January 12, 2014

CFAX internet poll final results
Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan
Volunteer for Roundtable!

Lisa Helps includes sewage on CFAX 6 Jan
Esquimalt Council Meeting sewage plant issue on 6 Jan
Desjardins on CFAX: sewage, policing, amalgamation
Richard's Op-Ed: What do we expect of our elected officials?
CTV's Eric Glazier covers today's sewage meeting Jan 8
News stories:
Greater Victoria politicians debate extension of sewage project deadline
CRD to consider asking for extension on sewage treatment project
Editorial: Delays would be costly
CRD politicians may ask province for more sewage time

- Feedback clear on biosolids plant (MacDonald)



MLA Andrew Weaver hosts sewage summit

Victoria News
Jan 11, 2014 

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver is moderating a town hall meeting next week.

The cost, location and engineering of the Seaterra secondary sewage treatment program, and the potential for different approaches to sewage treatment is on the agenda for a panel featuring Chris Corp, co-founder and CEO of Pivotal IRM Inc., Victoria city councillor Lisa Helps, and Richard Atwell, director of the Rite Plan.

“I would like to see municipal, provincial and federal governments agree to a 2020 deadline for implementation of sewage treatment,” said Weaver. “It is important that we build a system for the future using the latest technology and not a system from yesteryear that doesn’t actually address many of the environmental and fiscal sustainability issues we face. I would want to see an integrated liquid and solid waste management strategy put in place that includes a thorough examination of distributed systems, exploration of public-private partnerships, and industry led solutions.”

The session will include an open public question and answer period.

Weaver, a former University of Victoria professor and climate scientist hosts at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre lounge, Jan. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m.



CFAX internet poll final results

Thanks to RITE Plan folks who contributed their vote to CFAX poll.


Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan

Sewage Action - Prospect Lake District Community Association

Sign the Petition!!: http://pldca.ca/Blog/planning/sewage-action/


Volunteer for Roundtable!



Audio-visual news:

Lisa Helps includes sewage on CFAX on 6 Jan

Lisa Helps was on CFAX today and gave a thumbs down to the CRD's sewage project:



Esquimalt Council Meeting sewage plant issue on 6 Jan

What was the big news from Monday night's Esquimalt Council meeting?



The CRD image makeover began today with CRD Chair Alastair Bryson's inaugural speech:


What does "working together" mean?

Does it mean that Frank Leonard shouldn't be sending his kitchen scraps over the Malahat and should instead combine them with CRD scraps? Nope.

How about when it comes to the sewage project? 

Based on what I witnessed in 2013, it could only mean ignore your conscience and your duty to your citizens because that's what came forth from CRD Directors unsatisfied with this project knowing we can do better and should do better.

The CRD by its very structure IS the definition of working together and difference of opinion needs to be respected, not criticized or chastised behind closed doors. That's not cool.

In 2014, expect CRD to try to rebrand itself to the public to rebuild its tarnished image. It is an election year after all.


Desjardins on CFAX: sewage, policing, amalgamation

Mayor Barb Desjardins was on CFAX this morning (Thr 9th) giving an update on sewage, policing and amalgamation:



Richard's Op-Ed: What do we expect of our elected officials?

After watching this sewage debacle up close for the past 18 months and recording every moment on film, it is very clear that the decision making process at the CRD operates by means of tight control of information: the less information the directors have, the less power they have. Truly, knowledge is power.

The CRD wouldn't be the first government that has operated this way but as our 4th level of government (yup #4), it's rubbing salt into the wound of public processes that are not working well at other levels.

CRD staff give the directors either as little information as possible verbally or land 300 page reports on their desks to bamboozle them and bamboozled they become. In between their CRD duties they have to accommodate their municipal agendas and it is time consuming to sort out the confusion put upon them by staff during the 2 hr window they are expected to act once per month.

The upshot of this is that CRD directors can literally be starved of vital information necessary to make informed decisions. Instead they are often sitting there expected simply to ratify the only decision that staff arrived at. Now how can there be one way forward if the public has been consulted and that's the rub: public input does not factor into CRD decision making. They have a process for it but they ignore it:


Data concerning alternatives is also tightly controlled. Staff cherry pick bits and pieces to suit their position. At today's CRD meeting, one staffer used a report on distributed systems to justify the use of anaerobic digestion conveniently ignoring the rest of the report.

Why do staff even have a position? That's a whole other editorial and while no one likes to be yanked back and forth on a task more often than not they don't back up their opinion with facts and the project deserved to be reeled in and examined.

Directors cannot bring their own research to the table: staff must be directed to do bring it and when it comes and its disappointing you are stuck. If they don't have time to sort it out before the vote, the opportunity is lost.

It would seem the only recourse is to replace the head of the administrative side and from the top down, institute changes. Is that in the power of the CRD Board? I would hope so.

So, members of the public that feel left out and uninformed after attending a typical open house put on by the CRD can only feel comfort in the fact that the CRD directors are left equally in the dark.

In this municipal election year it's critical to understand that the CRD directors pushing this project forward at all cost, don't wish to see any data or know about any alternatives or to know if they are cheaper options. This is the calling card of politicians working on behalf of special interests and not the overall public interest and this includes saving their own skin.

Even more troubling is the number of times that cart has been put before the horse by CRD:

- the selection of sites before the selection of technology
- selecting McLoughlin before public consultation was complete
- ditto for Viewield
- RFP goes out the door before McLoughlin is even rezoned and so on

Decisions like this are made to ensure a particular outcome is achieved. Most CRD directors have been quite happy to support the decisions made to date and the result is a 2007 sewage project.

Designed in 2007 using 2007 technology (check the RFP wording) and to become operational in 2018.

Does that sound right to anyone? Does proven technology have to be 10 years old? The definition of that is fuzzy: a consultants labels a technology unproven, semi-proven and then proven. When they stop writing reports, you get locked into old technologies because that's all they can reference.

Today's example was a 2008 report (I'll post that video soon)...

Even the finer details of the unrealistic cost of this project has been kept secret from the CRD directors who's primary function is to spend money wisely. This is insane.

Folks, this system couldn't be more broken and in an election year it falls on the public as our responsibility to fix it.

This project can be turned around but as Einstien said "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them" and that applies equally to people.

The next municipal election is fast approaching. Get ready for Nov 15, 2014.


CTV's Eric Glazier covers today's sewage meeting Jan 8


Topics include the missing money and the motion to seek an extension (if needed) of time by not limiting the completion date to 2020.

Today, someone asked me how this affects Sweetnam's contract:


Times Colonist revealed he is set to receive a one-year bonus payment if he finishes his five-year contract so there is no conflict.


News stories:

Greater Victoria politicians debate extension of sewage project deadline

JANUARY 8, 2014

Greater Victoria politicians are once again debating whether to extend the deadline for the region’s sewage treatment megaproject.

The Capital Regional District should ask the B.C. government if it will consider pushing back a 2018 deadline for the $783-million project until 2020, Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto said Wednesday.

The extra two years may not be needed, but formally asking the province would “explore the notion of having a bit of a cushion” on the controversial project, Alto told the CRD sewage committee during a meeting.

“There’s no harm I can see at all in simply asking the question and say we’re going ahead we’re doing what you asked us to do … but at the same time, we need a little more time,” Alto said.

“If you gave us a little more time, we’d be able to do a better job.”

After a lengthy debate, in which some politicians worried any hint of a delay would confuse the public, the committee voted to reconsider the idea next month once Alto had written a draft letter to government.

It’s the latest twist in the project’s long-running development, which has so far survived numerous votes for delays and reconsideration.

It comes as the civilian commission in charge of procuring the project warns that the tight timeline to finish by 2018 is already at risk of being blown by squabbling politicians, who have yet to agree on zoning for a treatment plant site in Esquimalt.

The commission has also warned of up to $1 million a month in delay costs if the project falls behind schedule.

The B.C. government ordered the CRD to treat its sewage in 2006.

Major construction has yet to begin.

The federal and provincial governments have pledged $501.4 million, or two-thirds of the project’s budget. But CRD staff told politicians Wednesday that’s contingent on a 2018 deadline, and there’s no evidence either level of government would support a delay.

Alto said she’s not necessarily asking for a delay, but wants the CRD to ask the province if it would consider one.

The project’s tight timeline is a result of seven years of wasted time and energy by CRD politicians debating the issue, said Saanich Coun. Leif Wergeland.

“If we had an extension to 2025, I’d venture to say we’d be sitting there and debating … all these issues and reports and we’d be where we are today and saying, ‘We’re under a tight timeline, can you help us?’ ” Wergeland said.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Saanich Coun. Vic Derman, View Royal Mayor Graham Hill and Victoria Coun. Pam Madoff expressed support for the idea, saying it could help address public concern over the treatment project.

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young said he might support a delay in the future if it’s needed for a specific reason or could reduce project costs.

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell said any delay would put fear into companies spending millions to prepare bids on the project.

Also on Wednesday, CRD directors voted to appoint Young sewage committee chairman, replacing Blackwell.



CRD to consider asking for extension on sewage treatment project

Kyle Reynolds
CFAX 1070
January 09, 2014

Next month the CRD will consider writing a letter to the province asking for a two year deadline extension on the region's sewage treatment project.

Director Marianne Alto proposed a motion at yesterday's sewage committee meeting requesting the province push the deadline back from 2018 to 2020.

"We still have alot of questions around what we're going to do with the product of the treatment. We still have alot of opportunities to learn from other jurisdictions about some really innovative ideas."

The committee decided not to act on the motion yesterday.

Instead, Alto will draft a letter to the province, and the committee will review it and debate the proposal again at its next meeting on February 12.



Editorial: Delays would be costly

JANUARY 10, 2014

The massive Greater Victoria sewage project has been years in the making, and major construction has yet to start. Delaying the deadline won’t help.

Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto asked other Capital Regional District board members this week to approach the provincial government about the possibility of extending the 2018 deadline for the project to 2020.

Opponents of the project would welcome a delay, but their reasons, although not unfounded, are not Alto’s reasons — she merely wants a cushion if it’s needed. Her suggestion will be discussed at next month’s board meeting.

A reckless pace is not a good idea when working on a $783-million project.

But delays, too, are expensive. The civilian commission directing the project is concerned that the timeline is in jeopardy because municipal politicians have yet to come to an agreement on zoning for the treatment plant in Esquimalt. Yet that commission has also warned that each month’s delay will add as much as $1 million to the cost of the project.

Furthermore, a delay would inject uncertainty and confusion into a project already rife with controversy. Companies that have already invested millions in the project would be understandably nervous — time is money to them, as well.

While flexibility is important in a project of this scope, the purpose of a deadline is to ensure a task is completed within an appropriate time frame. Extending a deadline defeats that purpose, opening the door to more delays and removing some of the motivation to get the project done on time.



CRD politicians may ask province for more sewage time

Luke Simcoe
Metro Victoria
January 10, 2014

Despite warnings that further delays to Greater Victoria’s contentious sewage treatment plan could be costly, Capital Regional District politicians are pondering asking the province to extend the project’s deadline.

The motion was put forth by Victoria Coun. Marianna Alto, who wants to push the $783-million project’s deadline ahead by two years to 2020.

The province and the federal government originally agreed to fund two-thirds of the project, contingent upon a completion date of 2018.

Speaking with Metro Friday, Alto was adamant her motion was less about delaying the project than about leaving the door open to new technologies.

“It’s a technology that’s growing really quickly and has a lot of potential,” she said. “So let’s ask the province to give us a cushion of another two years, so if something happens that we think will make the project better, we won’t have to go cap in hand asking for more time.”

Staff are going to draft a letter to the province and CRD officials will decide whether to send it at next month’s meeting.

In December, a Seaterra report suggested delaying the project could cost as much as $900,000 a month.




Feedback clear on biosolids plant (MacDonald)