January 16, 2011




Click here for email addresses of CRD Board appointees

Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee
Chair: Denise Blackwell
Vice Chair: Susan Brice
Judy Brownoff
Christopher Causton
Vic Derman
Barbara Desjardins
Dean Fortin
Graham Hill
Frank Leonard
Philippe Lucas
David Saunders
Charlayne Thornton-Joe
Leif Wergeland
Geoff Young

Environmental Sustainability Committee

Chair: Alice Finall
Vice Chair: Garth Hendren
Denise Blackwell
Vic Derman
Barb Desjardins                    
Philippe Lucas                    
Jane Mendum    
John Ranns                  
David Saunders                  
Board Chair (ex-officio)


ARESST: Strahl's ministry includes Infrastructure Canada and IC website library includes old Sierra Club "report card" promoting additional land-based sewage treatment in Victoria, as well as other old sewage-plant related shared-funding announcement also included on IC site.


JANUARY 15, 2011
Letters to editor: letters@timescolonist.com
Letters to Minister Strahl: mintc@tc.gc.ca

Federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl met local representatives in Victoria Friday in the second of a series of pre-budget roundtables.

More than a dozen stakeholders, including representatives from Victoria International Airport, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, the Island Corridor Foundation, and the municipalities of Victoria, Esquimalt and View Royal attended the meeting.

Strahl said the meeting included a broad discussion on transportation priorities and a longer-term vision on infrastructure needs for the South Island.

Strahl said he repeatedly hears that stability and predictability in funding for local governments is key to them being able to do their job.

Over the next few weeks, Strahl will host a series of similar sessions across the country.




ARESST: Including commentary below in context of our own concern about sewage treatment project and role of science.

Times Colonist
January 16, 2011
Letters to editor: letters@timescolonist.com
According to a group of experts, governments shouldn't wait for scientific certainty before making policy. Incomplete knowledge, they argue, can be good enough.

Their concerns, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, were triggered by a controversy over second-hand smoke. In the past two years, provinces, including B.C., have banned smoking in motor vehicles when children are present. The fear is that second-hand smoke is more dangerous in such a confined space.

Yet the proof of harm isn't conclusive. For example, a major study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute at Oxford University found no significant increased risk of lung cancer among children exposed to second-hand smoke in cars. Some critics have complained the ban was premature.

Not so, say the experts. There are studies showing that children do suffer harm in proximity to smokers. Wait for certainty, and you might wait too long.

In one sense, this is fair enough. Science rarely offers absolute, irrefutable proof. It is a work in progress.

But researchers must reflect on their increasing responsibility. Governments are already often under enough pressure to act hastily. If anything, we expect scientists to exert a restraining influence. Who else knows better the dangers of leaping to conclusions?

Yet there have been several high-profile incidents recently where science failed to play this role effectively.

In the late 1990s, for example, a physician in England published research that claimed to show a link between autism and vaccination. The study, which involved a joint vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, had too few participants to be reliable -- only 12 children were included. There are also signs some of the findings were deliberately manipulated.

Follow-up research has shown there is no relationship between immunization and autism, the original study has been withdrawn and the doctor sanctioned.

But the harm was done. Vaccination rates dropped sharply across Britain and to some extent in North America. It's believed a number of deaths resulted.

There are other examples.

In 2003, during the early stages of an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) researchers and health policy experts warned 60 million people might die. They called for major efforts to combat the disease.

SARS was relatively unknown at the time and the warnings were heeded. After a handful of cases were diagnosed in Toronto, the World Health Organization advised travellers to stay away from the city. The cost to Canada's tourism industry has been estimated at $5 billion.

But it turned out the fears were greatly overstated. Worldwide, the death count was less than 1,000.

A few years later, when the new flu variant H1N1 appeared, WHO officials warned that a third of the planet's population -- two billion people -- might be infected. So far, the total is less than one-thousandth of that number.

The desire to inform public policy is understandable. And scientists are sometimes criticized for being too remote from real-world concerns.

But their value to decision-makers lies in their distance and objectivity. Their participation in policy development and public debate is important.

Perhaps the greatest contribution comes when they share findings, rather than offer specific prescriptions.

It is a balancing act. Scientists have the same interest as any citizens in advocating for what they believe is the correct course of action.

Yet their most important role remains laying out the facts, as they are known, and trusting that the appropriate decisions will be reached by public and politicians.