February 16, 2014

- ARESST advert
- Sign: petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan
- Prepare: McLoughlin Rezoning Public Hearing 18 Feb
- Review: New important Colwood sewage plant proposal and motion
- Send: in your letters!
- How it went: flyering and open house

CRD vacating responsibility for public consultation (Langley video)
Mayor Desjardins recounts CRD's RFP problem for Esquimalt (short video clip)
CRD'S  sketchy "communications" contracting
CRD/SeaTerra Sweetnam at sewage meeting
CFAX on Sewage chair Geoff Young & Colwood proposal
CRD sewage director Herbert on "dealing" with First Nations' burial sites
Check out The RITE Plan Youtube Channel

News stories:
Colwood wants out of capital region’s sewage plan
Comment: It’s time to move on with Seaterra program (Sweetnam)

Tertiary treatment would save money (Bickerton)
Company paid for sewage pilot project (Hamilton, Mayor)
Too much sewage uncertainty (Johnson)
- Tennis gets better hearing than sewage project (Miller)



ARESST advert

ARESST insert into Victoria News group papers this week, as well as some posters displayed near Esquimalt Recreation Centre. 

Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan

The communities have created a petition that RITE Plan is sponsoring. Every signature will be presented in the Legislature by local MLAs.


Prepare for McLoughlin Rezoning Public Hearing Feb 18

Upcoming Esquimalt 18 Feb hearing is a vitally-important, key opportunity to speak out against this bad CRD sewage plan: its environmental impacts, its incredible cost and its lack of advanced-stage treatment.

Get more information from Esquimalt's website, put together a few sentences of your concerns, and arrive early. Its first come, first presenting, so if you sign-in early, you speak early and can then fully appreciate the contributions of later presenters.

More info: http://www.esquimalt.ca/news/news01241401.aspx


Review: New important Colwood sewage plant proposal and motion

Two important short documents from Colwood that will be critical for the next month: 

If these links don't work, go to the Colwood sewage website and at bottom of webpage are links to these two documents. 

Also see letter from Colwood Mayor Hamilton below.


How it went - 

David Ferguson
15 Feb FB:

Incredible job today RITE plan volunteers! Thanks to you we successfully flyered most of Esquimalt AND covered the SeaTerra Open House!   If you can help, e-mail dferguson1958@gmail.com


Richard Atwell
The RITE Plan
16 Feb FB

Who said the Sally Brownies were going to be removed from the McLoughlin Open House?

They were on display again today.

Who wants to bet no one wants the CRD's biosolids?



Audio-visual news:

CRD vacating responsibility for public consultation

David Langley has discovered (simply by reading the CRD's own documents) that the CRD sewage committee has responsibility for public consultation but handed it over to lock stock and barrel the CRD Commission without even a thought.

In fact, the CRD's $50,000 communications plan doesn't even include the word "consultation" in it. They developed a "communications strategy".

This one is going straight to the Auditor General because it will never land on any desk in the "no accountability zone at the CRD": their bylaws often are aren't worth the paper they are written on.

CRD Bylaw 3851 (the Commission bylaw):

9. Consultation Plans
9.1 The Consultation Plans under section 6.2 must provide for early, ongoing and continuous and responsive consultation in accordance with applicable public participation policies of the CRD with:

(a) the public;
(b) public organizations having an interest in the Program;
(c) Core Area Municipalities and other public authorities; and
(d) The Esquimalt, Beecher Bay and Songhees First Nations and any other First Nation identified by the Regional Board,
during the Program.

11. Role of the CALWMC
11.1 It shall be the function of the CALWMC to:

(a) review all documents and reports prepared by the Commission for submission to the Regional Board; FAIL!

(b) advise the Commission on local issues and concerns that may affect the Program and on the information and communications required by the communities regarding the Program; FAIL!


David is a retired wastewater engineer from UK. He would have been a perfect person to sit on TCAC, if the CRD has any intention of using TCAC as a resource instead of using it for "sandwich disposal".


Mayor Desjardins recounts CRD's RFP problem for Esquimalt

Feb 12, 2014 CRD Video

How do you ensure that you get innovation? Just write it into your committee terms of reference and sit back and wait for it to appear.

Mayor Desjardins recounts how the CRD itself approved the RFP that went out July 12th before Esquimalt had rezoned McLoughlin on July 15th.



CRD'S  sketchy "communications" contracting

Feb 12, 2014 CRD Video

Graham Hill raises an issue with the imminent mega-bucks communication contract and Sweetnam goes on the defence of Acumen. First Diana Lokken speaks about deemed conflicts.


Here's what's happening:

1) Acumen was paid $50,000 in May 2013 to come up with a communications plan.

2) In November 2013, Acumen was to be awarded a no bid contract for $1.6m that was scuttled at the last minute by the CRD Commission no doubt due to political interference when it made news earlier in the week.

3) Acumen was awarded a 3 month $200,000 short-term contract at the very same CRD Commission meeting.

4) Acumen appear to have submitted a bid on the larger contact again.

In the video, Sweetnam is saying that anyone can bid in fairness because the original work (communication plan), was made available on the website and companies that do that early work shouldn't be precluded from bidding on it.

However, he fails to mention the $200,000 advantage that Acumen has over the other bidders. In fact, the next big contract includes the very job posting that Acumen has now under the current contract which expires end of February.

Sweetnam says, "if we proceeded differently, we would not get bidders that would be prepared to help us in the planning phases of our projects".

I don't know about you but the way I interpret that is to mean that there is a big payday waiting for companies that bid low on the early phases of the work who expect to be awarded the larger contract later through a "competitive process". Am I off base with this?

Acumen has been billing the CRD for work under the $200,000 contract during this procurement process that the other company can only guess the costs.

Attend the Commission meeting on Feb 28th at 9am to watch how this plays out...I'm betting that Acumen is award the contract.


CRD SeaTerra Sweetnam at sewage meeting

Sweetnam's McLoughlin Presentation to the CRD sewage committee:



CFAX on Sewage chair Geoff Young & Colwood proposal

Richard Atwell
5:21pm Feb 14

Here's today's CFAX interview talking about newly minted CRD sewage committee chair Geoff Young and the Colwood proposal:

Several callers with really great questions and opinions.



CRD sewage director Herbert on "dealing" with First Nations' burial sites

Richard Atwell
6:00pm Feb 14

John Herbert is the alternate Director at the CRD sewage committee who sits in for Nils Jensen - who doesn't think he needs to sit at the table even when the project cost is $783m plus.

Part of the crazy CRD plan is to dig a trench along Dallas Rd for a 4ft. diameter sewage pipeline which they call a force main because it will be pressurized.

Along the way, many native artifacts are bound to be discovered and the normal practice is to relocated them as close to possible to the location where they were found out of respect.

The City of Victoria is attempting to create a new burial site at Beacon Hill Park for these remains and the CRD will have to find the money for this outside of the sewage project budget which is astounding because they've always known that there is huge potential to discover them.

What you don't do it move these remains elsewhere just for convenience sake. Listen to Director Herbert's solution to Oak Bay's "problem" of discovering remains:


Mayor Nils Jensen needs to yank this guy and either sit at the table himself or send in another Oak Bay councillor.


Check out The RITE Plan Youtube Channel

Frequently updated with the most vital and interesting snippets that show the best and the worst of the CRD's sewage planning process


News stories:

Colwood wants out of capital region’s sewage plan

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Colwood has officially served notice it wants to go it alone on sewage treatment.

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton told the CRD sewage committee Wednesday her municipality wants the Capital Regional District to amend its core area liquid waste management plan to permit Colwood to build its own small-scale tertiary treatment plant by 2016.

The request will be debated by CRD directors next month.

Only about 25 per cent of Colwood residents are on the sewage system, with the rest on septic, so they don’t benefit from the current sewage treatment plan but are being forced to pay for it.

Hamilton said that by building its own plant, the municipality could take a modular approach to sewage treatment — building capacity as it is needed.

“This will create a modular add-on component so we can build as we grow and the costs will stay consistent,” she said.

The preferred location would be under the parking lot at the transit exchange near the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.

Hamilton was reluctant to get into financing details saying there are “proprietary interests” that have to be protected. But she said it is within the municipality’s means.

Ultimately, the costs to the municipality could be about the same as residents would pay for sewage treatment through the CRD, she said.

“As it is now, we’re going to be forced into taxing everybody across the board for a system that, for the next 30 years, they might not even see,” Hamilton said.

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young, chairman of the CRD’s core area liquid waste management committee, said there are a lot of questions about what exactly Colwood is proposing, including the costs and whether it would meet environmental requirements.

Colwood staff say the municipality is planning a facility that would treat sewage to near potable water standards, eliminating the need for a deep-ocean outfall.

“I believe it would be their expectation that they could dispose of treated water either directly into the ocean without a deep outfall or in a creek or stream. I think there is some question about whether or not that would be acceptable,” Young said.

Colwood staff say the municipality would assume all costs and revenues associated with the finance, design, construction, operation, maintenance and future upgrading of the Colwood plant.

Colwood would stop contributing to the core area plant in 2015.

The proposed Colwood plant would maximize recovery and reuse of energy and water. Recycled water from treatment could go into such uses as toilet flushing or irrigation, reducing the need for potable water in some buildings by up to 40 per cent, say Colwood staff.

Colwood’s withdrawal would free up four per cent capacity in the CRD plant, Hamilton said.

Young doubted there would be much in the way of cost savings to the CRD if Colwood withdrew.

“Reducing a plant size by … about four per cent … doesn’t reduce the cost by four per cent. It reduces the cost by a much smaller percentage,” he said.

A previous idea had Colwood partnering with Capital City Centre, a mixed-use retail and a residential development, to provide treatment. But that development is now under creditor protection.

Colwood has been trying for years to get out of the CRD’s $783-million sewage megaproject. Colwood 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.

Meanwhile, CRD directors decided not to explore the possibility of a deadline extension for the region’s sewage treatment project.

Last year, CRD directors mused about asking the province if it would consider pushing back a 2018 deadline for the $783-million project until 2020.

Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto argued the extra two years may not be needed, but there would be little harm in formally asking whether the province would explore the notion of having a bit of a cushion in the event of unavoidable delays or to explore emerging technological options.

CRD directors, who deferred consideration of the idea until this month, decided Wednesday not to make a request to the province at this time.

The project’s next major hurdle will be in Esquimalt, where the rezoning of the treatment plant site goes to a public hearing Tuesday.

The federal and provincial governments have pledged $501.4 million, or two-thirds of the project’s budget.




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aresst advert lo


Comment: It’s time to move on with Seaterra program

FEBRUARY 15, 2014

The wait will soon be over for almost 300,000 Capital Regional District residents and businesses to have their wastewater treated. Soon, we’ll stop dumping an average of 82 million litres of raw sewage into Juan de Fuca Strait every day.

Mr. Floatie will finally be put to rest.

But groups proposing last-minute alternative plans are asking the CRD to press pause, even after nearly a decade of discussion, research and community consultations led to the development of the current plan and $501 million in federal and provincial funding to implement it.

Groups aiming to delay the Seaterra program ignore the time, effort and money that the CRD, local residents, businesses, environmental groups and qualified, professional experts have already put into the planning process. Proposed alternative plans consisting of sketchy “back of the napkin” cost estimates with no supporting details can’t stand up to scrutiny.

The CRD’s Seaterra program is implementing a plan developed by professional engineers, scientists and environmentalists, reviewed and approved by the B.C. Ministry of Environment and its business case vetted by the provincial and federal governments. The approved plan has been nearly a decade in the making and has been informed by numerous consultant reports, a North America-wide peer-review team and more than 160 open houses, public consultation and stakeholder meetings.

The approved approach offers the best value for money. During the planning phases of the project, the CRD board evaluated distributed models for wastewater treatment consisting of four, seven or 11 treatment plants located across the CRD. The 11-treatment-plant option resulted in capital costs of approximately $2 billion with annual operating costs at $33 million, both more than 225 per cent higher than the current plan.

Both a peer-review team and the CRD board decided that a centralized model was the best choice. The detailed analysis of the decentralized approach is available publicly.

The Seaterra program will provide preliminary, primary and secondary wastewater treatment and use proven technology. It will not provide tertiary treatment that produces water fit for non-potable uses, nor will it have its hefty price tag. It will bring the region in line with federal and provincial wastewater treatment regulations and help shed Victoria’s reputation as the last major Canadian city not to treat its wastewater.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in its recently issued report, is incorrect in its calculations concerning Seaterra program costs. The budget is not “nebulous.” The Seaterra program’s $783-million budget includes inflation costs, the construction of the treatment plant, resource recovery centre, pump stations and conveyance-system upgrades. The CTF’s report is erroneous and has added inflation to a budget that already includes inflation.

Money is on the table to support the approved plan for secondary treatment, but it won’t be available forever. Funding commitments from the federal and provincial governments — two-thirds of the program cost — state the approved plan must be implemented by 2018. Right now, the program is on track and on budget, but there is little time to waste.

Wastewater treatment is a basic utility and social responsibility. Our free ride for wastewater treatment — dumping raw sewage into the ocean — is coming to an end. In the coming years, taxpayers in core-area municipalities will pay for wastewater treatment just like taxpayers who use the secondary treatment system in Central Saanich and on Saltspring Island and hundreds of communities across the country.

The Seaterra program will pull resources and nutrients from our wastewater like heat (to supply a district energy system), phosphorus (to produce fertilizer) and biosolids (to generate energy among other beneficial uses). These resources will generate income to offset program costs — the captured biogas alone will be able to heat more than 1,000 homes.

No treatment process — whether it is secondary or tertiary — will remove all the trace contaminants found in household cleaning products, pharmaceuticals and personal-care products put down our drains. Source control — keeping these contaminants out of our wastewater system in the first place — will continue to be paramount.

After years of planning, the Seaterra Program is in the implementation and construction phase. Construction on the Craigflower pump station has already commenced, and community meetings around how best to reduce construction impacts in affected neighbourhoods are ongoing. In a little over four years, the Seaterra program will be in operation and the CRD’s wastewater will be properly managed.

Soon, wastewater will stop being a dirty word and we’ll have a system in place we can all be proud of. Let’s get on with it.

 - Albert Sweetnam is program director of the Seaterra program.




Tertiary treatment would save money (Bickerton)

Victoria News
 Feb 14, 2014

Voters may hold some Capital Regional District directors accountable for the $60 million spent so far on an outdated secondary sewage plant that still does not exist.

In the meantime, the public is learning more about the advantages to tertiary sewage treatment from the RITE Plan.

Time and technology have marched on. For some CRD directors, time has stood still. Seaterra plans a single secondary treatment plant that may cost more than $2 billion when all piping and upgrading is calculated.

The CRD has dismissed the idea of several smaller tertiary plants spread throughout the region, saying it is too costly. Yet a cost/benefit analysis has not been done.

Richard Atwell and MLA Andrew Weaver inform us that tertiary treatment will remove the pharmaceuticals, bacteria-resistant “superbugs,” toxins and plastics that a secondary plant will not.

The tertiary waste water is pure enough to be sold to local farmers and golf courses, can be used to irrigate boulevards and be returned safely to surrounding wetlands.

Colwood now plans to opt out in favour of their own tertiary treatment. Their taxpayers will benefit from resource recovery and recyclable water.

The Seaterra plan has one guarantee: it will be so costly, it will eliminate any new projects far into the Capital Region’s future.  Note to CRD: Watch as Colwood builds its state-of-the-art tertiary plants first, at a fraction of the cost.

Art Bickerton

Company paid for sewage pilot project (Hamilton, Mayor)

FEBRUARY 16, 2014

Re: “Colwood wants out of region’s sewage plan,” Feb. 13.

Thank you for the clear and balanced reporting of Colwood’s request for an amendment to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management plan. However, one important correction must be made in regard to the “sewage treatment pilot project” mentioned in the article.

Colwood did not spend $700,000 on a pilot project. Ledcor spent that amount within our community on the field test of their electro-coagulation system. Colwood agreed to provide a location for the test and spent only about $4,000 on the project.

Ledcor conducted a successful month-long field test and was satisfied with the results. A further field test was done in another community in B.C., and the system is now operational in at least one location in Arizona where it treats special wastes.

The project is one of several that has increased Colwood’s international profile with companies and institutions working on new technologies.

We encourage citizens of the region to review the description of Colwood’s sewage-treatment proposal at www.colwood.ca for answers to Capital Regional District committee chairman Geoff Young’s questions presented in the article. The information there provides full details about the proposal, which describes tertiary wastewater treatment with no ocean outfall, as well as Colwood’s commitment to delivering a sustainable system that will meet and exceed all applicable regulations while bearing all costs, risks and revenues.

Carol Hamilton
Mayor, City of Colwood



Too much sewage uncertainty (Johnson)

Victoria News
Feb 14, 2014
Re: Sewage price tag swells with delay: taxpayers advocate (News, Feb. 7).

Over the years the continued growth in the Capital Regional District has seen a greater amount of (screened) sewage pumped into Strait of Juan de Fuca.

What CRD governance issue could be growing even faster? That would be the cost of the proposed sewage treatment project, from the planning estimate of $783 million to the total submitted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation of $830 million. I’m inclined to believe that, as there’s still no confirmation of the sewage treatment site or (without contracts) cost confirmation of the treatment plant or a biosolids and incinerator facility.

Unfortunately, these new and significantly higher costs follow the earlier troubling promise of $13 million for Esquimalt “amenities” (also known as bribes). This total included costs for such sewage treatment necessities as oceanfront walkways and bike lanes. Clearly we need new options.

There may be good news on the horizon. Of the seven CRD municipalities participating in the sewage project, Colwood is considering withdrawing to build its own system. With one of seven municipalities having publicly announced possible non-participation, odds are that some of the other six are also quietly considering new options.

Time is of the essence as the present project manager himself has confirmed overall project costs are quickly growing.

In any alliance campaign, there are obvious risks if one or more of the allies announce they may withdraw. It’s time for the CRD to reconsider the presently proposed sewage treatment project.

Ron Johnson



Tennis gets better hearing than sewage project (Miller)

Times Colonist
11 Feb 2013

Re: “Saanich nixes clay courts at Cedar Hill,” Feb. 2.

Does anyone else find it strange and unacceptable that we have 12 hours of public hearings about whether Saanich should spend $100,000 on tennis courts, but we have no say about whether we should spend $300 million on a controversial sewage project?

John Miller