July 7, 2013


Click here to join us on Facebook


- Editorial: CRD heads for another conflict
- Times Colonist front page story image
- Capital Region votes to flush Esquimalt sewage plant plan
Viewfield Road sewage site axed
Colwood shuns regional sewage megaproject, plans private treatment plant
Colwood explores local sewage treatment options


Viewfield biosolids site not the right option (Mayor Fortin)
Hill a critic of sewage project (Hill)
Hartland site raises many concerns (Lawrie)
Victoria may be most affected by sewage treatment plant (Lavergne)
Saanich has had time to save Haro Woods (Millen)
Consider Brothers Island for sewage-plant site (Norman):
Sludge-plant bungling has created a mess (Stephen)
Viewfield is just the first victory (Tafler
Time for a re-think on sewage plan (Witter)
Start over again on sewage treatment (VanDyke)



Official Public Hearing Notice: http://www.esquimalt.ca/news/news06281301.aspx

July 8, 2013
Archie Browning Sports Centre
1151 Esquimalt Road
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/huYsz


This is your chance to have your say on this flawed project. It is VITAL that you attend this public hearing and speak in order to inform Esquimalt Council who will be making a decision on rezoning based on all public input. You will have up to 5 minutes to speak and additional opportunities will appear after everyone has had a chance to speak a first time. Look for the sign-up sheet for the speaking order.

If you want to give a PowerPoint presentation, please email your slides ahead of time to Louise Payne <louise.payne@esquimalt.ca> and please bring a backup on a USB stick.

Bylaw Amendments:

Part of the CRD's disastrous sewage treatment plan requires that McLoughlin Pt (at the harbour entrance and gateway to the capital city) be rezoned for a sewage treatment plant. The Township of Esquimalt must hold a public hearing to consider this change to its Official Community Plan (OCP) to allow this.

You can help stall this project by supporting the following at the public hearing:

YES to OCP Amendment Bylaw # 2804
NO to Amendment Bylaw #2805 (CRD)
YES to Amendment Bylaw #2806 (Township of Esquimalt)



STAG is running radio ads on CFAX to advertise the public hearing on July 8th:



June 3, 2013 CHEK covers the Viewfield Victory at today's CRD vote:


Featured: Diane Carr, Dave Ferguson, Barb Desjardins, Carole Witter, Mike Hicks.


July 3, 2013 CRD Video:


CRD Director Barb Desjardins (Esquimalt) addresses the CRD Board about financial accountability in the wake of the decision not to site a sewage sludge plant in the Viewfield neighbourhood bordering Esquimalt and Victoria West.

It is unclear if the CRD will recoup its $17m purchase price, given the $12.9m assessment, the real estate market, buyer AND seller brokerage fees and the fact that its March 2013 purchase deal allows the vendor to operate a business on the property until Summer 2014.


July 3, 2013 CRD Video:


Richard Atwell speaks to the CRD Board about the financial benefits of pausing the CRD's sewage treatment project. Since operating costs will exceed the speculative construction cost increases, the CRD will actually save money by delaying the project to find a better solution.


June 3, 2013 CTV's Erin Glazier covers the Viewfield Victory at today's CRD vote:


Featured: Kelly Pawlik, Barb Desjardins, Mike Hicks and some guy in a black shirt.



Editorial: CRD heads for another conflict

JULY 6, 2013

At times — and this is one of them — it appears the Capital Regional District is making up the sewage project as it goes along. While it is easy to sympathize with the elected and non-elected people who have to piece together this Frankenstein’s monster, it is also easy to share the frustration of those like Saanich director Leif Wergeland, who said Wednesday that “heads should roll” over the Viewfield Road debacle.

For the second time, the CRD has run away from a proposed sewage-plant site after spending millions of dollars to buy land. First it was Haro Woods in Saanich, at a cost of $6.5 million. Now it’s Viewfield Road in Esquimalt to the tune of $17 million.

The first time, outrage from Saanich residents led the district to drop the plan for a decentralized system of sewage treatment and extricate itself by swapping land with Saanich to create a park.

In Esquimalt, the CRD shelled out millions more than assessed value for the land on Viewfield Road in Esquimalt to build a biosolids plant. On Wednesday, the board bowed to weeks of angry opposition from Esquimalt residents and councillors. Viewfield is officially off the list, and the CRD has an expensive food warehouse on its books.

The planners’ sights have swivelled again to the Hartland landfill as a site for a biosolids plant, but already the nearby residents of Willis Point are rushing to the barricades. As one resident wrote in Thursday’s letters to the editor: “We are not wary, as reported — we are adamantly against the Hartland site.”

Perhaps the district is hoping it can steamroller over the sparsely inhabited Willis Point area — or sell the residents on the plan. The way it sold the residents of Saanich and Esquimalt.

At this stage, the CRD can’t even tell potential neighbours how the plant will work because the technology hasn’t been decided. It wants to digest and dry the sludge, but whether the region needs a larger facility to turn the waste into fuel, or whether it will opt for a smaller building to produce fertilizer, is still up in the air.

The unsightly and potentially smelly parts of the sewage project — the treatment plant and the biosolids plant — have to go somewhere, and no one wants them over the back fence. But CRD officials have gone through the exercise in Esquimalt in the apparent belief that they could persuade the locals to accept the plant through a combination of marketing and “amenities.”

They were wrong. It’s a sewage plant, and trying to put it in an area surrounded by houses and small businesses — even if you label the neighbourhood light industrial — is going to make people very angry.

The construction work will soon fade from memory. The pipes will be underground. The monthly bill will become a fact of life. The two plants, however, will be the face of sewage treatment for generations.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins thinks it’s time to hit the rewind button. She wants to see the CRD go back to everyone’s first choice: a site that will hold both plants in a less intrusive location. We have argued before that local and provincial governments should lean on the Department of National Defence to contribute more land near McLoughlin Point.

Even if that doesn’t work, there is room to re-think the location of the biosolids centre.

Before the CRD is faced with another embarrassing reversal — this time over the Hartland site — it needs to put a huge effort into finding a site that won’t send residents into the streets with tar and feathers.


Times Colonist front page story image


Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard was on CFAX 1070 AM this morning with Al Ferraby:

His opinion on Hartland? Wait until after the Saanich rezoning public hearing coming sometime in the future...


Capital Region votes to flush Esquimalt sewage plant plan

JULY 3, 2013

Regional politicians have voted unanimously to abandon the proposal for a sewage sludge site on Esquimalt’s Viewfield Road, after getting an earful from angry residents.

The Capital Regional District Board voted to no longer consider the Viewfield location, at a meeting on Wednesday. The vote was the result of public consultation sessions, which showed overwhelming opposition to selecting the location for a biosolids centre.

None of the CRD directors opposed the move, and several expressed concern with how the regional government has found itself in a situation where it has lost the public’s trust.

The CRD purchased, in secret, the Wilson Foods warehouse site for $17 million in late March, as a possible location for a biosolids centre.

Almost immediately, Esquimalt and Vic West residents began protesting the site, saying it would be inappropriate to place a sludge facility near homes, schools and other businesses. They also complained about possible odours and devalued properties.

CRD staff said they will begin researching what to do with the land, and at what value it could possibly be re-sold.

The CRD’s $783-million sewage treatment plan now reverts back to a planned sludge facility at Hartland Landfill in Saanich.

Willis Point residents, who live near the landfill, have complained about the possible environmental and social impacts of building a sludge facility at the landfill.

Mike Hicks, the CRD’s Juan de Fuca electoral district representative, who also represents Willis Point, tried to introduce a motion to establish a “liaison committee” on the Hartland sludge proposal, so local residents would have a voice at the CRD table.

But the motion was tabled until a future meeting, after other board members disagreed on its wording.



Viewfield Road sewage site axed

Victoria News
July 03, 2013 2:24 PM

As a result of overwhelming public opposition, Capital Regional District directors have unanimously abandoned the possibility of a sewage sludge plant in Esquimalt’s industrial park.

The CRD purchased the 1.5-hectare Viewfield Road property for $17 million in March, prior to public consultation, as a possible location for the region’s biosolids energy plant. The CRD will now likely sell the property at a loss.

Businesses and residents in Esquimalt and Victoria West opposed the idea from the beginning, but the directors bowed to public pressure Wednesday after CRD staff held several open houses to gather formal feedback from residents. A majority of respondents rejected the plan.

The CRD will now revert to its original plan to use Hartland for the biosolids facility, while a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point awaits a zoning decision from the Township of Esquimalt.

The CRD’s secondary sewage treatment project was announced in July 2012 at a cost of $783 million, split between the three levels of government. The price tag does not include the $17 million for the Viewfield site nor for associated staff time.


Colwood shuns regional sewage megaproject, plans private treatment plant

JULY 5, 2013
Colwood hopes to cut a deal by this fall to distance itself from the region’s sewage treatment megaproject, its mayor says.

Carol Hamilton said she hopes behind-the-scenes negotiations between Colwood, the Capital Regional District and the private developers of Capital City Centre will be finalized within months.

The deal could see Colwood rely on a private sewage treatment plant at the planned Capital City Centre residential development, rather than pay its full share of the $783-million CRD sewage treatment project, Hamilton said.

“It’s not going to be a free service for taxpayers,” she said. “If everything comes out according to the numbers, there’ll be an offset.”

Colwood has been trying for years to get out of the CRD sewage project. Its council voted to reject the project in 2009, paid $700,000 for a failed sewage treatment pilot project, and then tried to partner with Langford to create a West Shore sewage solution.

But none of the attempts was successful.

Only 14 per cent of Colwood residents are actually on the sewage system, with the rest on septic tanks, so they won’t benefit from the sewage treatment plan.

Colwood, like other municipalities, is set to pay not only for current sewage treatment demand, but also expected future capacity. Yet the city isn’t growing as quickly as the CRD projects, Hamilton said.

The Capital City Centre project calls for mixed-use retail and a 27-storey residential tower phased in over 15 years. It is proposing a sewage treatment facility with heat and water reuse, similar to the Dockside Green facility in Vic West.

“If everything went swimmingly and smoothly, everything could be up and running by 2016, before the CRD plant is up and running [in 2018],” Colwood Coun. Judith Cullington said of Capital City Centre’s treatment plant.

CRD sewage committee chairwoman Denise Blackwell said she does not think Colwood has the necessary Ministry of Environment approval to start altering its commitment to the CRD sewage project.

The ministry requires private treatment plants to have a backup plan, which is usually dumping into the CRD sewer line. That requires at least some participation and payment in the regional sewage treatment plan, she said.

“As long as you have to hook up to the system, the costs are the same as everyone else’s,” Blackwell said.

“Paying their share depends on the capacity they ask for. I suppose they could reduce their share, theoretically, by asking for less capacity, but I don’t know how that would work.

“They wouldn’t have to buy future capacity, but they’d have to pay for the system. They are part of the system right now.”

If Colwood is successful in pushing the Capital City Centre sewage plant, it’s unclear if the city would still be on the CRD sewage committee or cast votes on the future of the project, Hamilton said.

The city would then encourage a future development at Royal Bay to have its own sewage treatment plant that could handle future demand for the community, she said.

“The bureaucracy and the wheels turn very slowly,” Hamilton said. “I believe the CRD wants us to ensure we dot all our i’s and cross the t’s. All that’s being done now.”


Colwood explores local sewage treatment options

Colwood News and Events
Jul 3, 2013

COLWOOD, BC – Colwood is working with the Capital Regional District and other partners to find the best long term sewage treatment solution for the City’s taxpayers and for the natural environment that makes our waterfront community such a great place to live.

The CRD plan calls for a $782.7 million sewage treatment facility at McLoughlin Point that seven municipalities in the region are expected to contribute to. The plan envisions an additional facility on the Westshore when McLoughlin Point reaches capacity in about 2030. The majority of residents in other municipalities are already connected to sewers, which makes buying capacity in the new plant feasible. But with only about 14% of Colwood homes currently connected to sewers, this plan means most Colwood residents would be paying for a service they will never use and then paying again when the Westshore plant is required.

The City is exploring the feasibility of building a local wastewater treatment facility in Colwood that would decrease the tax burden on our community by reducing both our energy and water supply needs. The plant would use innovative proven technology to return heat energy and water to our community, reducing energy costs and making the area more attractive to homebuyers and investors. This plan would provide benefits for all Colwood residents and businesses.

The City’s first priority is to make sure residents are informed about the benefits and challenges of each sewage treatment option and consulted about decisions that affect them. Also, any local sewage treatment option would need to be affordable, meaning it would have to be guaranteed not to cost more than the current estimated cost of participating in the McLoughlin Point plant. And finally, the solution our community chooses needs to make the most of the great potential for benefiting from the resources that can be recovered during sewage treatment.

Wastewater is not something our community needs to get rid of, it’s a resource we should be using to reduce the tax burden on our community and the impact we have on the environment. Watch colwood.ca for more information on this issue in the coming months.


Media Contact:
Sandra Russell
Communications Manager, City of Colwood



Viewfield biosolids site not the right option (Mayor Fortin)

JULY 2, 2013
Now that the community consultation process has closed, it is appropriate to have Capital Regional District directors comment. I have appreciated the added information that the residents around the Viewfield site have provided, the questions they have raised and the search for the answers.

I think it was important to have two options to offer to the citizens of the CRD. I also believe that as residents of the region, we have to be willing to consider potential sites in every community. I cannot see any way to justify a location in one community without being willing to consider it for ourselves.

It think the Viewfield site is not the best option for the siting of the biosolid facility. The most compelling argument is the assessment of the stigma of a site having a one per cent devaluing of property values in a 500-metre radius. I suspect the more immediate neighbours will suffer more high impact.

The only identified advantage of Viewfield over Hartland is an estimated savings of $100,000 a year. With about 250,000 people contributing, that is an extra 40 cents a year spread out amongst all. The property value impact of Viewfield would be concentrated to the few thousand in the 5,000-metre zone.

On a social assessment, clearly Hartland is the obvious choice — but it is important to consider the interests of the residents of Willis Point and others.

I thank everyone for their passion and participation in this important civic project.

Mayor Dean Fortin
City of Victoria



Hill a critic of sewage project (Hill)

JULY 6, 2013

Re: “Sludge-plant foes win in Esquimalt,” July 4.

As one of the constant critics of the planned Capital Regional District sewage project, I note that the article implies to the casual reader my ownership of the Viewfield debacle. While deliciously ironic, this misinforms and fails the public need.

The point missed in the article is that while I am an advocate for much of what the CRD does, the current sewage project’s insight, values, processes and outcome have, in my judgment, failed our region, taxpayers and future opportunities on almost every front.

Graham Hill
Director, Capital Regional District



Victoria may be most affected by sewage treatment plant (Lavergne)


Saanich has had time to save Haro Woods (Millen):

"One need only look at the voting structure of the CRD board to see why the processes are so different. But then we’re not supposed to make it personal."


Consider Brothers Island for sewage-plant site (Norman):


Sludge-plant bungling has created a mess (Stephen):

"Thanks to stunning incompetence of the Capital Regional District staff and municipal politicians in their CRD roles in managing the biosolids plant location, we now have a situation where one community has been totally alienated and the CRD is stuck with a $17-million property that no one wants."


Viewfield is just the first victory (Tafler)

JULY 2, 2013

Re: “CRD backpedals on sludge site,” June 29.

Congratulations to the people of Viewfield and Esquimalt for refusing to roll over and take a sewage sludge plant in their neighbourhood.

Now the rest of us have to say “no” to this whole wasteful, polluting Capital Regional District sewage treatment program.

Wake up and smell the effluent, Victoria. This plan will be a disaster for Dallas Road, for Beacon Hill Park and for our wallets for generations to come.

Sid Tafler


Time for a re-think on sewage plan (Witter)

JULY 2, 2013

Re: “CRD backpedals on sludge site,” June 29.

The bottom line is that this plant should not go in anyone’s backyard.

The Capital Regional District has a promising report identifying more than 30 sites that could benefit from a 21st-century integrated resource-management approach. It has chosen to ignore the report.

This type of distributed system, with smaller facilities similar to Dockside Green, could provide maximum resource-recovery potential when located next to hospitals, rec centres and schools, etc., with minimum impact on communities. This is what the CRD should be pursuing.

Please go back to the drawing board, CRD, and come back with the RITE plan.

Respectful of communities


Taxpayer friendly

Environmentally sound

It’s time for a pause and a re-think on sewage treatment in the capital region.

Carole Witter



Start over again on sewage treatment (VanDyke):