully recognize how politically delicate this would be but, in view of your government's current standing with the public, it could also be seen as a welcome sign of renewed public consultation.

It is not too late to do so.   No site has been purchased for a treatment plant and no contracts have been let, etc.   (Needless to say, it's proposed location alone should give you reason enough to be concerned.   Heaven help us all if we ever suffer the experience Halifax had with its new treatment plant.)

Mr. Penner made a number of statements at the time he announced his mandate.   Many of them were factually incorrect, to put it nicely.  Neither the SETAC nor the MacDonald reports called for secondary treatment.   (I believe the MacDonald report actually recommended further studies to verify assumptions made, but peer-reviews of both reports were scrapped.)   The beaches and off-shore waters were/are not unsafe for wading, sailing, fishing, etc. as stated.   Federal fisheries and proposed effluent standards have also been continuously misrepresented.   Public participation/debate has been a farce, with 'open forums' being no more than displays of what had already been decided to date.

CFAX has run a number of polls on this subject over the past several years.   Whether they have any value is certainly open to question, but they have consistently shown 2/3 of the respondents oppose this project, and let me assure you that when the true cost of this project finally gets translated into individual tax increases, there is going to be an outcry, the likes of which we have never seen.   Major employers in this community will be stunned by the impact.

As a member of cabinet, I believe you and your government have a duty to know the facts before you entertain the spending of public funds.   The misrepresentation of the facts in this case have perhaps best been typified by the steadfast refusal to include, or insist on, a comparison of the environmental, economic, and social benefits of the proposed system with what we are currently doing.   This is quite incredible.   Reconsidering that step alone would be a huge step forward.

I would ask you to consider meeting with people who actually know the facts, who care about our environment, and who are extremely upset by this proposed waste of invaluable resources ... people who would love to see our oceans protected and enhanced by the expenditure of public funds ... but not in this manner.   It is not right to appear to be 'doing the right thing' or 'eliminating a public embarrassment' to justify this kind of costly expenditure.  Surely, it is the duty of our political leaders to gather the facts, then make responsible decisions.  The facts in this case have become victims to the rush to secure federal and provincial funding for a project that the real experts insist is not required.  This is a case of political correctness gone mad.

WAC Bennett became famous for taking a second look.   That is all I ask.   I would like you to show responsible leadership by reviewing the facts.   Your staff may be of limited assistance in this regard.   Your predecessor was asked, several times, to meet with these people, but refused.   His stock reply was that the time for debate was over.   As delicate as it may be, I would hope you will consider this request in a different light.   It would involve an hour of your valuable time, but it could be time well invested.

Many thanks, and good luck in your new duties.
Bob Wheaton


Reply from Coell office staff: 

On 14-Dec-10, at 2:55 PM, Jones, Angela M ENV:EX wrote:

Mr. Wheaton,

Thank you for your email dated November 3rd, 2010, to the Honourable Murray Coell, Minister of Environment.

The Minister’s Office has reviewed your request, you have asked that Minister Coell meet with representatives for marine scientists, public health officials and engineers, to review sewage treatment in the CRD, the Minister would be pleased to meet with such groups.  Did you have specific organizations in mind or are you coordinating a meeting on their behalf?  If you have a list of groups with the names and titles attached, I’d be happy to discuss a meeting with you; please call me at your convenience in the Minister’s Office, my contact information is attached below.

Angela M. Jones
Administrative Coordinator
Minister's Office
Ministry of Environment


Bob's second email, through Ms Jones:

Dear Ms Jones :

Thank you for your reply, but I gather the Minister has already had a preliminary meeting with several representatives of the ARESST group and is scheduling a further meeting with additional representatives some time in January.   ARESST and RSTV are organized groups of people questioning the CRD's plans, and there are marine scientists, public health officials, and engineers amongst them.   I support both groups and work with them but don't actually belong to either.

If they or you would like me to attend that session I could do that, but my main request of the Minister would be to simply take advantage of an opportunity ... a political window ... to announce that "Now that the CRD's plan is in place, it is time to do a triple bottom line comparison between what is proposed and what is being currently done".   

That is a totally reasonable and defensible position to take, as surely no government would want to be funding the largest project in Victoria's history without knowing that it was actually going to provide some significant environmental, social, and economic benefits to the community, and be able to assure the provincial/federal/civic taxpayers of that.   He doesn't need to suggest that treatment is being reconsidered.   He simply needs to explain that his final support cannot be forthcoming for provincial funding until he is assured that it makes sense based on a proper/credible triple bottom-line evaluation.   Every other major expenditure of funds is put to these kinds of tests.   Why should this one not ?    I believe the province should conduct this study, not the CRD.   

Should such a study demonstrate that there are indeed significant benefits from proceeding, then clearly we will have to support his decision.   My concern is that the longer he waits, the deeper entrenched this unjustified project becomes.

Bob Wheaton



Rebecca Aldous
North Shore Outlook
December 15, 2010
Click here to send letter

North Shore municipalities will have six new sewage treatment system options to comb through in the new year.

Metro Vancouver has contracted Fidelus Resource Group to study what the area’s new sewage treatment plant could look like by 2020 — the year the federal government is mandating secondary sewage treatment for all larger municipalities.

The Integrated Resource Recovery Study on the North Shore delves into “resource recovery” processes, such as extracting water, fuel and heat from the sewage stream.

The current draft report outlines six different scenarios for recovering these assets — from smaller facilities scattered throughout neighbourhoods, to a more traditional centralized sewage plant.

The study’s research seems to favour the latter idea, says West Vancouver’s engineering director Raymond Fung.

If built at the proposed industrial site adjacent to McKeen Avenue in the District of North Vancouver, generated energy, heat and brown water could potentially be used or sold to adjacent companies. Lonsdale Energy Corp. would be one such example, Fung says, noting the study also looks at combining solid and liquid waste to maximize resource recovery.

Viewing waste as an income source is nothing new, says Richard Walton, District of North Vancouver Mayor. In Sweden, for example, generates methane from trash to power its public transport. But building such infrastructure takes time and government investment, Walton adds.

“These kinds of projects are very capital intensive and obviously it requires a commitment and support levels from other levels of government,” he says, noting that many European municipalities receive approximately 20 per cent of the national government’s income tax as opposed to B.C.’s municipalities’ eight per cent.

Current estimates place the price tag of a new North Shore sewage treatment plant at $400 million, a figure which would rise when adding technology to create utilities from waste, he says.

There are also more variables when considering such a system — more components to break down, the selling prices of recovered resources and challenges of threading utilities together, Walton adds.

In the long term, capital costs could be offset by resource recovery revenue, as the more traditional model will always only be an expense, he noted. A lot of questions surround the issue and further risk management needs to be completed, says Walton.

West Van has requested that the Fidelus study be subjected to a peer review to verify potential energy loads, cost estimates for the building and operating facilities and assumptions regarding energy pricing.

The three North Shore municipalities are currently reviewing Fidelus’s draft, which is set to be finalized by the spring of 2011.