October 19, 2011

GARBAGE-TO-GAS PLANT EYED FOR BEECHER BAY (Metchosin mayor's sewage plant mention)



ARESST: Getting the sewage treatment section in the Times Colonist election article on Sunday suggests that ARESST member emails sent helped to give enough weight to the issue to persuade the reporters to include sewage treatment as an issue. Same for the Black Group News too - so send your emails to them saying you're concerned about this unsustainable land-based sewage plant: klaird@blackpress.ca


Victoria News
October 18, 2011

This municipal election, the Victoria News is getting voters involved in our campaign coverage like never before. We’re seeking out typical Victoria and Esquimalt citizens, asking them a little about themselves and their politics, delving into the key issue(s) for them personally and then taking that issue to the candidates for a direct response. 

If you would like to get involved in this project, please contact editor Kevin Laird at klaird@blackpress.ca. We’ll be posting all these features online – and in print – at www.vicnews.com, and we invite both voters and candidates to join the conversation through our Disqus online commenting feature

From there, it’s up to you, the voters, to decide on Nov. 19.



Goldstream News Gazette, Oak Bay News (maybe in others too but their letters section published later)
October 18, 2011 

It seems a little hypocritical to tell the Capital Regional District it must begin treating its sewage with a near-billion-dollar project, then backtrack on a commitment to pay for one third of it.

That’s what the province appears to be doing, as we now hear its contribution is contingent on Ottawa being the first to show us the money.

And as the CRD passes the five-year mark since studies began on implementation of sewage treatment, why hasn’t funding been committed to the project by the senior levels of government?

The regional district has already invested a huge amount of taxpayer dollars, abiding by what the province asked of it.

The feasibility of building a facility has been investigated, a thorough plan was created and McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt was selected as the future home of a treatment plant.

While all three levels of government are expected to pay an even share of the cost, it seems that only one level is walking the walk and trying to move forward on the project.

The cost of upgrading or building a component of infrastructure rises the longer it is dragged out. But the foot-dragging in this case is being done by the senior levels of government.

If the B.C. Liberal and Conservative governments are waiting on each other to act before progress can be made, it looks like sewage treatment won’t be here anytime soon.

But if either level is actually committed to this project, discussions need to begin to allow the CRD to move ahead on this regionally significant project.

The promise to work together with the federal government and the CRD to make the project happen — made by then-premier Gordon Campbell in 2006 — hasn’t been kept, and is hindering progress.

The CRD shouldn’t spend a dime more on such an expensive project until it gets assurances that regional taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag on sewage treatment.


Dorothy Clippingdale
Times Colonist
October 19, 2011

There has been much ado about sewage treatment. Former environment minister Barry Penner mandated that the CRD is to have a modernized sewage treatment facility in place by 2016, and the province would provide one-third of the funding for it.

Since then, we and other parties have presented the case against a public-private partnership approach to this huge project, and the CRD heard our message. The plan they presented to the provincial government allowed for a maximum of 20 per cent P3 involvement.

The province is now hedging, blaming delays on the fact there is no written commitment from the federal government on its one-third contribution. The province is also still strongly biased towards P3s. We hope the provincial government is not thinking of making a P3 a condition of its participation. 

We trust it has not forgotten the strong message, sent via the CRD, that taxpayers want the CRD to own, operate, and manage the new system, and not some corporation that can hide behind "proprietary information" claims when asked how it is spending our money, and deny transparency and accountability.

Dorothy Clippingdale



In a recent news-story, (published in all four CRD core sewage area Black Group papers) according to CALWMC chair Denise Blackwell, the sewage project federal grant is for 25%. Later, I was informed through another ARESST member also making inquiries that CRD' s communication official Andy Orr stated that the difference between the 33% federal share and this 25% grant is an 8% contribution from another source. 

This surprised me because I could't remember reading about this in the CALWMC or CRD Board minutes. The ARESST member thinks it might have something to do with exploring P3 options (Public private partnership, which open-house attendees roundly resisted). So far, Heather Raines, assistant to Jack Hull, CALWMC's sewage plant project manager, informs me that "the information on funding that you are seeking was discussed in camera at Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee and Board meetings." 

So, news of this 8%, $65 million gap was only released to the public through that news story quoting Blackwell. 
When I wrote the letter below, I was not aware of these details of the 33-25-8 issue.

John Newcomb


John Newcomb
Goldstream Gazette
October 18, 2011

Re: Sewage funding yet to materialize, News, Oct. 14, 2011.

If it’s correct that the federal contribution for this sewage plant boondoggle has shrunk to only one quarter of the $782 million sewage plant capital cost, when it had been one-third of capital costs, the Capital Regional District and B.C. taxpayers have just been quietly hit with a massive cost increase to pay for this unnecessary sewage plant.

The increase in the capital cost means that every Victorian who owns or rents a toilet could be likely paying more than the projected homeowner-renter charge of $400 a year, because the CRD residents’ the real cost of this fiasco isn’t just the projected building cost share, but also $20 million per year to run it and sewage plant and its sludge works.

Now with the shrinking federal contribution, the cost to each of us will be even higher. Restaurants and hotels will see massive utility cost increases.

However, because Victoria agencies providing subsidized housing or public toilets will need to increase their budgets to pay the sewage plant capital and operating costs, that extra funding also comes from CRD taxpayers.

So Victorians should be relieved at this delay because it gives us an opportunity to review the sewage plant decision and ultimately quash this unsustainable mega-project that provides no measurable environmental benefit, but a huge economic burden.

John Newcomb


ARESST: Excerpt from news below: Waste systems both solid and water: The Capital Regional District continues to march toward its plans for massive waste water plant at McCauley Point, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion.


Dan Spinner
Goldstream News Gazette
October 18, 2011 

Being an elected official is hard and sometime frustrating work — especially at the municipal level. And our thanks goes out to all of them.

We all go to the polls this fall. Well, at least some of us do. Not many people actually exercise their democratic rights to elect, or re-elect municipal candidates across B.C.

Sadly municipal voting participation rates are only about 25 per cent and dropping. Why is that? Do we totally trust all our politicians? Probably not. Do we even care who represents us at the municipal level? Do we even know who does represent us? Do we know what position they take on key issues? Are we aware of key issues?

From a Chamber of Commerce point of view, while we don’t support or endorse any individual politicians or political parties, we do have strong feelings about the kind of elected leaders we need, particularly at the municipal level.

We have views on the key issues affecting communities on the West Shore, and we are committed to helping maintain and create a healthy communities on the West Shore.

This can only be done if we have leaders who have a positive vision for their municipality, who focus not on personal and character attacks but rather on positively solving the issues at hand and who are well versed in those issues facing their communities.

The best leaders in our opinion know these issues, know them well and can articulate their positions clearly and without equivocation.

That way we can choose those with whom we align on issues, or not, rather than have to sift through mumbo-jumbo or ambivalent commentary.

We cannot list the many individual local issues in this space but we can list our view of some the common overriding ones which are primarily about regional infrastructure.

Transportation: West Shore municipalities must not allow themselves to be played off against one another on route and cost preferences for E&N rail corridor versus light rapid transit (LRT) plans, or Victoria and Saanich will control the transit agenda. This is probably the number one issue facing the West Shore.

Education/schools: We urgently need two new high schools due to the continued massive K to 12 growth over next decade.

Municipal support has been strong and unified and must remain so with huge economic benefits, or losses if not obtained.

Municipal costs/taxation: Controlling costs and tax increase to residents and businesses, but in the context of honest evaluation of cuts required or new revenue sources expected if tax increases are held low.

Promises of extraordinarily low rates must be backed up by details on program cuts and revenue plans otherwise they can be seen as false. Some West Shore municipalities have been brilliant at managing their costs and tax rates. Others can and should learn from them.

Waste systems both solid and water: The Capital Regional District continues to march toward its plans for massive waste water plant at McCauley Point, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion.

Septic systems in some communities need complete overhauls. The West Shore has an opportunity for innovative waste water and solid waste treatment options that are renewable and cost effective.

Regional governance: Many would agree that the current CRD model does not serve the West Shore well.

With little regional transportation representation as but one example and poor recognition of the West Shore’s extraordinary growth, the question becomes how can West Shore municipalities gain more influence at the CRD table?

Those that represent us now work hard do a good job, but is the entire model is structurally flawed. Who is the CRD and its 500 staff and $200 million budget overall, really responsible to?

The issues are many and complex — formulate your own views on these and others and research them well.

Pick strong leaders with strong positive values, experience, vision and plans. But above all don’t ignore the entire municipal election issue as if it doesn’t affect you and your family — it really does, a lot.

—Dan Spinner is the CEO of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce.


ARESST: Excerpt from news below: [T]he plant could run completely on liquid waste, including septic waste.“It is essential that this project be looked at as a substitute for (a regional sewage facility),” noted Metchosin Mayor John Ranns.


Charla Huber 
Goldstream News Gazette 
October 18, 2011 

They are not spinning straw into gold, but Beecher Bay First Nation wants to turn trash into gas. The band is looking to partner with Sequel Integrated Resource Mangement to build a small contained plant that would steam household waste into a gas similar to natural gas. The gas could be used to generate electricity or be converted to fuel. 

“This variation doesn’t burn the waste, it steams the waste,” said Chris Corps of Sequel IRM, at a presentation to Metchosin council. “It happens in a completely sealed chamber.” 

“This will put Beecher Bay on the map,” added Beecher Bay Chief Russell Chipps. Chipps said the project is vital to create jobs for Beecher Bay people, and jobs that are close to home. “As far as I can tell there are more jobs than we have people,” he said. “Any kind of economic development would be beneficial to our community,” remarked Sharon Cooper, a lifelong Beecher Bay resident. 

“When people start making their own money instead of having it given to them, it builds their self esteem and self confidence. Once that happens in a community, everything gets better.” Sequel IRM selected Beecher Bay due to its proximity to Department of National Defence land. “(DND) is once of the largest single energy consumers,” Corps said. “The gas can be converted to electrical energy.” 

The proposed high-pressure facility for Beecher Bay would process about 30 tonnes of household waste each day, about the equivalent to one garbage truck. It could be built on less than an acre of land and would act as a demonstration project for the company. Corps said there should be no odour coming from the plant. At the presentation at Metchosin council, Corps and Chipps asked the district to donate its garbage to the project. 

Once the garbage is at the plant, it would be sorted separating items that could be recycled and those that will be vaporized. He stressed to council he wasn’t asking the District for any financial contributions. “It will enhance recycling. You don’t (steam) anything that can be recycled,” Corps said. “This will reduce truck (greenhouse gases) by not going to Hartland.” 

The steaming process involves using a small amount of water mixed with solid waste. “We hope not to inject potable water, we could use sea water but would prefer to enhance it using septic water,” Corps said, explaining the plant could run completely on liquid waste, including septic waste. “It is essential that this project be looked at as a substitute for (a regional sewage facility),” noted Metchosin Mayor John Ranns. 

Gas produced from this process can be used for anything people use natural gas for, such as cooking and fireplaces, Corps said. The gas could be converted into electricity. The plant would also be capable of making other fuel sources such as kerosene and diesel. There is waste left over once the process is finished, and which could be used as road base or for ash in a concrete mixture, Corps said. 

Corps explained Metchosin’s role in the project would be to contribute garbage and to support the application for government funding. If the project is given the go ahead, Corps said the plant could be built in about three months, but it could take up to a year before it is approved. Royal Roads University and Simon Fraser University are also supporting the project and grant proposal to Natural Resources Canada. 

“This would be excellent for real life experience for our students,” said Nancy Wilkin, director of RRUs office of sustainability. The District of Metchosin approved the project in principal so the band could carry on with the application. 

The project has passed through the preliminary application process with Natural Resources Canada.



"Webinar" ON INTERNET, hosted by UVic's POLIS Project (http://www.polisproject.org/)

On the internet: 

Oct 26, 12 to 1:30pm. 

Webinar Summary:

The majority of Canada's communities manage stormwater runoff in a way
that is not sustainable in the long term. Flooded streets and basements,
degraded urban streams, increasing impacts of a changing climate, and
expensive drainage infrastructure that demands constant maintenance are
all evidence that we must learn to better integrate the water cycle into
urban areas. 

Rethinking the way we deal with rain and snowmelt in our cities means replacing conventional “pipe-and-convey” systems with an approach that recognizes rainwater as a valuable resource while, at the same time, reducing runoff volume and improving runoff quality. 

One of the greatest challenges to reinventing rainwater management is the fragmented responsibility for fresh water across and within jurisdictions. Peeling back the pavement in Canada’s urban communities will mean addressing
issues of governance and decision making. 

Providing both ecological and political perspectives, the guest speakers will discuss the need for a new paradigm of rainwater management in Canada’s urban environments and outline positive policies and initiatives already underway in communities across the country and beyond.


- Susanne Porter-Bopp, Community Water Coordinator, POLIS
Water Sustainability Project, and Lead Author of Peeling Back the
Pavement: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada’s

- Patrick Lucey, Senior Aquatic Ecologist and President, Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd.