April 15, 2011




The following comments were presented to the CRD's Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee on April 13th 2011.  
I will firstly speak to Agenda item #5 Core Area Liquid Waste Governance - a proposed by-law.http://www.crd.bc.ca/reports/corearealiquidwastem_/2011_/04april13_/2011apr13item05eww11/2011apr13item05eww11.pdf
 In order to understand the implications of this by-law should there not be a draft budget presented for the Commission before you approve the by-law?  From reading the proposed by-law you may be establishing in a Commission much of the function that you have currently been carrying out by means of consultants. This raises the issue of where are you going to get commission members who will be appropriately paid for their expertise to provide the functions described in this proposed bylaw?
 Wastewater engineering, Wastewater treatment operations, Tendering and construction law, Alternative procurement methods, Project Management, Project Finance, Major Project Construction, Public Communications etc.  These are the experts described in the draft bylaw.
 Will not the best expertise be working for the companies who want a piece of the action in building the proposed plants?  If you do not remunerate the members adequately you will not get the best expertise.
 The commission appears to be a technical committee but only by understanding how it will be funded and seeing its budget will we know whether the CRD (and the public) are getting sufficient oversight of the project.  Where will be the push back in controlling the costs? Will we be getting “Cadillac” thinking or will the taxpayers interests be served as they are by elected officials?
 Once the Engineers and other specialists have control of the project the public can expect that there will end up being an increasing demand for more resources.
 Nowadays you do not have doctors in charge of hospitals – it has not been so for many years. For very good reasons. The doctors are the experts in care and always as good professionals see a need for more resources. To-day those in charge of hospitals and health authorities have training and mostly graduate degrees in Health Administration or Business Administration.  One benefit I notice is that the Chair of the proposed Commission will be appointed by the CRD Board and approved by the province. I suggest there should be a chair who is not an engineer but who has more of a Business Administration or Public Administration background with experience of managing large projects.
 As a brief comment, on another subject, I would like to hear when we as the public are going to know whether an alternative site has been found for the proposed sludge treatment plant and whether there has been any rethinking of using a great deal of energy to dry the biosolids and send them to a lime kiln in Vancouver for burning.
 Last time I spoke to you I felt somewhat insulted when one of the Directors (Victoria Director and Mayor Dean Fortin) at the meeting publically described my comments as “disingenuous” which according to the dictionary is described as “insincere, lacking in frankness or honesty.”
 I have presented to you many times, as a volunteer, out of a sense of public duty, and have tried to be completely honest and to remain credible in my remarks, by checking out the facts as much as possible.  I do understand that my comments may be contrary to the beliefs of some of the directors. 
 As many of you are aware there is very weak scientific justification for this project – the planned land based sewage treatment plants - which will have an adverse effect on the overall environment (marine, land and global).  There has been no identification of any benefit that will result from building these plants. A vast about of public funds (currently estimated at $780 Million) may be spent.
 The views I have presented are not just mine but are the result of discussions with at least ten Marine Scientists, Public Health Officials, members of ARESST and many members of the public.
 In my view, and here I am being completely honest, the original order by the Ministry of the Environment for the CRD to plan for treatment was bad public policy.  There is still time to rethink this provincial policy and in addition the federal “one size fits all” approach that is in the proposed Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations.  Here in the marine waters off Victoria we have a unique receiving environment. The CRD’s two engineer designed deep sea outfalls through which the screened liquid waste is discharged, through long diffusers, and is effectively treated naturally in the marine environment.
 I am optimistic and sincerely believe that there is a chance for a rethink of this megaproject which has been described as “a billion dollar boondoggle” and may cost the equivalent of at least ten Blue Bridges.
 Thank you, 
 Dr Shaun Peck, Public Health Consultant
Member of Responsible Sewage Treatment Victoria  www.rstv.ca
Board member of the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment. www.aresst.ca

Federal election questions: Round 3 (North Vancouver)

North Shore Outlook
April 13, 2011

The federal government is legislating improvements to municipal infrastructure, such as sewage treatment requirements. Should the federal government help pay for the costs of these projects?

Andrew Saxton, Conservative -

Building municipal infrastructure is clearly the responsibility of municipal governments. But a responsible federal government should be willing to assist municipalities with large projects. That is why our government doubled and made permanent the Gas Tax Fund — which funds municipal infrastructure such as roads, water systems and public transit, including a brand new SeaBus. We also established the $8.8 billion Building Canada Fund, which has so far contributed $50 million to building the Seymour-Capilano Water Filtration plant in North Vancouver. In contrast, the Michael Ignatieff Liberals have promised to eliminate a $1 billion infrastructure fund that supports community infrastructure.

Taleeb Noormohamed, Liberal -

Yes. However, local government was not involved enough in decision-making in the most recent infrastructure program. Our infrastructure program needs to include a strategic component that takes local needs into account to include arts, cultural and recreation facilities.  Finally, public buildings such as community centres are vital to our emergency plans — as, if properly built and maintained, they will be serving as shelters in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake.

Michael Charrois, NDP -

New Democrats believe it is unfair and unacceptable for the federal government to tell municipalities to make improvements to water and sewage treatment plants without providing them with either funding or the means to raise the mandated funds. The Canadian Federation of Municipalities had this to say in response to Jack Layton’s platform announcement: “We welcome the NDP’s commitments to upgrade water systems and invest in northern highways. These proposals should be implemented as part of a long-term plan to protect and expand municipal infrastructure investments. Forty per cent of core federal investments in municipalities will expire in the next 36 months. Today the NDP clearly laid out how it would work with municipalities to address this challenge.” Jack Layton and BC’s New Democrats are the only ones who can be trusted to work with municipalities to maintain and enhance our shared public services.

Greg Dowman, Green -

The Green Party is dedicated to finding support for municipalities to repair crumbling infrastructure in cities in desperate need of upgrades and replacement. We will engage in helping to fund common amenities in communities: The need for recreation, transportation, arts and culture, waterworks and with this, sewage treatment for example is included in these improvements. Together with local expertise we all can and must do municipal infrastructure improvements sensibly and sustainably.



Mike De Souza,
Postmedia News
April 12, 2011

Less than a dozen industrial sectors out of 92 are responsible for nearly
three-quarters of annual toxic pollution released in North America's air,
land and water, says a new analysis by an environmental panel set up under
the continent's free trade agreement.

(Report: http://www.cec.org/Storage/101/9990_CEC-TakingStock13_en.pdf)

The analysis by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation, established
under the North American Free Trade Agreement, found that fossil fuel
power plants and oil and gas extraction operations were some of the top
sources of pollution on the continent. Companies in primary metal
manufacturing, metal mining and chemicals manufacturing were also among
the top polluters.

The study found that 81 other sectors were responsible for only 28 per
cent out of the total 5.7 billion kilograms in toxic pollution that North
American facilities had reported were released into the environment in

The data was to be unveiled Tuesday in the commission's 13th annual Taking
Stock report, which is based on figures from 2006, the most recent
publicly reported data from Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Canadian companies and facilities were the source of 2.1 billion kg of
toxic pollution, equivalent to about 37 per cent of the total reported on
the continent. The report noted that 55 per cent of the Canadian pollution
was diverted for recycling.

The commission's executive director, Evan Lloyd, said the report also
improves transparency for the public about pollution in their own
neighbourhood through an online tool at the commission's website —
www.cec.org/takingstock. He explained it would allow people to build maps
or charts that reveal what kind of pollution is being discharged from
facilities in their region.

"We're doing everything we can to promote the fact that you can go online,
build your own report and look up data according to the criteria you
select," said Lloyd in an interview.

He said the reports have evolved over the years with improved criteria
that expands the amount of information and reveals differences in
reporting criteria between the countries. For example, it demonstrates
that data about greenhouse gas emissions is not readily available for some
smaller facilities in Canada, or that data from wastewater pollution is
more readily available for Canadians than for some regions of Mexico.

In terms of air pollution, the top ten emitting facilities in Canada
accounted for 21 per cent of total air releases in Canada. Ontario and
Alberta were home to eight of the top ten-emitting facilities in the
country, including the Vale Inco Copper Cliff smelter complex in Sudbury,
Ont., and Nanticoke coal-fired power generating station in Ontario as well
as two oilsands facilities operated by Syncrude and Suncor in Alberta, the
report said.

Five Ontario municipal wastewater facilities — four in the Toronto region
and one in Ottawa — were among the top ten sources of surface water
pollution. That list also included two municipal facilities in the
Vancouver region, as well as single facilities in Calgary, Montreal and

The Jericho Diamond mine in Nunavut, previously operated by the Tahera
Diamond Corporation, was the largest source of toxins discharged onto
land, followed by eight other facilities in Ontario and Quebec, as well as
one in Manitoba. The Jericho mine was abandoned when its operator applied
for bankruptcy protection and later purchased by Shear Minerals.



ARESST: Quote from opinion story below: Every taxpayer-funded scheme from the Blue Bridge to the $800million sewage project is debated to death in public.


Jack Knox
Times Colonist
April 12, 2011
Letters: letters@timescolonist.com

When we last saw Andrea Merrick, she was 19 years old, standing beside the main drag through Youbou, looking toward her future.

It would make for a tidy metaphor to say she was at a fork in the road, but in reality it's a straight shot out of town, which is where kids from the boonies have to go to get ahead in the world.

Merrick was moving to Victoria to study nursing at Camosun College.

That was during the federal election of 2004. Merrick was interviewed because she personified the young, rural people often ignored by politicians. Campaigns target the biggest blocs of voters - older, urban Canadians - which is why candidates spend a lot of time talking about things like crime, pensions, Wayne and Shuster and how Chrysler never should have stopped making the slant six engine.

Back in 2004, Merrick said she thought she would vote, though there was a note of doubt in her voice. It wasn't as though the candidates had her in mind, she said, leaning on the counter at the town's garage, Daly's Auto Centre, where she had worked through her teens.

Fast-forward to today, seven years and three federal elections later. It didn't take long to track down Merrick. She's a registered nurse, just as planned - Camosun was followed by a degree at UVic and then more study when she qualified as a labour-delivery nurse. She lives in Victoria, but works at Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan.

The question is: Are the politicians talking to her yet?

Well, in a move that would seem tailor-made for Merrick, both the Liberals and Conservatives promise student loan forgiveness of up to $40,000 for doctors and $20,000 for nurses who practise in rural communities.

Except Merrick isn't biting. Politicians bribe us with our own money at election time, dangling promises of tax breaks tailored to the individual, but she's not looking for anything for herself.

"I don't need a lot for me," she says, which might be the most refreshing thing ever said during an election campaign.

No, what would excite her would be concrete proposals - not vague generalities - for improving health care. "That would get my attention and I know it would get the attention of my colleagues."

The hospital's pediatrics and maternity floor sees a steady stream of kids whose conditions are directly linked to poverty, she says.

Bring in social supports - everything from substanceabuse programs to nutrition education - to break that generation-to-generation cycle, and you've got her vote. "I wouldn't see a lot of the kids who I see. We wouldn't have the same issues coming up again and again."

It isn't necessarily surprising that Merrick asks for little for herself. You can argue that people raised in rural areas tend to expect less from government, which plays a much greater role in the everyday lives of city dwellers than those from the unpaved bits. Merrick can look around Victoria and see the McTavish interchange, municipal buses, the Galloping Goose, the legislature, Camosun, UVic, Royal Roads, thousands of provincial civil service jobs and a naval base that employs thousands more. Every taxpayer-funded scheme from the Blue Bridge to the $800million sewage project is debated to death in public.

"Everywhere you turn down here, there's something political going on."

In Youbou, by contrast, they paved the road once.

Reality is there's a huge divide between what governments offer in the city and in the Land Beyond Starbucks. No wonder Merrick wasn't all that interested in voting in 2004.

"What is there for a 19-yearold that the politicians can make enticing in a small town?"

Jobs would be nice. Of all the kids she grew up with in Youbou, only one remains - and that woman drives 45 minutes to work. "The rest of us left."

That's typical of small towns on Vancouver Island. Young people who live at the edge of the world have no choice but to jump off the cliff, which would explain the combination of anxiety and eager optimism that readers found so endearing in Merrick as she prepared to move out in 2004.

(After her story ran in the Times Colonist, the Daly's Auto Centre phone rang so often that Grant Daly finally got Andrea's mother to come in and answer the calls.)

Seven years later, she has landed on her feet. And whether or not the politicians are talking to her, she plans to speak to them on May 2.

When asked if she plans to vote, her reply is automatic: "Of course."





Goldstream Gazette
April 13, 2011

I would like to know the reason that Colwood residents in 2011 still have to rely on backyard septic fields.

This is ludicrous considering the waste treatment plants that exist today. It’s like we have waste water and treatment plants in everyone’s backyard that are not treated and or inspected.

I believe it is time for Colwood council to get serious and come up with a reasonable cost-effective plan to get this sewage treatment plant underway now. I am sure the percentage of people who have this draconian method of deposing their sewage would go with the flow.

Ronald O’Dwyer