February 1, 2011



ARESST: Email below just sent to CALWMC and Esquimalt Mayor, concerned about evident lack of communication about the McLoughlin Point Environment Impact Study (EIS). If interested in the EIS, please download, review and then send your comments to the CALWMC folks. Click here for online comment form.


Email from John Newcomb to CALWMC chair Denise Blackwell & Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins:

I wish to flag my concern about a CALWMC Plan media issue - that the McLoughlin Point Terrestrial Environmental Impact Study (EIS) has not been adequately communicated to CRD residents in general, nor especially to Esquimalt residents in whose municipality the McLoughlin Point sewage plant would be built and operated:
  • CALWMC did not include the EIS specified by name as an item in the 23 June Agenda, nor was the EIS report appended to its  2010 June 23 Agenda Item 05 EWW 10-51 Draft Amendment No 8 to LWMP for either that morning's CALWMC or that same afternoon's CRD Board meetings, nor for any other CALWMC meeting. The EIS does appear on the CRD's online committees reports list, buried in the Wastewater Treatment Made Clear online Reference Library (Appendix F McLoughlin Point Hartland Landfill Environmental Impact Study, Westland Resource Group June 2010).
  • The EIS was received by CALWMC and forwarded to the Minister on the same day, 23 June, 2010, but the Preliminary Project Schedule indicated that the EIS would not be starting until 30 June 2010. Perhaps the schedule was intended to indicate the Marine EIS, but that is not specified. When is the draft Marine EIS  public comment period ?
  • The CRD's 23 June 2010 Media Release did not reference the EIS as having been received by CALWMC and the CRD Board on the same day - 23 June 2010. 
  • The EIS was not included in CALWMC online reports list for 23 June meeting - nor for any other meeting as far as I can tell.  
  • There has been no mention of the EIS in any newspaper advertisements under the CRD's Wastewater Treatment Made Clear media strategy. 
  • Published letters or op-ed articles by CALWMC chair Brownoff or CRD chair Young have not named or mentioned the EIS
  • July issues of Wastewater Update - McLoughlin Option|Esquimalt Edition or Core Edition do not inform that an EIS had just been completed, nor does the Esquimalt Public Consultation Report provide any evidence that the EIS was introduced or discussed in any way.
  • Minister Penner's 25 August letter to CRD chair Geoff Young makes no mention of the EIS, but Penner only expects to see a Marine EIS progress report by 31 December 2010.Has the progress report been sent?
  • In none of the several dozen Victoria Times-Colonist or Victoria News stories or letters about McLoughlin Point has the EIS been mentioned, nor has any Presentation/Delegation before the CALWMC meeting ever mentioned this EIS report - suggesting strongly that very, very few CRD residents outside CALWMC members are aware that this EIS report has been completed and received by CALWMC. 

To address this lack of public awareness of the Terrestrial EIS, CALWMC may wish to consider some options for redressing this problem: 
  • Notify the CRD public of the existence of the Terrestrial EIS, using Wastewater Treatment Made Clear newspaper advertisements, together with weblinks to the EIS and an online form for submitting public feedback on the Terrestrial EIS
  • Hold public meeting in Esquimalt and Victoria Harbour area especially to discuss the Terrestrial EIS and its implications. If this is not feasible, perhaps Mayor Desjardins,Esquimalt Residents Association and Esquimalt Council Environmental Advisory Committee may undertake this action independently of CALWMC, because the terrestrial environment most directly impacts on Esquimalt residents.
  • On completion of the Marine EIS, broadcast that the Terrestrial plus Marine EIS now form a single complete study and invite public feedback, because taken together, theMcLoughlin Point Terrestrial and Marine EIS reports are keystone studies for this sewage plant project.
This problem of the lack of public awareness of the EIA (as well as other EIA issues not dealt with in this email) may have originated at least in part from the CRD not having opted-in to the BC Environmental Assessment Act process of public comment policy, rather than the BC Municipal Sewage Regulation's inadequate Environmental Impact Study Guideline process - where no public engagement process is included. Whatever public information is actually performed in this CRD sewage plant project is solely at the discreation of the CALWMC. Unfortunately, then-Minister of Environment Penner's email reply to me (18 November 2008) confirming the rejection my request that the CRD be "opted-in" to the BCEAA process. 

I'll try to notify contacts of the existence of the Terrestrial EIS (RSTVARESST,  my ARESST News Blog, together with contacts in Esquimalt Residents Association), but I think it might be good if news of the existence of the Terrestrial EIS also comes directly from the CRD, as well as notice of the public comment period for the Marine EIS as soon as a draft is available.

Thanks for your consideration of this matter.

John Newcomb

Cc: A. Orr, H Raines, Minister Coell


ARESST: Thanks to Shaun for news story below. Shaun notes: 

"It helps reinforce the message that source control of  storm water run off much more important than land based sewage treatment. Also helps encouraging BC Politicians and the public to push back on Washington state where they have their own problems to fix and suggesting they have made bad decisions in the past on major capital (unnecessary) expenditures that has caused them to be in significant financial difficulties – having to cut back on health, education and social services. BC and Canada can be proud of what they are doing in managing their budgets in comparison but could be going down the same route if they burden the taxpayers with a $1Billion expenditure on land based sewage treatment  for no definable benefit and likely more harm to the overall environment."

Denise Whitaker
KOMO News 
18 January 2010

 It's been a wet January in Seattle, with close to 4 inches of rain so far. After such heavy rain, there's a river that rages under Puget Sound, but it's not all water.

Local scuba diver Laura James took her camera down off Harbor Avenue SW to document the stunning stream of storm sediment now rushing into the Sound.

It looks like a thick black plume of muck. 

"People don't even think about it," James said.

James says she takes the underwater video to make people aware of the ugliness below the beauty of Puget Sound. She finds cigarette butts, candy wrappers, chewing gum -- the garbage that people toss. 

"It goes somewhere. And I like to show people where it goes," she said. "Right out here in Puget Sound."

And there is the toll from our daily lives: detergents, fertilizers, oil, brake dust -- even the rubber that wears off of our tires as we drive.

"Tire rubber? I mean where does that go?" she wondered. "We have to get our tires replaced pretty regularly; I mean where does that rubber go?"

When it rains, the water runs into storm drains and eventually flows out into our local waterways. As the water runs, it picks up all kinds of things in its path. 

The city maintains storm water catch basins, designed to collect larger pollutants. But stuff still makes it into Puget Sound and area lakes.

James says she sees it all as she watches the flow and examines the debris field that settles onto the ocean floor.

Seattle Public Utilities Professional Engineer Andrew Lee says storm water pollution is a significant source of pollution for our waters.

He cites a 2009 report by the Department of Ecology showed storm water is the most significant pollutant of Puget Sound. And he says our recent snow storms made things worse. 

"Obviously the Seattle Department of Transportation, putting salt, as well as sand on the roads to make sure that people could still drive on them -- some of that salt and sand material might have mixed with oils that are coming off of people's cars and then in the next rain event, that stuff flushes into the separated storm water system and when it comes out it looks like that black soot type of material," he said. 

But more often, Lee says it's the things we do daily, from fertilizing our lawns and gardens to tossing trash, that leave the biggest mark on Puget Sound pollution. 

And he says people are not supposed to wash their cars at home. You should use a self-service car wash instead, because they collect all of the detergent-filled water, so it does not go into storm drains.

"Every decision we make even if they're tiny decisions can affect what goes out there," Lee said.

And it all effects what's living and should be thriving in Puget Sound.


EFFORTS TO SEEK FACTS ADMIRABLE (commentary about Scientific Victoria)

Goldstream Gazette, Saanich News, Oak Bay News
January 27, 2011 1:00 PM

A new organization dedicated to urging politicians to base decisions on sound science is a welcome addition to Greater Victoria.

That’s not to say citizens would be better served by a more technocratic approach to governing, in which scientists and engineers make decisions now made by elected officials.

However, we live in an age marked by an overwhelming availability of information. With that, many of us have become numb to the bombardment of junk-science and have also over-valued the merits of celebrity endorsements and personal testimonials.

It’s harder and harder to separate hard facts from data that looks like facts — especially when it’s about an issue that affects something as precious as our personal health.

It’s also troubling that there are so many people ready to counter scientific arguments by fabricating data, extrapolating falsehoods from facts or condemning anything that doesn’t support their case as evidence of conspiracy.

The new group, Scientific Victoria (ScientificVictoria.org, see the story on page A26), does not hold a monopoly on the truth. However, the small organization’s ideals are worthwhile.

Nationally, a group of scientists who work in the civil service have created a website PublicScience.ca, dedicated to making sure political decisions made at a federal level are based on sound science.

The public, through elected representatives, must continue to make the decisions that affect lives. And while some decisions will continue to be made because it feels right — the region is known for preferring a progressive approach, especially on environmental issues — we also need to know that at the heart of political agendas, representatives are doing the right thing based on sound, empirical evidence.


ARESST: Quote from news story copied below, comment by CRD chair Geoff  Young, so why doesn't he apply fact-based evidence to sewage issue?

"He criticized the report as not having enough fact-based evidence... It should present evidence that this is a direction that works."
VICTORIA COUNCIL BACKS ACCESS TO BOOZE, DRUGS (Councillor Young: "fact-based evidence")

JANUARY 28, 2011

Drug addiction or alcoholism should not be a barrier to social housing, Victoria council said Thursday.

All of council but for Coun. Geoff Young were in favour of two reports that say providing housing along with controlled access to drugs and alcohol for addicts is one way of reducing the harm caused by addiction.

"There is no one-size-fits-all solution," said Bernie Pauly, a scientist with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. and an associate professor with the University of Victoria School of Nursing.

Pauly is one of the authors of a paper written for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness that was presented to council. It says that managed use of alcohol or complexes with safe injection sites are harm-reduction options.

Council voted in favour in principle of adopting that report, as well as a city staff report about the needle exchange program. Council will also urge the Vancouver Island Health Authority to create a small working group to "review, integrate and implement" all the recommendations contained in the reports That working group should include a representative from VIHA, the homelessness coalition, the provincial ministry of housing and social development, the Victoria police department, Victoria council, the Capital Regional District and downtown service providers.

Only Young voted against the motion made by new councillor Marianne Alto. He criticized the report as not having enough fact-based evidence.

"Demonstrating that that approach will be a successful one for us as housing providers requires more than merely a philosophical statement we should aspire to. It should present evidence that this is a direction that works," Young said.

Pauly said the paper is "infused with the most current evidence." It is a situation where philosophy, values and the evidence align.

"It is very easy when the evidence does not fit with one's own personal values to dismiss the evidence as lacking in credibility," Pauly said.