- City of Victoria Stormwater Open Houses, 20-24 Nov
- Desjardins on CFAX 12 November
- CRD's sewage sweetener for Esquimalt aims to seal a deal
- Deal to build sewage plant in Esquimalt falls apart
- CHEK and CTV cover McLoughlin barging debate
- CFAX audio of Desjardins' about McLoughlin Pt and kitchen scraps
- Toxic leachate leak prompts CRD water tests
- CFAX poll: to compensate Esquimalt for sewage plant
- Too many politicians in the municipal kitchen
- Region’s municipalities should share resources (Bickerton)
- Sewage project spinning out of control (Burton-Krahn)
- Sewage plant will affect many (Grovestine)
- CRD should have requested barge costs (Hackman)
- No consultation for Hartland sewage plant (Henderson)
- CRD should respect Esquimalt’s process (Witter)
City of Victoria Stormwater Open Houses, 20-24 November
Victoria will be applying the income from new utility towards paying for its share of the $421m in infrastructure repairs:
Cost will first be moved off the property tax bill, then over time slowly increased to pay for the repairs that the city can't currently afford.
"In November, the City of Victoria will be hosting three Open Houses, specifically for owners and renters of single-family homes with 1-4 units. "
Wednesday, November 20
Victoria Public Market
#6 - 1701 Douglas Street
Saturday, November 23
Burnside Gorge Community Association
471 Cecelia Road
Sunday, November 24
Victoria Public Market
#6 - 1701 Douglas Street
"Nine other meetings are being held for these property types: condos/apartments, commercial/industrial, civic/institutional and tax exempt. Letters are being sent directly to each property owner or manager for these information and discussion sessions. If you haven't received a letter in the mail with these details by Wednesday November 13, please firstname.lastname@example.org."
Desjardins on CFAX 12 November
Barb Desjardins was on CFAX this morning talking about tomorrow's CRD meeting that will cover Amendment 9 and the Esquimalt Rezoning:
CRD's sewage sweetener for Esquimalt aims to seal a deal
NOVEMBER 12, 2013
A tentative deal to give the Township of Esquimalt cash and a host of amenities in exchange for an unpopular sewage treatment plant will go before Greater Victoria politicians on Wednesday.
The proposal, hammered out by senior staff from Esquimalt and the Capital Regional District, could clear one of the last hurdles for the $783-million sewage treatment project by settling a long-running zoning dispute at McLoughlin Point.
The CRD is offering an annual $55,000 “community impact mitigation fee” for at least five years to compensate Esquimalt for the proposed plant, as well as stringent odour control, a promise to barge construction material to the site, a million-dollar bike and path system, public art and an oceanside walkway.
The new McLoughlin Point rezoning package, which a CRD staff report calls a “genuine effort” to resolve the dispute, goes before the CRD’s sewage committee.
If approved, the issue could end up back at Esquimalt council on Nov. 18 and spark another round of public hearings in early December.
“With something as important as this, you wouldn’t want to not hear from your public,” said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. “The important thing for all members of council is to have an open mind.”
The CRD and Esquimalt have been at loggerheads over McLoughlin Point since July, when Esquimalt refused to pass the CRD’s rezoning application for a sewage treatment plant and instead passed its own alternative bylaw demanding more amenities and money.
The new deal meets many of Esquimalt’s demands, which the CRD had originally claimed were illegal.
The CRD is offering the $55,000 annual payment for five years, at which point Esquimalt could take ownership of a $7.5-million new district energy sewage heat system that would potentially connect to Esquimalt’s town core (including its recreation centre), Department of National Defence property and Victoria.
In response to community concerns about heavy truck traffic during construction, the CRD said it will ask companies bidding on the project to factor in the cost of barging construction material to and from McLoughlin Point, as well as fix any damage to local roads from trucks.
The plant project would also include $950,000 in bike and path upgrades along Lyall Street, near Macaulay Elementary School, as well as a $100,000 ocean walkway in front of the plant and a $100,000 allowance for public art at the treatment facility.
It’s unclear if the deal will be approved by the CRD sewage committee, where some directors have opposed giving a single community benefits to host a regional facility.
Sewage committee chairwoman Denise Blackwell said politicians must still debate whether issues such as barging make sense, given the cost. “There’s concerns it’s not a reasonable thing to ask for,” she said.
The proposal could also face a rough ride at Esquimalt council, where some councillors have said they don’t want the sewage plant no matter the amenities.
If the deal fails to pass, CRD staff warn it “will have serious consequences for the program schedule and cost.”
The remaining option would be to appeal to B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak to dictate a solution, which she has, so far, refused to do.
The CRD had hoped to tender the plant project and start construction by mid-2014, with the entire sewage treatment system online by 2018.
Deal to build sewage plant in Esquimalt falls apart
NOVEMBER 13, 2013
A tentative deal for a sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt fell apart Wednesday as Greater Victoria politicians refused to endorse a plan to barge construction materials to McLoughlin Point.
The unknown costs of building a dock and running barges to and from the site raised alarm bells for almost everyone on the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee, except Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.
Politicians refused to support the idea, and after much debate punted the entire issue to a future meeting while staff gather more information.
In addition to barging, the proposed rezoning deal between Esquimalt and CRD staff called for $55,000 a year in compensation for hosting the unpopular sewage plant, as well as a million-dollar bike and path system on Lyall Street, public art, an oceanside walkway, road upgrades and possible Esquimalt ownership of a sewage heat system.
The zoning dispute is one of the last hurdles before contracts are signed and construction begins on the sewage treatment megaproject, including the plant at McLoughlin Point and a sludge facility at Hartland Landfill.
CRD staff told politicians they couldn’t estimate the cost of barging materials to and from McLoughlin Point, but could ask the three short-listed companies preparing bids on the plant to include the cost in final proposals next year.
The entire project has a budget of $783 million.
Several directors expressed concern that agreeing to barges before knowing costs could leave taxpayers on the hook for millions.
“Once prices do come in, we have no control over it,” said Saanich Coun. Leif Wergeland.
Saanich Coun. Vicki Sanders, whose husband spent 40 years working for marine barging company Seaspan, said costs would likely be in excess of $12,000 a day for barging, and service could be disrupted by weather and wind.
Victoria Coun. Geoff Young said the region should decide a “reasonable upper limit” for barging costs and compare it to simply giving Esquimalt cash compensation.
“We’re not trying to figure out how much it will cost to barge, we’re trying to figure out how much it would be worth to Esquimalt to put up with the vehicles,” said Young.
The rezoning proposal was further complicated by Esquimalt’s insistence on new setbacks for the oceanfront plant, which it said needs to be built further away from the high water mark and property lines.
Two of the three short-listed bidders can’t comply with those new distances, said project director Albert Sweetnam.
If the two sides can’t agree on rezoning, they will have to appeal to Environment Minister Mary Polak to dictate a solution — something she has so far refused to do.
That could work to the CRD’s advantage, said Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt.
“There is the club of the minister of environment hanging over these negotiations,” said Isitt. “So there’s an incentive of Esquimalt council and staff to give a little.”
Esquimalt residents are clear that they don’t want construction trucks travelling through town, said Desjardins. The setbacks are necessary to preserve public access to the shoreline and prevent tsunami damage, she said.
Desjardins said she’d be interested to see cost estimates on barging, but her community’s needs are clear and it’s up to the CRD to meet them.
“By taking away barging, taking it off the table, that may be ... a deal breaker,” she said. “But I’m not the one who has to sell this thing.”
CHEK and CTV cover McLoughlin barging debate
November 13, 2013 CHEK coverage:
CTV news coverage:
CFAX AUDIO OF DESJARDINS DISCUSSION OF MCLOUGHLIN & OF KITCHEN SCRAPS ISSUE
Desjardins was on CFAX 13 November about the McLoughlin rezoning and Kitchen Scraps:
Toxic leachate leak prompts CRD water tests
NOVEMBER 13, 2013
The Capital Regional District is sampling surface and groundwater near Hartland Landfill after a leak in one of its toxic leachate lines.
The leak occurred on a valve on Willis Point Road near Wallace Drive this month, said the CRD.
The CRD is sampling nearby water but considers it a “minor leak” that doesn’t pose a concern, said spokesman Andy Orr. “We are taking the incident seriously and following a response plan.”
Leachate is the hazardous liquid formed from garbage decomposition, rainwater and groundwater percolating through the landfill’s waste. The CRD pumps it to a holding station.
The leak is near a Willis Point home, and local residents have expressed concern that it could contaminate nearby wells and groundwater sources that homeowners use for drinking water.
CFAX Poll on measures to compensate Esquimalt for sewage plant
November 14, 2013
Too many politicians in the municipal kitchen
NOV 5, 2013
"WHO KNEW? COUNT 'em all up and B.C. has 1,660 elected officials sitting on 250 local councils and school boards across the province. That works out to one for every 2,000 registered voters."
"The folks at the Capital Regional District are being called upon to make all the politically smelly decisions regarding a new sewage treatment plant, while the purse strings remain tightly controlled over at the offices of Partnerships B.C. The federal and provincial governments called it a condition of funding. Cynics might have another expression for it."
"That’s why it’s far easier to vote to try and place a sewage sludge treatment facility in someone else’s backyard as the Capital Regional District sewage committee wanted to do earlier this year, if you don’t have to face those voters yourself."
READ MORE AT:
Region’s municipalities should share resources (Bickerton)
NOVEMBER 16, 2013
I wonder if the new municipal auditor general, Basia Ruta, thinks that 13 municipalities and Capital Regional District are still an efficient way to govern 310,000 people.
The CRD has a secondary sewage treatment plan on paper with an imaginary cost figure. If the CRD used the latest technology, it could build several smaller tertiary treatment plants. It would save the taxpayer an enormous amount of money if the CRD listened to ideas like the RITE plan. Our marine life would benefit and no municipality could demand additional amenities.
The kitchen-scraps collection system is another financial disaster. Some CRD directors are using this poorly planned idea to tackle our toxic pharmaceutical sewage and storm-drain pollution problem.
We live in a region of “haves” and “have nots.” The Highlands fire department, like other volunteer departments, needs help. The Mill Bay fire department operates out of a barn-style building. Mill Bay is outside the CRD umbrella, but the Mill Bay volunteers are the ones who have to deal daily with the CRD’s bad drivers.
Shouldn’t our elected officials be more receptive and share the equipment, manpower and buildings through a limited amalgamation agreement?
Will it take the power of the B.C. government to produce the necessary downsizing of some municipalities and force a sharing of the resources? I wonder why Saanich doesn’t want to ask its voters for their thoughts on some amalgamation.
opinion/letters/region-s- municipalities-should-share- resources-1.698602
Sewage project spinning out of control (Burton-Krahn)
NOVEMBER 16, 2013
Re: “Esquimalt sewage-plant deal stalls as politicians fret over bargaining cost,” Nov. 14.
Capital Regional District directors are beginning to panic, and after spending upward of $40 million on studies and real estate, they are waking up to the fact that they actually have to build this thing.
At Wednesday’s meeting, project manager Albert Sweetnam continually spoke of the difficulty of creating a proposal based on uncertainty. And whose fault is that? The CRD’s, of course.
In July, Esquimalt held two days of public hearings on the rezoning application for McLoughlin Point, submitted by the CRD. The plan was for council to vote on the bylaw on July 15 based on public feedback.
But the CRD released the request for proposal three days before Esquimalt voted on the bylaw, even after Mayor Barb Desjardins asked them to hold off on the release of the RFP until Esquimalt council had voted on the bylaw.
Can you imagine being a proponent on a massive infrastructure project when the rezoning process hasn’t even concluded? The CRD was counting on the province to intervene. The minister of the environment made it clear that she was not willing to overrule Esquimalt’s right to due process and the rule of law with respect to the rezoning process.
This project is spinning out of control, and the CRD has no one to blame but itself.
Sewage plant will affect many (Grovestine)
NOVEMBER 15, 2013
Re: “Sewage sweetener aims to seal a deal,” Nov. 12.
While it’s gratifying to learn that the Capital Regional District has listened to at least some of Esquimalt’s concerns about the sewage treatment plant proposed for McLoughlin Point, where’s the concern for the folks who will be most affected, those who live or work in Vic West, James Bay and perhaps even downtown?
Few Esquimalt residents will be able to see the plant, yet the monstrosity will obliterate the skyline for thousands of others. With the prevailing west winds, few Esquimalt residents are likely to get even the faintest whiff of the plant. Instead, the wind will carry odours across the harbour and downtown. Certainly, construction traffic should be a concern, but much of that traffic will have travelled through Vic West before reaching Esquimalt.
Let’s not forget about the hundreds of thousands of visitors by cruise ship for whom the proposed plant would be the closest major feature of our otherwise wonderful city. I doubt the residents of Sydney, Australia, with their magnificent waterfront opera house, will be jealous.
There is no serious scientific justification for spending the hundreds of millions the plant will cost. A few will scorn us for dumping our waste in the ocean, but, since we’re one of the last to be doing it, the ocean is more than capable of handling it. If this were a serious environmental concern, it would have been addressed years ago, as it was in most other large municipalities on the West Coast.
CRD should have requested barge costs (Hackman)
NOVEMBER 17, 2013
Re: “Esquimalt sewage-plant deal stalls as politicians fret over barging cost,” Nov. 14.
The refusal to endorse Esquimalt’s mitigation requests by the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee is another example of how poorly run this project is. I was disappointed, but not surprised, by this decision.
I was disappointed because the mitigations were negotiated in good faith between the Township of Esquimalt and CRD staff. Rarely do we hear of negotiations going so well. Then to have “almost everyone” on the sewage committee cite the unknown costs of barging as “raising alarm bells” for them and leading to their refusal shows that they didn’t know what the CRD staff were doing.
The CRD offered barging as a means to mitigate public-safety concerns. You would think that the committee would have requested the costs for barging before this meeting.
This is where I’m not surprised. This project has not followed any kind of logical order. One thing is clear: The CRD’s lack of planning has caused the cost of this project to hemorrhage, not Esquimalt’s negotiated requests.
No consultation for Hartland sewage plant (Henderson)
November 12, 2013
I’m a resident of Saanich, and have been following the CRD proposal to put a sewage processing plant at Hartland.
Mayor Frank Leonard gave assurances through the media that public consultation would happen, that the CRD plan to put a pipeline to and a major processing plant at Hartland wasn’t a “done deal,” that a rezoning application would need to come before Saanich council.
“I’m making it clear to the CRD, as I would anybody else, council is the last place you go. The first place you go is to the community. In this case that’s the rural Saanich community, the people of Willis Point, and even people in the Highlands should be engaged,” Frank Leonard said in the Saanich News on July 10.
He’s also on local radio clearly saying he would be chairing a meeting “as to changing the land use plan for Hartland” as the stuff being pumped to Hartland isn’t solid, its 98 per cent water according to Albert Sweetnam of the CRD.
Where is the public consultation and community support’ for Hartland?
I’ve been a Saanich taxpayer for 12 years, moderately involved in my community and other than one poorly advertised open house months ago (heard about after the fact from a source other than Saanich) I’ve heard nothing.
Now the CRD is stating that Hartland is confirmed and Mayor Leonard told a media outlet “No surprises here. It doesn’t require our approval” and “They (Hartland) have good operating practices and make the effort to communicate with residents.”
What? I’ve still heard nothing, and live within several kilometres of the dump.
Are you a Saanich resident with genuine concerns or questions, whether for or against? Please email me at hartland.sludge.dump@outlook.
CRD should respect Esquimalt’s process (Witter)
Re: “Esquimalt sewage-plant deals stalls as politicians fret over bargaining cost,” Nov. 14.
NOVEMBER 15, 2013
Seven hours of public hearing on the rezoning of McLoughlin Point to accommodate the Capital Regional District’s sewage plant resulted in two bylaws being adopted by Esquimalt council, one allowing for sewage treatment at McLoughlin Point and the other describing the specifics of appropriate development for the site, including the required setbacks.
Had the CRD waited to hear Esquimalt council’s decision on these bylaws before sending out the requests for proposals to the bidders, we could have avoided a lot of time and money spent on negotiations, and the required setbacks would not be considered as “new distances.”
Had the CRD respected our right to public process and waited just three more days for this decision, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Esquimalt is not to blame.