February 23, 2014

Sign: petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan
Review and prepare: CRD Presentation from Esquimalt Hearing
- Review and prepare: Colwood sewage plant proposal and motion
- Send: in your letters!
- How it went: boat tour

CTV pre-Esquimalt Hearing clip
CHEK coverage Esquimalt hearing 1
CTV news clip on Esquimalt hearing II
CTV news clip - CRD chair Alastair Bryson
CFAX Geoff Young
Video: McLoughlin Public Hearing Video Day 2
- SWEETERA speech Esquimalt Hearing II
The RITE Plan's Youtube video channel

News stories:
Flyover: 3-D Model of a Wastewater Treatment Plant at McLoughlin Point
Sewage plan gets public airing in Esquimalt
Another hearing needed for McLoughlin Point
Esquimalt delays sewage site vote for another round of public input
Mayor Ranns' unpublished editorial

CRD heavy-handed with sewage plan (Brown)
- Sewage commentary almost convincing (Ferguson)
Many uncertainties on treatment (Langley)
Sewage costs seem out of line (Palmer)
Sewage cost covers more than the plant (Sweetnam)
Colwood has better sewage ideas (Witter)



Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan

The communities have created a petition that we are sponsoring:


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


Review and prepare: CRD Presentation at Esquimalt Hearing


Review and prepare: Colwood sewage plant proposal and motion

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



How it went - boat tour

Deborah Dickson
5:52pm Feb 16

It was an interesting day aboard the Orca Spirit. One thing to note, aside from the obvious, which is the site is to small - is the number of Elected Representatives that were not on board. Mayor Desjardins and Geoff Young ... where were our Saanich representatives? 

This is not acceptable. 

Very disappointed that all municipalities in the Region were not represented on board today, excluding Colwood. Not one took the initiative to see things from a new perspective. Not one from Saanich. 


Boat tour participants Esquimalt Councillors Meagan Brame and Bob McKie with Mayor Barb Desjardins


McLoughlin Boat Tour - video

We toured McLoughlin Point by boat courtesy of CRD who chartered a vessel from Orca Spirit Adventures. Esquimalt council suggested a tour by boat would be a good idea so the public can help visualize how the site will change after construction of the proposed sewage plant.

While the CRD cannot disclose more than simple drawings, it is clear that this plant is going to have a substantial impact on Esquimalt's saltwater shoreline and the harbour entrance.


The site has been marked with paint by a surveyor to show the setbacks from the waterline which have been a bone of contention between CRD and Esquimalt.

Esquimalt set them to 7.5m in the 2806 bylaw passed July 15, 2013 when the CRD insisted on zero setbacks from the high water mark.

Orange: High water mark
Pink: 1m setbacks
Blue: 7.5m setbacks

CRD and Esquimalt eventually negotiated a 7.5m setback but CRD Directors overruled their own staff and insisted on 1m setbacks two months ago so that was additionally marked on the site.

The 2805 bylaw under consideration is now geared towards 7.5m setbacks which the CRD says it will have to encroach upon in order to build one of 3 plant designs under consideration. Designs that were started BEFORE CRD has secured rezoning rights. Bad idea!

The most astonishing thing we saw today were green marks painted on a concrete wall by the surveyor indicating how the site will be levelled before construction begins on the above surface structures.

Green: ground level

The only CRD Directors on the cruise today were Mayor Desjardins and CRD Sewage Committee Chair Geoff Young. Accompanying them were some of the Esquimalt councillors.

The other nine at CRD from Victoria, Saanich and Langford)who keep pushing this plan were too busy to attend just as they were too busy to tour the Viewfield neighbourhood ahead of the that ill-fated purchase...


Audio-visual news:

CTV pre-Esquimalt Hearing clip

Richard Atwell12:28pm Feb 19
CTV coverage from last night anticipating the McLoughlin public hearing in Esquimalt:



CHEK coverage from the first day of the McLoughlin Public Hearings:


CTV news clip on Esquimalt hearing II

Shellie MacDonald
20 Feb

Here are the fine folks having their say. And that nasty bit that Mayor Desjardins brought up at the beginning of the meeting regarding a pre-emptive call to the province by the CRD. Someone is not understanding that the onus is on the Sea Terra program to provide a plan that is within the context of the Esquimalt OCP and following the policies set out by the community for rezoning processes. 


CTV news clip - CRD chair Alastair Bryson

Media shy CRD Chair Alastair Bryson appears to blow off CTV at the end of the first night of the public hearings.

There's more to being chair of the CRD than chairing meetings. Where is the political representation? We largely hear from Sweetnam and no one elected him.

When is Bryson going to engage the media or has he been asked not to?


Geoff Young was on CFAX today talking sewage with Frank Stanford who was filling in for Ian Jessop who has the week off. http://theriteplan.ca/media/140220_CFAX_Geoff_Young.m4a
Talk of amenities in the first half of the show. In the second half, Young comments on his observations that Esquimalt council will have difficulty approving the bylaw. Young calls the amenities package "generous to a fault."

Video: McLoughlin Public Hearing Video Day 2

Sweetnam says there will be no chemicals used at the McLoughlin Plant's Primary Treatment unit handling wet weather flow but then he goes on the state a short time later that the plant will be providing enhancement primary treatment (EPT). Does EPT imply chemicals or does it have to be CEPT where the C means chemicals?


Richard Atwell
23 February

Here is the Sweetera speech from the "secondary" day of the McLoughlin Public Hearings when he addressed the public's speeches from the day before:
Council can make up their own minds and do their own independent research. They don't need CRD to tell them what the public says is right or wrong. This is somewhat disrespectful unless council has asked this of the applicant and has questions. In this speech there was a statement from CRD and a single question from Lynda Hundleby came later. I've never been to a public hearing anything like this before...


The RITE Plan's 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 http://www.youtube.com/user/theriteplan


News stories:

Flyover: 3-D Model of a Wastewater Treatment Plant at McLoughlin Point


Sewage plan gets public airing in Esquimalt

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

A planned two days of public hearings into the controversial proposal to rezone McLoughlin Point for a sewage treatment plant got underway with an overflow house at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre Tuesday evening.

This is the second time the Capital Regional District has sought approval from the municipality to locate a sewage treatment plant on the former oil-tank farm at the entrance to the Inner Harbour. Following hearings last summer Esquimalt councillors rejected the CRD’s application arguing the offered $1 million amenity package that included upgrades to electrical and firefighting services, a public walkway and road and bike-lane improvements wasn’t enough.

Instead, council passed its own alternate bylaw that would allow the CRD to build at McLoughlin only if the regional government offered more amenities, barged all construction material to the site to avoid traffic and safety problems and paid $55,000 a year into an amenity fund.

After months of negotiation, that’s pretty much what is now on the table.

Esquimalt is being offered more than $13-million in amenities should the siting of the $230-million plant be approved, including oceanfront walkways, a million-dollar bike and path system on Lyall Street, public art, bike lanes, road improvements and $55,000 a year for at least fiveyears to compensate hosting the unpopular sewage plant. The CRD also has agreed to barge materials to and from the site rather than use trucks, at a cost pegged at a reported $2.3 million, in order to save wear and tear on Esquimalt Roads.

The site is already zoned to allow for treatment of waste water but in order to bring the project in on budget the CRD is seeking what it calls minor (a maximum of four per cent) encroachments into a 7.5 metre site buffer from the shoreline.

Project director Albert Sweetnam said heading into the hearing that he was optimistic about the eventual outcome.

“I’m optimistic because when you actually do a side by side comparison of their bylaw with what we are proposing you can see clearly that we provided them with almost everything. The remaining issue is around the setbacks and it’s a very minor issue. So we feel that we should be able to get approval," he said.

“If it’s a fair playing field I would say we should get approval.”

Mayor Barb Desjardins said prior to the start of the hearing that approval is anything but a sure thing.

“It’s never a slam dunk when you’ve got a public hearing and you need to hear from the public,” Desjardins said.

“We need to hear what their concerns are. We need to understand what is being asked of us and how does that fit with the community. And that’s ultimately what we’re listening for: Does the community feel that this is a benefit to them,” she said.

Early in the hearing speakers opposed to approval were overwhelmingly outnumbering those in favour.

The rezoning is one of the last hurdles to be cleared before contracts are signed and construction begins on the $783 million sewage treatment megaproject which includes the plant at McLoughlin Point and a sludge facility at Hartland Landfill.

The hearing was still underway at deadline. Esquimalt had scheduled two days for the hearing which is scheduled to continue Wednesday night. Desjardins said as many nights of hearings will be held as is necessary. Council is slated to make a decision on the application Feb. 24.

Should Esquimalt vote against the plant the province could step in force the plant onto McLoughlin on the CRD’s terms.



Another hearing needed for McLoughlin Point

February 19, 2014 10:57

Night two of the public hearings regarding the rezoning application
for the proposed sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point was held
last night, and the decision doesn't seem any closer.

The heavy turnout at the Esquimalt Rec Centre meant that not everyone
was heard, therefore another night of hearings will be needed.

It also means that Esquimalt Council will not have a chance to vote on
Monday Februrary 24th as they had planned, since the third hearing
cannot be held Thursday or Friday night.

The Township of Esquimalt is being offered more than $13 million
dollars worth of amenities to counteract the controversial siting of
the facility.



Esquimalt delays sewage site vote for another round of public input

Daniel Palmer
Victoria News
updated Feb 20, 2014 at 11:05 AM

The eyes of the Capital Region are on the small township of Esquimalt this week, as councillors continue to weigh a decision that will shape the outcome of the Capital Regional District's $830-million sewage treatment project.

More than 400 Greater Victoria residents packed the Esquimalt Recreation Centre gymnasium Tuesday, and a smaller crowd arrived Wednesday, to listen and offer opinion on a wastewater treatment plant slated for McLoughlin Point. A third evening for public input is now being scheduled due to demand.

The CRD needs Esquimalt to approve a rezoning bylaw in order to proceed with construction at McLoughlin this summer. Dozens of speakers addressed council this week, while only one person spoke in support of the project Tuesday night.

"Thank you for recognizing that this is a regional issue," said Marsha Henderson, a Saanich resident, echoing praise of several speakers from outside the municipality. "Your names will be associated with the project for good, but I (would) applaud the courage to go against this."

Speakers criticized McLoughlin Point as too small for the wastewater facility, while others said the CRD's tsunami modelling and weather behaviour data for the site is unreliable. Others were concerned the CRD hasn't yet defined a route for a sewage sludge pipeline between McLoughlin and the Hartland landfill, arguably the most disruptive feature of the overall project.

Esquimalt rejected a similar application last year, but this time the CRD is offering about $13 million in mitigating features, including funding for pedestrian and cycling pathways, roadway redevelopment and a $55,000 annual cash payment for five years.

"The amenities for Esquimalt will only be achieved through this rezoning," Mayor Barb Desjardins reminded the packed room Tuesday.

Some at the meeting argued any developer needs to provide amenities when seeking approval for a major project, and the CRD's mitigation package shouldn't be mistaken for special treatment.

Should council turn down the current application, the provincial government could ultimately force through the project and ignore the township's demands.

Yet some MLAs, including Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, have suggested the project's 2018 deadline should be delayed to review newer and more efficient sewage treatment technology.

Esquimalt council was meant to issue its judgment Monday night (Feb. 24), but council decided late Wednesday to schedule a third public hearing, as many speakers indicated their interest in addressing council a second time.

"I really want to thank all the people who are so interested, who took two nights off out of their lives and potentially haven't even gotten to speak," Desjardins said. "Yet they keep coming out because it's very important to them. So we want to respect that."

Staff haven't set the third public hearing date nor could Desjardins say when council will ultimately vote on the McLoughlin application.

The CRD has stressed any delay to the project will inevitably result in cost overruns for the current project. Construction of the wastewater treatment plant is meant to begin this summer.



Mayor Ranns' unpublished editorial

An editorial written by the Mayor of Metchosin to the major newspapers. He received no responses and no publication. 

Guest Editorial from John Ranns 
November 2013

What I find most disturbing about BC Hydro’s forced imposition of smart meters is how readily politicians of all parties have abandoned fundamental principles of a free society in order to accommodate bureaucratic expediency. Individual freedom demands that government has boundaries. As far back as the 1600s the concept that individuals need sanctuary from government was established in British Common Law ( still applicable in British Columbia) clearly stating that your home is your castle and the sovereign will not cross your threshold without following due process. Except now they have. In one stroke the Province is saying that lawful citizens no longer have a choice in what enters or leaves their homes.

Although debate has been carefully steered to encompass technical arguments and ignore principle there are two facts about smart meters which cannot be denied. They emit radiation into your house and, when Hydro chooses, they will gather and disseminate personal information which previously would have required a court order. 

Whether the radiation is harmful or ultimately proves to be safe is not the point. What is critical to the issue is that many people believe it to be harmful and now their sanctuary along with their peace of mind is denied them. . Nor does it matter how little you may care what government, corporations and hackers know about what you do in your home, What matters is that the safeguards protecting others who do care must remain in place..

And forget the argument that they are free to go somewhere else. In our current economy most people in this province who have a job and a mortgage have no choice but to stay where they are and do what BC Hydro dictates. For populated areas supplied electricity has become more essential to life than supplied water. Urban regulations will not permit alternative sources and those who could legally go off the grid can rarely afford the expense. BC Hydro is a government established monopoly so there are no competitors to turn to for service provision. Under these circumstances the only protection an individual has are our elected representatives. Except in this case, regardless of party, they have determined that what is good for business is more important than long established individual rights.

Recently, politicians of all description prominently displayed poppies and paid homage to the sacrifices made by previous generations who understood that to maintain a free system over time it is necessary for certain principles to be inviolate. Government must conform to the principle rather than change the principle to accommodate the wishes of whoever happens to be in power. It is why we have Constitutions. Unfortunately many politicians these days don’t seem to think that way. They do not recognize that our jobs are not only to represent our electorate, majority and minority, but also to serve as guardians of the free system. Sadly we seem all too willing to thoughtlessly forfeit our freedom for the latest of fleeting conveniences that our runaway technology may provide.

John Ranns 
Mayor, District of Metchosin



CRD heavy-handed with sewage plan (Brown)

FEBRUARY 22, 2014

Re: “Sewage plan gets public airing in Esquimalt,” Feb. 19.

The Capital Regional District is once again using a heavy-handed approach to force through its flawed sewage plan and save face. Otherwise, why would the CRD approach the provincial government in the midst of a public hearing?

The Seaterra Program provides only basic sewage treatment, while threatening our community with inappropriate use of prime waterfront, unlimited cost risks for the taxpayers and negligible environmental benefits.

The CRD has recklessly escalated costs with their fast-forward approach, limiting project design choices, refusing independent project assessment and jumping into land procurement, hiring and contracts before solidifying project plans and approval processes. Such poor project management does little to instil confidence in Seaterra’s ability to control costs.

More frightening still, a large, centralized sewage plant lacks the flexibility of a more modular design.

If Seaterra is allowed to start building at McLoughlin Point, the project quickly becomes too big to fail no matter what the costs.

This plant is a bad investment and does not provide value for money spent. I willingly admit that I am angry about this plant and the CRD process around it. It has left me feeling disenfranchised.

A bulky, flawed sewage project at the harbour entrance could become a very visible, long-lasting, public embarrassment for the community, the region and the province.

Norma Brown



Sewage commentary almost convincing (Ferguson)

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Re: “It’s time to move on with Seaterra program,” comment, Feb. 15.

That was a well-written commentary. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost be convinced that we should all mortgage our future to save ourselves from the environmental emergency that our wastewater is creating.

The war of words is on as Seaterra (a fancy word for Capital Regional District Wastewater Management, since they’ve lost the public’s trust) now needs to defend itself from the rising public outcry over this poorly planned, substandard fiasco.

Remember, the man who wrote this is being paid $290,000 a year in your tax dollars for one purpose: to get the shovels in the ground and make this happen whether we need it or not.

Dave Ferguson



Many uncertainties on treatment (Langley)

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Re: “It’s time to move on with Seaterra program,” comment, Feb. 15.

Albert Sweetnam highlights the negative effects of local groups aiming to dismantle or delay the Seaterra program. However, there are concerned citizens like me who do not wish to obstruct the program but will continue to question the components of the current treatment plan.

Sweetnam notes that the independent peer-review team identified a centralized model as the best choice. In fact, they recommended a single combined treatment and biosolids disposal plant site. They did not endorse the current 18-kilometres-separated McLoughlin/Hartland scheme.

The peer-review team also recommended against incorporating resource-recovery elements into the implemented treatment plan, pointing out that additional public costs would be inevitable and that revenues could not be counted on without signed customer contracts. Does Seaterra have a contract to supply 1,000 homes with biogas heating that ensures future revenues exceeding taxpayer costs?

Legislation for the wastewater commission mandates committed public consultation plans. The “strategic communications plan” now being adopted by Seaterra for the next four years slides around the legislation and does not even mention public consultation.

If Sweetnam and the commission have their way, future public involvement could be reduced to items like colour schemes for new pump stations.

Back in August 2013, a Times Colonist editorial headline said: “Keep close eye on sewage plans.” True then and even more true in the months ahead. Many uncertainties regarding taxpayer costs and risks and community impacts are yet to be addressed.

David Langley



Sewage costs seem out of line (Palmer)

FEBRUARY 19, 2014

Re: “It’s time to move on with Seaterra program,” comment, Feb. 15.

I am happy that wastewater treatment is finally coming to fruition in Victoria. The rest of the province was not so fortunate as to be allowed to defer this enormous expense.

I was particularly interested in the scope of the Seaterra program and the projected cost estimate, which I find to be grossly excessive at $783 million.

As the special-projects manager at the Western Pulp mill in Port Alice, I was involved in the design, construction, start-up and operation of the mandated wastewater treatment plant. The process choice and design criteria were produced by Novatec Consultants of Vancouver, and the construction and supervision were performed by Industra Inc. of Seattle.

The plant was designed to process 136 million litres per day with a load equivalent to a municipality of 1.3 million people. The cost estimate in 1994 was $65 million, and the final cost was substantially below that when it started up in 1995.

Unless the extra costs are for new collection and pumping facilities and a gas collection, compression and distribution system, I believe the estimated costs to be severely out of line. I would want at least a second opinion. I can’t believe costs have increased more than 10-fold in 19 years.

Ron Palmer



Sewage cost covers more than the plant (Sweetnam)

FEBRUARY 21, 2014

Re: “Sewage costs seem out of line,” letter, Feb. 19.

The letter-writer suggested that to spend $783 million on a treatment plant is too high, and we would have to agree. In fact, the cost of the Seaterra Program includes the cost to build a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, a resource recovery centre at Hartland landfill, conveyance pipes, pump stations and storage facilities throughout the region (nine separate projects) and includes inflation.

In total, there are 11 different major construction projects that are covered as part of the overall budget — not just one treatment plant. The Capital Regional District has chosen to build a wastewater treatment system using proven technology that is cost-effective to the taxpayer and environmentally responsible — and has secured the funding from the federal and provincial governments to do so.

We look forward to providing a complete system so that residents of the CRD will no longer be dumping raw sewage into the ocean. That’s something we can all be proud of.

Albert Sweetnam
Program director
CRD Seaterra Program


Colwood has better sewage ideas (Witter)

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Colwood has asked permission to leave the Capital Regional District sewage plan because they know a more innovative approach to wastewater treatment involving a higher level of treatment can be done for a fraction of the cost.

Their proposal was shaped by qualified and professional engineers, scientists and environmentalists. None of this “back of the napkin” stuff for them.

They have actual cost estimates backed by supporting details that can stand up to scrutiny.

What is the CRD to do?

Carole Witter