- ARESST PETITION NOW ONLINE - SIGN THE PETITION ARESSTERS! GET YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN TOO! (130 signed already!)
- ARESST PRESS CONFERENCE - GREAT SUCCESS!
- TC REPORT ON ARESST: SENIOR GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR SEWAGE SYSTEM DOUBTED
- SEWAGE TREATMENT OPPONENTS GO ON THE OFFENSIVE
- ARESST NOW A FACEBOOK GROUP!
- COUNCILLOR VIC DERMAN'S RECENT SEWAGE PLANT PUBLIC LETTER
- LETTER: SEWAGE PROBABLY HELPED DEPLETE MARINE LIFE (WISE)
- LETTER: ENGINEERS SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERRUNS (GOUDY)
- LETTER: NO SIGNS OF SEWAGE IN PRISTINE WATERS (SUTTON)
- LETTER: COUNT THE COST OF A REFERENDUM (BARKER)
Big thanks to ARESST Board member Elizabeth Woodward for getting this petition up and online!
ARESST PETITION NOW ONLINE - SIGN THE PETITION ARESSTERS! GET YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN TOO!
We, the undersigned, petition the Board of the Capital Regional District of Victoria, BC, Canada, to:
1) Avoid spending additional taxpayers' dollars on the land-based sewage treatment proposal, which has no demonstrable environmental and health benefits;
2) Insist that the federal and provincial regulators carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment of the current practice compared with the proposed system;
3) Obtain an exemption to the new Federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, on the basis of the scientific data and the “open marine waters” clause in the Regulations.
org/en/petition/The_CRD_ Sewage_Treatment_Plan_A_Call_ for_Action_by_the_CRD_1/?tta
signers. Let's reach
ARESST PRESS CONFERENCE - GREAT SUCCESS!
Wild and windy day at Clover Point Pump Station, but our ARESST news conference went really
well, with many tv, radio, and newspaper reporters showing up. Short presentations by Dr. Shaun
Peck and Brian Burchill, followed by a great concluding note from Hon. David Anderson, and distribution
of our petitions by Elizabeth Woodward. And thanks also to UVic Oceanography Dept prof Dr. Chris Garrett
for making himself available for reporters to followup with. Thanks also for many ARESSTers who showed
up. And big thanks for organizers Shaun, Elizabeth, Bob and others!
Federal and provincial taxpayers to subsidize sewage treatment in Victoria:
Photo attached shows some of our ARESST presenters and Board, with John Mothersill and Bill Wolferstan
hidden behind, and others on the other side behind the tv cameras.
Don't bank on B.C.'s sewage funding promise (Anderson):
victoriatimescolonist/news/ comment/story.html?id= 764549eb-70a4-4772-9983- 19c2317b31e2
Victoria advocacy group fights secondary sewage treatment:
probeinternational.org/2012/ 07/23/federal-and-provincial- taxpayers-to-subsidize-sewage- treatment-in-victoria/
SENIOR GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR SEWAGE SYSTEM DOUBTED
CRD could be stuck with total bill, ex-MP says; plan foes tout petition
Cindy E. Harnett
July 24, 2012
LETTER TO EDITOR: letters@timescolonist.
Despite last week's commitments by the provincial and federal governments to fund their shares of the capital region's planned $783-million secondary sewage treatment plant, there's no money in the bank and there may never be, former Liberal Victoria MP David Anderson warned Monday.
"They gave a reaffirmation of an intention but nothing more than that," Anderson said. "They didn't advance anything with respect to the federal contributions - other than to put on conditions we didn't know about before.
"And with respect to the province, they are not giving a single dollar until the whole shebang is up and running - and by then, it won't be the same premier."
Anderson was a key speaker at a press conference in front of the Clover Point sewage pumping station off Dallas Road in Victoria Monday, as the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment gathered to launch its campaign and online petition (at aresst.ca) against construction of the sewage treatment plant proposed for McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.
The Capital Regional District plans to issue requests for qualifications from builders before the year's end.
Last week, the federal government announced its total $253.4-million contribution toward the McLoughlin wastewater treatment plant and marine outfall, as well as conveyance system upgrades, part of the estimated $782.7-million capital cost of the secondary sewage treatment system.
That federal funding is conditional on: Treasury Board approval; the signing of the contribution agreements; meeting all the terms and conditions of federal infrastructure programs; and meeting all legal obligations - for example, those related to First Nations consultation and environmental assessment.
In response to Anderson's comments, Ottawa insisted the promised money for a new wastewater treatment system in the capital region is safe.
"The Government of Canada has set aside up to $253.4 million under various federal infrastructure funding programs for these specific projects," Infrastructure Canada said in a statement.
B.C. Conservative MP James Moore said at the Inn at Laurel Point last week that Treasury Board approval is a technical matter and "there should be no reason to be concerned the money won't be flowing."
The province capped its funding at $248 million, adding it would come forward with the money only when the project is substantially completed. That's expected to be in 2017-2018 or 2018-2019.
"I thought they [the province] were pretty skilful in punting this whole issue forward seven years by saying they won't do anything until it's completed," Anderson said.
"They can't bind a future government, they haven't signed any contract and the current government will be long gone and probably even its successor will be gone by 2020," he said.
The CRD says it's on the hook for the balance of the capital cost, estimated at almost $281.3 million, as well as operating costs of $14.5 million per year, land acquisition costs and any cost overruns. Anderson said the CRD might get hit with the whole price tag.
For five years, the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment has lobbied for the current plan to be scrapped and for improvements to be made to the current method of screening and discharging effluent into the Pacific.
Currently, the region's sewage receives preliminary screening to remove solids larger than six millimetres prior to being shot out about one kilometre into the ocean, roughly 60 metres deep.
The group argues that Greater Victoria's unique marine environment of cold, deep waters, with strong tidal currents, shows little sign of harmful pollution under the current system. It says the proposed treatment plant would be a waste of money, with little environmental benefit.
The group wants an environmental impact assessment of the current practice compared with the proposed system.
In 2006, the provincial government ordered the CRD to proceed toward land-based sewage treatment. Federal regulations, which came into effect last week, require Greater Victoria to comply.
The association wants an exemption for Victoria from the federal regulations. If that's not possible, it notes, the federal government has indicated it would give cities at lower levels of risk of harmful pollution 20 or 30 years to come into compliance.
victoriatimescolonist/news/ capital_van_isl/story.html?id= 89ec6a53-ae4e-4bbe-b9cd- 72818018fae2
SEWAGE TREATMENT OPPONENTS GO ON THE OFFENSIVE
July 23, 2012 6pm
Click links to send letters to editor: Victoria News, Saanich News, Oak Bay News, Goldstream Gazette
The Capital Regional District should request an exemption under new federal regulations that require it to build a sewage treatment system, says a local group opposed to the project.
The Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST) believes the current system of pumping screened sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca is safe and effective.
The group held a press conference at Clover Point on Monday and called on the CRD to refuse to begin construction unless an environmental impact assessment can prove the current system is causing harm.
"What annoys scientists is when people pretend to be doing things for scientific reasons when they're not," said prof. Chris Garrett of the University of Victoria's Earth and Ocean Sciences Department.
The federal government's Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations were announced last week and require all municipalities to meet a threshold for sewage treatment. They estimate 25 per cent of municipalities across the country will require sewage treatment upgrades to comply.
Former federal environment minister David Anderson said the regulations are too broad and need to be adjusted for regions like Greater Victoria that treat their sewage by alternative means.
"If the federal government decided to have the same snow removal requirements for Victoria as in Quebec, we would call that ridiculous," Anderson said.
But CRD board chair Geoff Young said the regulations are "here to stay" and the region has no plans to apply for an exemption.
Any delay could also risk losing the combined $500-million promised from higher levels of government for the project, he said.
"It very clear through new regulations that the discharge of raw sewage is not going to be something that the governments are prepared to accept."
ARESST NOW A FACEBOOK GROUP
We now have an ARESST Facebook group and if you're on facebook,
please join as group members:
COUNCILLOR VIC DERMAN'S RECENT SEWAGE PLANT PUBLIC LETTER
July 18, 2012
Mr. Julian Payne
Assistant Deputy Minister for Local Government
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Mr. Glen Brown
Executive Director, Infrastructure and Finance Branch
Dear Mr. Payne and Mr. Brown:
The sewage treatment initiative currently proposed for the Capital Regional District (CRD) would likely be the most costly single project ever undertaken in the region. It would have substantial financial implications for taxpayers and would curtail the region’s ability to undertake other large projects for an extended period of time. Given its impact, there should be compelling reasons why it is an appropriate and timely project. Unfortunately, a review of the project and its implications suggests there are not.
Some proponents wish to justify the current project based on environmental improvement for receiving waters. The simple answer is that they cannot. Scientific inquiry clearly establishes that, at worst, only limited damage is being done by current practices and that greater damage is being done by contaminated storm water. Likewise, given statements of past and present regional health officers, it is difficult to see health concerns as a rationale for moving to treat.
Land based treatment can only be justified if it provides an appropriate cost to benefit ratio. In other words, significant environmental gains at a cost that makes sense. The present project fails miserably when compared to that standard. In addition to very limited or no environmental benefit at very considerable cost, it is inconsistent with future changes anticipated in the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), will be poorly placed to take advantage of new development and will likely, by its very existence and cost, serve as an obstacle to adoption of innovative new technologies and approaches.
Particularly troubling is its weak response to provincial climate change initiatives and the likelihood it will push other major projects such as transportation infrastructure into the distant future even though such projects could provide far greater environmental and economic benefit.
Admittedly, a visionary system without these flaws would take longer to complete than the current proposal. That should not be a problem. Advocates for the current project point to the need to meet new federal requirements for treatment. Fair enough, but mainstream media recently reported that high risk communities must respond to the new requirements by 2020, mid risk by 2030 and low risk by 2040.
Given the very low impact of current practices, it is hard to see how the capital region could be seen as anything other than low risk. Imagine the opportunities available if this project had a completion date of 2030 – 2040. New growth opportunities under the RGS could be fully utilized for resource recovery and new technologies and approaches, even now being actualized, could be taken advantage of. In the process, global and local environmental benefit could be maximized while minimizing costs to taxpayers.
Finally, financial room opened would allow for other major projects arguably more important to the region.
Allowing the current project to proceed under these circumstances must be seen as a failure of governance and the public service at all levels of government. Taxpayers in the CRD and elsewhere have every right to expect far better from their elected representatives and those hired to work with them. It’s time to take a broader, longer term view of sewage and resource recovery within the confines of global and local sustainability. To do otherwise would be nonsensical.
Saanich Councillor and CRD Director
Member, Core Area Liquid Waste Committee
945 Lucas Avenue, Victoria, BC V8X 4 E6
Ph. 250 479 0302
The Right Honourable Christy Clark, Premier, Province of British Columbia
The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
The Honourable Dr. Terry Lake, Minister of Environment
The Honourable Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Mr. Adrian Dix, Leader of the Opposition
CRD Directors and members of the Core Area Liquid Waste Committee
Local Media Outlets
LETTER: SEWAGE PROBABLY HELPED DEPLETE MARINE LIFE (WISE)
July 24, 2012
Re: "No signs of sewage in pristine waters," July 22.
I am disturbed that anyone can base an observation of water or ecosystem health on a decade of recreation.
I am 38, have lived here my entire life and can tell you what it was like 25 years ago to explore Victoria's coast as a child. There used to be millions of beach crabs skittering through the rocks at Dallas Road beaches. Once at Gonzales Beach, I found a baby flounder in a tide pool.
There were sand dollars at both Esquimalt and Witty's lagoons, and mussels, oysters and clams everywhere, not to mention fish and the Ogden Point fishing derby, which every child should be able to enjoy.
Our population has exploded since the 1980s, and so has our waste. I can't imagine that this has been not a direct cause of our marine ecosystem's decline. It may not be the only cause, but just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not a problem.
Out of sight, out of mind is not a healthy way to live.
LETTER: ENGINEERS SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERRUNS (GOUDY)
July 22, 2012
Re: "Sewage overruns to fall to taxpayers," July 17.
The headline caught my eye and my mind turned to the recent article and letters on the salaries of professional people on city staffs.
Professionals are expected to be accountable for decisions they make, and part of their salary is paid in recognition of that. They evaluate engineers' reports and inspect the work that is done. They ensure that work is completed satisfactorily before payment is made and that the project remains on budget.
What part of this work are taxpayers accountable for?
If the $782.7-million project is flawed and does not operate within the specifications, I suggest that the engineering professional staff should contribute funds to reduce any overrun. This would provide them a fine incentive to ensure the plan is good, the construction thorough and the contract is honoured.
And the taxpayers would be glad.
victoriatimescolonist/news/ comment/story.html?id= cc86f9b7-6088-4025-8411- ba0097358926
LETTER: NO SIGNS OF SEWAGE IN PRISTINE WATERS (SUTTON)
Jennie Sutton (includes photo below)
July 22, 2012
Over the past 11 years, friends and I have been regularly kayaking along our beautiful coastline from the Sooke area, past Victoria and Sidney, as far north as Maple Bay. We have never seen any signs of raw sewage.
What I do see is an amazingly healthy natural environment with tens of thousands of seals and seabirds and, in certain places and times of year, sea lions.
Occasionally we are fortunate enough to encounter whales. I see healthy, green eel grass and many varieties of healthy seaweeds swaying in the daily ocean currents.
In our local waters, which have such great visibility, I see an abundance of smaller sea creatures attached to rocks and pilings and living on the ocean floor. Isn't all this an indication of a healthy ocean?
If the current raw-sewage treatment (isn't it 99 per cent water?) is such a health hazard, I am not seeing it in or on our local ocean.
Kayakers head out from the Oak Bay Marina. A letter-writer recounts her experience from
kayaking the waters surrounding Greater Victoria, pointing out that the marine environment
seems to be showing no ill effects from the current sewage-treatment system.
victoriatimescolonist/news/ comment/story.html?id= 076ab16e-0e1f-4d09-a016- 1eff43ea9710
LETTER: COUNT THE COST OF A REFERENDUM (BARKER)
23 July 2012
Times Colonist (internet only)
There’s a problem with the power of the populace, through petition or referendums to reverse government actions. In our democracy, anyone can rally a following to overturn the harmonized sales tax, a firehall, a bridge or a sewage system without necessarily being privy to all the facts.
This is especially true if an edict is going to raise taxes. What some don’t grasp is that referendums, no matter how exciting the notion, cost money.
Sometimes, to get the kind of lifestyle we value, our governments need to make decisions that will add to our taxes. A seismically strong firehall for $8 million (consider the cost of homes on the south Island) sounds reasonable. A major earthquake with ensuing fires would level the existing structure, and View Royal would have no fire or rescue support. Has anyone calculated the cost of reversing the HST?
If we don’t treat our sewage are we saying no one needs to treat their sewage? What are the federal fines not to treat?
We demand more, insist we pay less; and then turn a blind eye to the cost of petitioning. California has paid an enormous price for constant referendums.
Maybe more of us should research our political parties and politicians, attend council meetings and vote in elections. It might not provide the ego rush of showing up the government, but it might be more economically and democratically sound.