January 26, 2014

- Come to Westshore forum on alternative treatment options 28 Jan!
- Come to RITE Plan Business Forum 29 Jan!Come to Esquimalt Hearing 18 Feb!
Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan

Mayor Desjardins on CFAX 22 Jan
CTV news clip covers the mailouts going to Clover Pt residents
News stories:
Notes of recent public meetings found on RITE plan FB
- What RITE Plan is doing with these meetings - and why CRD sewage czar Young was not invited
Public hearing for Esquimalt sewage plant set for Feb. 18
Sewage treatment discussion divides Colwood council
Better communication needed on sewage plans, Esquimalt mayor says

CRD has no jurisdiction over stormwater (Atwell)
- RITE plan wrong way to go (Lloyd)
Storm drains are a public health concern (Peck)


Sign communities petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan

The communities have created a petition that we are sponsoring:


Every signature will be presented in the Legislature by local MLAs.

Please sign!



Sewage Treatment Action Group (STAG) welcomes you to the The RITE Plan's Facebook Page. STAG believes that sewage treatment must be done in the best way possible using innovative technologies while minimizing costs and social impacts.

For the details of The RITE Plan visit these sites:

Petition: http://sewagepetition.ca/
Website: http://theriteplan.ca/
Videos: http://tinyurl.com/k46pthf
Twitter: http://twitter.com/theriteplan

In this group we are discussing waste management in the CRD (sewage, composting and garbage) along with water re-use which are all elements of The RITE Plan.

Come to Westshore forum on alternative treatment options 28 Jan!

See story below: Hamilton said a forum on alternative treatment options will come to the West Shore on Jan. 28, with a location still to be decided.


The RITE Plan Road Show continues:



Business Forum – Wednesday, January 29th from 7 - 9pm
Regional Sewage Project – Towards a Better Plan


Victoria, BC - After seven years of planning and 60 million spent, the CRD sewage project continues to make headlines. The cost and affordability of the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Capital Regional District remains the greatest reason for concern.

Is this the best plan? Has the CRD eliminated all of the options? What will be the final cost for taxpayers?

A cost effective alternative sewage plan that meets regional needs for the foreseeable future without the devastating tax increases is now on the table for the CRD to seriously evaluate but are they paying attention?

The panel will give an overview of this alternative plan and the associated cost savings.

No need to pre-register.

Mews Conference Room (Bldg 4)
Royal Roads University
2005 Sooke Road

Come to Esquimalt Hearing 18 Feb!
See story below:
The public hearing takes place Feb. 18 at the Jubilee Hall, Esquimalt Rec Centre (527 Fraser St.), 7 p.m.
A second evening of public hearings is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 19 if required.


Audio-visual news:

Mayor Desjardins on CFAX 22 Jan

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins was on CFAX this morning with Al Ferraby to provide an update on last night's council meeting:


Length: 6m15s


CTV news clip covers the mailouts going to Clover Pt residents. 

These are the first mailouts the CRD has put out since 2007! Unbelievable!

The reason why? The less people know about the project, the less complaints the CRD and the CRD Directors will get. It's that simple.




After watching the CTV clip on the Sooke Reservoir I remembered that I recorded a great exchange at the CRD after we made our pitch to plan and incorporate wastewater recycling into the treatment plan:


We got the attention of Directors but the conclusion reached was that we had plenty of water for the next 50 years.

Sending wastewater into the ocean isn't progressive..

- Hmmm...no need to plan to recycle water, huh?



News stories:

Notes of recent public meetings found on RITE plan FB

Elizabeth May Townhall

Shellie MacDonald
9:38pm Jan 20
David Ferguson addressed Elizabeth May at the Town Hall meeting in Royal Oak tonight, and her response was prefaced by the following preamble..... "I broach this subject with only slightly less trepidation than discussing the middle east"......she said it's a bad plan, that is doomed for failure for so many reasons, that the local MP should secure a lease for a 4 acre federal property. ...... lots of signatures on the petition.

David Ferguson
7:25am Jan 21
The Elizabeth May event was also packed last night (over 200). The sewage issue was well received and we have 49 new signatures on the petition. Thanks to Robin & Shellie for the help!

Esquimalt Council Meeting

Deborah Dickson
9:00pm Jan 20
Great turn out at the Esquimalt Council meeting, standing room only. The CRD did not show up with a 3D model as had been requested - instead attendees and Esquimalt Council got to look at a Box. That's right a Box. They also showed an animated show of what the proposed Plan could look like on the proposed site. Not a very good fit from what was presented. The meeting started out with the CRD reading the wrong report ... a sign of things to come? You be the judge.
Richard Atwell
12:08am Jan 21
Thank you Esquimalt Council. We get another public hearing on McLoughlin and thanks to public concern and sentiment, CRD had to commit to mailing all Esquimalt Residents and holding at least one Open House ahead of the Feb 18 Public Hearing.

Esquimalt Council Meeting 20 January


What RITE Plan is doing with these meetings - and why CRD sewage czar Young was not invited

Richard Atwell
RITE Plan FB page
10:18am Jan 20 

I'm sure some CRD Directors are wondering why we are holding these meetings. Geoff Young seemed genuinely miffed that he hadn't been invited to the meeting even though the title of the meeting was "Towards a better plan".

We're not holding meetings to argue about the CRD plan and confuse the audience. That was a very convenient situation for the CRD while the pro and anti treatment groups slugged it out for several years.

What we are doing is exploring alternatives that offer better technology at a lower cost. We've have to take this upon ourselves because the CRD isn't doing it, the CRD Commission isn't doing it and the consultants aren't doing it.

At that point would would put your faith in the bidders to do it or do you think they'll build to the lowest standard that brings them the highest profit? Do they even have a choice when the CRD has worded every RFP to lock in technologies from the past. What is their motivation: they would love to come back in 2040 for a mandatory upgrade and we'll go through this exercise all over again.

Many CRD Directors have acknowledged that this isn't the best plan and so we need a mechanism to explore this because it is not possible within the CRD.

We're spent the better part of a year speaking at CRD meetings, month after month and our message has fallen on deaf ears. So we're taking this message to the community who are keen to listen.

Stay tuned...
Public hearing for Esquimalt sewage plant set for Feb. 18

Daniel Palmer 
Victoria News
posted Jan 21, 2014

Esquimalt council is moving forward with the latest application to build a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point by holding a public hearing at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

Council unanimously approved moving the Capital Regional District application to public hearing at a standing-room only meeting at Esquimalt municipal hall Monday night, said Coun. Lynda Hundleby.

Dozens of residents from Esquimalt and other core area municipalities came to address council on the design of the sewage treatment facility, part of the CRD's $783-million Seaterra program.

"The same thing will go for public hearing – it's not restricted to Esquimalt residents," Hundleby said. "This is a regional project and members of the public anywhere in the region should have the right to speak to it."

Hundreds of people attended a similar public hearing last July at the Archie Browning Sports Centre before that application was punted back to the CRD for revision.

The CRD's current application now includes design incentives such as setbacks to accommodate a harbour pathway, cycling infrastructure and an annual mitigation fee for hosting the region's sewage treatment facility.

In a council meeting that ran more than four hours, many Greater Victoria residents expressed support for the consultation approach taken by Esquimalt, Hundleby said.

At the meeting, CRD staff also agreed to host a public open house, prior to Esquimalt's public hearing, to present its updated design plans and answer questions.

The public hearing takes place Feb. 18 at the Jubilee Hall, Esquimalt Rec Centre (527 Fraser St.), 7 p.m.

A second evening of public hearings is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 19 if required.




Sewage treatment discussion divides Colwood council

Kyle Wells
Goldstream News Gazette
Jan 20, 2014

Another year, another debate over how Colwood residents are to pay for sewage treatment costs.

With a new year’s budget comes yet another discussion over how Colwood residents will pay for costs associated with the Capital Regional District’s sewer treatment project.

Working off an estimate, the CRD is asking municipalities every year to pay a percentage of the money put aside for capital costs.

Last year Colwood had to pay 20 per cent of the total buy in, this year the charge will be 40 per cent, meaning all Colwood residents will pay about double this year.

Colwood city council approved paying for CRD sewage treatment facility costs in 2014 the same way as last year, with current sewer users paying for current use and everybody paying for capital costs for the in-development project.

Two councillors voted against the motion, however, with at least one declaring the approach unsustainable over the longterm.

Councillors Rob Martin and Sheri Lukens voted against the tax structure, with Martin expressing concerns about the burden the model would take on residents, and, ultimately, community growth.

“Why would someone buy a house for $500,000 and pay that amount of money to live in Royal Bay, when you can buy the exact same house in Westhills in Langford?” Martin said. “It’s not an issue right now, because the charges are just starting to ramp up, but as you begin to look towards 2018, we’re going to end up basically devastating the marketplace.”

The CRD’s estimated cost per household for Colwood in 2014 in $103, compared with Langford at $111 and View Royal at $80. By 2018 the cost to Colwood taxpayers is estimated to be $310 per year. The CRD explains these costs will vary depending on how individual municipalities choose to distribute the costs among residents.

Mayor Carol Hamilton sees the pay structure as the better of two evils.

“It doesn’t matter what model we undertake, it’s going to cost a considerable amount over time,” Hamilton said. “There’s arguments both sides of the fence. It is a real conundrum.”

Spreading the costs among all residents wouldn’t be fair to those not on sewer, which is the majority of the population, Hamilton said. The chosen model, she said, is more fair for residents who will not even have the chance to be on sewer in the foreseeable future.

Colwood is still looking at alternative sewer treatment options provided by the city itself to perhaps be the solution. A previous idea had Colwood partnering with Capital City Centre to provide treatment, but with the development now under creditor protection, other options will have to be looked at.

Hamilton said a forum on alternative treatment options will come to the West Shore on Jan. 28, with a location still to be decided.



Better communication needed on sewage plans, Esquimalt mayor says

JANUARY 21, 2014

The Capital Regional District sewage committee has approved a new rezoning application for a treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.  Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist

Sewage is a regional concern and the Capital Regional District needs to do a better job of keeping everyone up to speed on its plans, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said Tuesday.

She made the comment following a marathon meeting Monday during which Esquimalt council gave second reading to a revised rezoning application for McLoughlin Point, where the CRD plans to build a regional wastewater treatment plant.

“There were lots of people there [Monday] night from all over the wregion and they all spoke to the fact that they wanted this to go to a public hearing,” Desjardins said.

“The key thing that we heard … was this wasn’t just an Esquimalt thing, it’s a regional thing, and people are interested all over the region. The CRD needs to make [its plans] clear, it needs to make them public.”

The CRD plans to hold two open houses in the coming weeks. A public hearing is tentatively set for Feb. 18 and 19 at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre gymnasium.

“They’ve agreed to reach out a little bit more but … they heard from council members and others that they have to make this clearer to people because it’s very confusing,” Desjardins said.

Mike Peckham, the CRD project manager for the wastewater treatment plant, gave a presentation to council that included a “flyover” animation of a generic-looking structure.

Three proponents have submitted designs for the plant — none of which can be made public, irking many of those who stood to speak to council.

Confidentiality is necessary under the tendering rules. But secrecy presents a problem in this case, where the rezoning application is proceeding before the contractor and design are selected.

Peckham tried to address the issue by showing a graphic that showed where each proposal would involve setback encroachments that require variances.

The project calls for a traffic plan including barging, amenities including waterside pathways, a permanent dock and public art, and no detectable odour at the property boundaries.

A six-metre wall, designed to protect the site from tsunamis, would separate the property from the public pathway.

The CRD also informed Esquimalt council that the McLoughlin site includes two small pieces of property that aren’t zoned.

“Why are [they] bringing it forward at the last minute when [they’ve] known about it?” Desjardins asked.

It’s unclear whether rezoning the small parcels would mean council has to make changes to its Official Community Plan.

About a dozen people addressed council, all asking for the matter to move forward to a public hearing.

Carol Witter of Head Street in Esquimalt said the McLoughlin Point site is too small for the project: “I don’t like what’s been negotiated so far. I’m not optimistic about what’s to come from this public hearing.

“It doesn’t seem like the CRD cares or that they’re listening.”

Russ Smith of Kings Road in Victoria called for the CRD to advise the region of what’s in the works.

“We have to understand the whole project, not just bits and pieces of it,” Smith said.

Eric Pittman of Dunsmuir Street in Esquimalt also felt the project was getting squeezed into a small space: “Let’s find out what the truth is before they put shovels in the ground.”




CRD has no jurisdiction over stormwater (Atwell)

JANUARY 26, 2014 

Re: “Storm sewers carry pollution,” editorial, Jan. 19.

In 2009, the Capital Regional District estimated it would cost $421 million to repair our fractured stormwater infrastructure, an additional expense above the cost of the billion-dollar sewage project.

Many residents will be shocked to learn that the CRD does not have jurisdiction over stormwater management, a fact highlighted in the 2010 University of Victoria Environmental Law Clinic report, Re-inventing Rainwater Management.

These overflows are predominantly located in Victoria and Oak Bay and it is left to those municipalities to pay for and repair these pipes by themselves. As a consequence, Victoria commissioned a new storm-water utility in 2014 for taxation purposes.

It is important to understand that the stormwater and sewage pipes are not completely independent of each other. They spill over into each other. The CRD sewage project has been designed to treat not just the sewage, but a larger-than-necessary amount of sewage-contaminated stormwater at additional cost to taxpayers.

Even then, the excess that cannot be treated will be discharged as sewage-contaminated rainwater from Clover Point before it can reach the sewage plant.

Residents and businesses deserve a better-value sewage project, where savings can be directed toward these unavoidable stormwater repairs to reduce their overall tax burden, but such a project is unlikely to materialize without a sober second thought and an independent review.

Richard Atwell
Director, Sewage Treatment Action Group



RITE plan wrong way to go (Lloyd)

Victoria News
J Jan 23, 2014

The RITE plan forum Jan. 14, sponsored by Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver, provoked a lot of questions.

Mr. Weaver’s support for the RITE plan is clear, even supporting a public-private-partnership (P3) approach to funding.  His support for a financing model that adds a privatizing element into a public service, that needs to build in profit for shareholders, that time and again has proven to be more expensive – is discouraging to say the least.

One of the features of a centralized system, like that currently proposed by the CRD, is that treatment and containment are centralized.  The ‘Distributed Model’ of waste treatment, with the sewage treatment system created by the Dockside Green development as a shining example, implies that mini-waste treatment sites need to be located close to the source.

At the forum I was envisioning ponds and out-buildings (plus those needed for converting bio-solids into energy and fertilizer) taking up part of Windsor Park, the play-ground of Monterey school or Uplands Park, for example.

The financial and social costs, and the radical re-engineering of old neighbourhoods, are not factored into the accounting for the RITE plan.

The support by Andrew Weaver and by extension the B.C. Greens, for a P3 model of funding, is contaminating the discussion of appropriate waste management. Water management will be the defining issue of our future.  Waste management is part of the cycle.

Mike Lloyd
Oak Bay



Storm drains are a public health concern (Peck)

JANUARY 26, 2014

Re: “Storm sewers carry pollution,” editorial, Jan. 19.

The editorial clearly identifies the public health concern for the many rainwater drains around the coastline of Greater Victoria.

These drains that discharge into the sea close to the beaches carry contaminants — including sewage from cross-connections, animal waste from roadsides and chemicals (such as petroleum residues from vehicles). The Capital Regional District identified 38 instances of high-rated contaminated drains in 2012 based on the finding of high levels of fecal coliform indicator bacteria.

In addition to the normal rainwater runoff, there are also the designed overflows that occur a few times a year after heavy rainfall, when the unscreened sewage is discharged close to the shoreline from such outfalls as McMicking Point. There is a high potential for human exposure to these drains and overflows and therefore a public health risk of waterborne illness.

This is in complete contrast to Clover and Macaulay points, where the screened sewage is discharged into the marine environment via two deep-sea outfalls that are more than one kilometre from the shore and have 200-metre-long diffusers at the end of them. The outfalls are 60 metres below the ocean surface. By this means, the sewage is treated naturally by the marine environment. A comprehensive study by the CRD concluded that there is no measurable public health risk from the exposure to the sewage plume.

The Capital Regional District’s Seaterra program plans to construct land-based sewage treatment plants at a (preliminary) cost estimate of $783 million. The decision to go ahead with the plan is supported by the political decisions of three levels of government: municipal (regional), provincial and federal.

The credible judgment of marine scientists, public health officials and engineers that the present discharge of the screened effluent into a unique marine receiving environment, through the two deep-sea outfalls, is highly effective in treating the effluent, has largely been ignored.

No credible scientist has presented evidence to counter the judgment of the University of Victoria marine scientists.

The present practice is described as “noxious.” This perception may be understandable. The designed outfalls were based on best engineering practice and have been shown to be highly effective by the comprehensive monitoring. Therefore it seems it is this perception that has driven the demand for land-based sewage treatment plants.

What is now being understood is that land-based sewage treatment plants for Victoria will create more of an environmental issue (when the marine, land and global environments are included) than exists at present.

How will the sludge created by the plants be disposed of? On the land, in the landfill or burned (using much energy)? What will be in the sludge?

There is a great deal of scientific uncertainty about how much of the chemicals of concern and even microplastics will be in the sludge or whether they will be discharged in the residual water through a new outfall at McLoughlin Point. The remaining diluted sewage water after treatment still has to be disposed.

There are calls for more complex treatment than the planned secondary treatment to enable reclamation of water. This does not make sense when you consider the abundance of water available at a relatively low cost from the CRD’s Integrated Water Services.

The regulators are requiring the land-based sewage treatment plants to meet total suspended solids and carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand levels. This is being achieved within 100 metres of the present deep-sea outfalls. It can also be achieved for the estimated $783 million in the land-based sewage treatment plants.

With all the uncertainties in the plans at this time, the CRD directors could have the wisdom and courage to challenge the federal regulations. Given Victoria’s unique marine receiving environment, will they seek an exemption to the federal wastewater systems effluent regulations? They would have strong support from marine scientists and public health officials that the present practice of disposing of our screened sewage is the best solution for Greater Victoria.

The present practice is the best solution from an environmental and ecological perspective.

From a public health perspective, fixing the stormwater drains that contaminate the shoreline is a much greater priority than building land-based sewage treatment plants that will have adverse effects on the land and global environment and where there are uncertain benefits for dealing with chemicals of concern.

 - Dr. Shaun Peck was the medical health officer for the Capital Regional District from 1989 to 1995.