March 9, 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
CRD Board Meeting on March 12, 1:30pm
CRD Sewage Meeting on March 12, 9:30am
- Send: in your letters!
CTV News clip of McLoughlin rezoning and Esquimalt's list
The RITE Plan's Youtube Channel
News stories:
Greater Victoria sewage PR to cost $1.6 million
Esquimalt presents long list of sewage questions to CRD
4.4% tax hike too high, mayor says (sewage project a major tax-hike driver)
City of Victoria RFPs for Stormwater Consulting
Doing sewage treatment The RITE way - example
Victoria Harbour deserves more respect (Devitt)
CRD the real culprit in wasting time, money (Ferri)
Esquimalt council simply doing its job (Gilbert)
Esquimalt council doing what it is supposed to do (Henderson)
Democratic process lacking in sewage plans (Hopewell)


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

1. Sewage Treatment and Resource Recovery in Colwood


CRD Board Meeting on March 12, 2014

Notable items on the agenda regarding the Procedures Bylaw 3828:

- Speaking time is now fixed at 4 mins.

I provided this suggestion to CRD a while back as a compromise to allow for fuller expression, provide more certainty and to reduce staff overhead. I think this is a way forward...

- A limit of 15 delegations per meeting.

CRD surveyed other regional districts and came up with a limit of 10 and extended it to this figure. CRD has business to conduct and I've only tried to filibuster one meeting (and did it successfully) but this limit could upset folks especially with health related issues like those in Tanner Ridge.

- All speeches are required in advance.

This make official the request to provide copies of speeches to the clerk but additionally requires them to be submitted ahead of speaking.

If Directors are going to read and respond to concerns, this isn't a bad idea. If it is simple so staff can be "armed in advance" it's not how the checks and balances of a democracy should work.

I'm not actually sure what the deadline for submission is. Perhaps 24 hours...

- Recording devices (video cameras) are to be located in a designated section of the room.

I can probably live with this as it's been in the bylaw for sometimes but the board table takes up most of the room so a shot of people speaking from the back of the head isn't going to be TV friendly. As well, the media prefer to roam around the room...

And what about iPhone cameras? Will you have to leave your seat? Will the seats at the front of the room be removed? Hmm....

NB: All these changes will be effective after the bylaw is passed. The current rules apply for the March 13 meeting.

Page 5 for details and precise wording:


CRD Sewage Meeting on March 12, 2014, 9:30am

Selected agenda items:

2. Go in camera
6. Correspondence
- Letter from Esquimalt asking for lot of answers to a lot of questions that the public hearing generated.
- Letter from CRD Commission (Brenda Eaton) suggesting that CRD ask the Province for arbitration (calling it a "forum").
8. Hartland Community Engagement
- there no rezoning for Hartland AND the decision has already been made so these expensive info sessions will continue. They need to address the broken feedback loop where Directors don't ask for it and CRD staff don't analyze it.
9. Report on the missing ESR for McLoughlin
- there is no date or letters from Ministry's cited by staff to show when the decision to change the ESR to EIS was made. Further, there is no recommendation to remove it from the LWMP which is a contractual document.
10. Colwood Report
- Staff recommend that Colwood be allowed to accelerate their plansto do their own treatment plant.
11. Motion to have Colwood go ahead


- Click here to send letter to Focus


Audio-visual news:

CTV News clip of McLoughlin rezoning and Esquimalt's list

CTV's Stephanie Sherlock covers the state of McLoughlin rezoning and the laundry list of questions that were raised at the public hearing:

Q: what has the CRD done to answer any of the questions collected at previous open houses? Questions similar to the ones coming up now at the Feb public hearing.

Back in July 2010, CRD held who open houses for Esquimalt residents AFTER they sent the sewage plan to Minister Penner for approval. What did they do with the feedback? They compiled all the questions in a summary report September 2010, one month AFTER CRD got approval for the sewage plan.

Those questions from the public paying for the project were left'll find the report here...

...but CRD removed the minutes from the website which I've archived:

"Mr. Orr acknowledged the difficulty of doing public consultation with Esquimalt regarding the McLoughlin Point site while issues in the upper harbour were taking place, which was raised with Committee and Director Desjardins previously. He recognized that this did not make up for the fact that consultation did not take place before a decision was made. Staff hopes to work with Director Desjardins on a better consultation process going forward."

That's on the record.

What about the Mar 2013 Open Houses and visits to the community associations? CRD compiled all the feedback but where is the document that addressed those answers? And herein lies the problem:

CRD Directors do not instruct staff to respond to feedback and CRD staff do not recommend public asks for changes to Directors. Catch-22.

No amount of public meetings or spending on PR can fix that broken process and no CRD Directors voting this boondoggle ahead will acknowledge the process is broken.

It really is rich for Sweetnam in recent days to suggest that CRD has incorporated feedback from the community into bylaw 2805. That was only done when CRD were forced to do it via negotiations mandated by the province.

CRD initially went to the community just so they could tick a checkbox and proceeded to ignored all of the concerns they heard. Where's the report and recommendation for action?

Well, when it was looking like the rezoning wasn't going their way, the CRD Board threw out the RFP of McLoughlin before the Esquimalt Council even had a chance to meet to rezone the property and ran to the Minister for a Section 37 which failed.

CRD had bet the farm of Section 37 of the Environmental Management Act from the start and so having all the community meetings were mere formality.

Now they are being forced to listen to the public and complaining about delays for having to do something they should have done in the first place: address the public concerns.

There seem to be no limit to the CRD's disregard for proper public proces. Combined with a total lack of respect for the taxpayers who are footing the bill, we have to go into this Nov election with CRD reform foremost on our minds.


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


News stories:

Greater Victoria sewage PR to cost $1.6 million

Daniel Palmer
Victoria News
Mar 3, 2014 at 1

A commission of appointed members at the Capital Regional District unanimously approved $1.6 million in communications contracts Friday for the CRD's secondary sewage treatment project, Seaterra.

Acumen Communications Group received a $1.5-million contract for stakeholder and public engagement through 2018. Another $100,000 contract was awarded to Taiji Brand Group to design "Seaterra program education and awareness campaign" paraphernalia, according to a staff report.

"I do feel the products and the work (Acumen) is doing is very important for the community ... and for the success of this project. You can't necessarily have staff in-house doing this work without hiring (more) people," said commission member Pam Elardo at Friday's meeting. Elardo is also director with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, wastewater treatment division in Washington State.

Acumen has billed the CRD approximately $185,000 since May to create a strategic program communications plan and provide ongoing services as requested.

CRD spokesman Andy Orr told the Seaterra commission that the project is no longer in the public consultation phase and that ongoing communications will focus on engagement with affected communities.

"Much of the work we're doing now is really what I'd categorize as engagement. It's not fair to say to the people ... 'you have a choice,' when the decision's been made," Orr told commissioners.

"The public doesn't fully understand that the Seaterra program is actually now in mandation," said Albert Sweetnam, Seaterra project director. "It's now about engagement."

Commissioners also approved a $600,000 archeological contract to Millennia Research to assist with the anticipated excavation of human remains during construction.

Sweetnam said an underground pipeline between Clover Point pumping station and the McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant is expected to uncover significant human remains from ancient Esquimalt and Songhees Nation settlements.

Earlier this year, the City of Victoria approved a First Nations burial ground at Beacon Hill Park for reinterment of human remains.

The seven-member Seaterra program commission is responsible for approving all sewage-related contracts, while cost overruns must be approved by the CRD board.

Original story (as appeared in Feb. 28 edition of Victoria News)

A commission of appointed members at the Capital Regional District is set to approve $1.6 million in communications contracts today (Feb. 28) for the Seaterra program.

CRD staff are recommending Acumen Communications Group receive a $1.5 million contract for stakeholder and public engagement through 2018.

Another $100,000 contract will be awarded to Taiji Brand Group to design and print "Seaterra program education and awareness campaign" paraphernalia, according to a staff report.

Brenda Eaton, chair of the seven-member commission appointed to oversee the Seaterra program, was out of the country and could be reached for comment. Vice chair Colin Earl Smith was unavailable for comment.

Acumen has billed the CRD approximately $185,000 since May to create a strategic program communications plan and provide ongoing services as requested, said Seaterra project director Albert Sweetnam.

Sweetnam was responsible for reviewing and tweaking the communications plan before it was presented to the commission.

"I kept the focus on basically reaching out more to the public and having full engagement with the public during the construction phase," Sweetnam said. "I find a fully informed public is much better to deal with, and the CRD in the past has not been doing enough of this."

The commission is responsible for approving all sewage-related contracts, while cost overruns must be approved by the CRD board.


Esquimalt presents long list of sewage questions to CRD

MARCH 4, 2014 10:03 PM

Esquimalt, already accused of dragging its feet on the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment proposal, is now asking for a raft of new documentation on everything from tsunami walls to super bugs in secondary treatment plants.

Mayor Barb Desjardins says the municipality is simply looking for answers to questions raised at the municipality’s public hearings into the CRD’s proposed sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.

“We’re just looking for more information, and a lot of it is because members of the public have brought forward concerns that we don’t have the information about,” she said.

But Victoria Coun. Geoff Young, chairman of the CRD core area liquid waste management committee, says it’s becoming apparent that the municipality may very well turn down the CRD’s application.

“I have to admit that it does raise the question again of whether the rezoning is likely to be approved and whether we have to start thinking about how we’ll proceed if it’s not,” said Young, adding the CRD expected the rezoning would have been dealt with by now.

Representatives of Seaterra, the civilian commission overseeing the $783-million sewage treatment project, estimate costs are mounting at a rate of $1 million every month the project is delayed.

“I think it is only prudent of us to start thinking about what the options are for proceeding,” Young said.

If Esquimalt were to turn it down, the CRD could appeal to the province to override the decision. The CRD board has said it does not want to make any overtures to the province until Esquimalt’s hearing process is completed, Young said.

Esquimalt is being offered about $13 million in amenities from the CRD should the siting of the $230-million plant on the former oil tank farm be approved.

The amenities include 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 five years to compensate for hosting the unpopular sewage plant. The site is already zoned to allow wastewater treatment, but the CRD is seeking what it characterizes as minor encroachments into a 7.5-metre shoreline buffer.

But the information now being sought by Esquimalt goes far beyond the question of land use. Included in the list: a third-party review of all CRD information in support of a six-metre tsunami wall; a map of the route or possible routes of the biosolids pipeline to the Hartland landfill; maps showing upgraded electrical and water main routes; letters from the Ministry of Health and the chief public health officer commenting on propagation of antibiotic resistant bacteria in secondary treatment plants; and a third-party analysis of costs associated with treating Oak Bay storm water infiltrating into the treatment system.

Esquimalt council held two days of public hearings Feb. 18 and 19 and have scheduled sessions for March 20 and, if needed, March 22. Esquimalt council is not scheduled to make a decision on the application until April 7.

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, vice-chairwoman of the CRD liquid waste committee, said it appears “anyone who’s ever had a beef with the project went out to Esquimalt and listed all their theories” during the public hearings.

“Now we have them coming back to us in a list. It’s not like they are things we haven’t heard before and tried to address,” she said.

Desjardins said her municipality is not trying to delay anything.

“In fact, it was CRD that delayed this process,” Desjardins said. “Had they brought this information forward in the appropriate fashion, then we would not have to ask for it now.”


Doing sewage treatment the RITE way - example

This is totally amazing and a prime example of doing sewage treatment the RITE way.

Here's a $100m USD MBR treatment plant treats 100 Ml/day:

* Location (Korea)

- The first satellite photo shows the site in a dated image.
- The second photo shows the site from a different angle.
- The third photo shows what the site looks like today.

What they have done is convert 1/3 of an old treatment plant into a brand new underground treatment plant and placed a park on top for $100m ($90m was budgeted with $10m of client requested changes according to the construction firm who built it).

- The fourth photo shows what the site will look like in future after they have finished converting the rest of the existing treatment plant.

What they've converted (the park area) is 1.83 ha. By comparison, McLoughlin Pt. is about 1.35 ha.


4.4% tax hike too high, mayor says (sewage project a major tax-hike driver)

Projected CRD increase varies widely for municipalities: directors

Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist
7 Mar 2014

A projected Capital Regional District tax increase of 4.4 per cent is too high and should be pared down, says Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.

“The taxpayers of this region are getting hammered. How do we make that better for them? We are the people that need to be watching that,” she told members of the CRD finance committee this week.

Desjardins said the average 4.4 per cent increase is outside of what municipalities should find acceptable.

“Certainly, all municipalities are trying to hold the line and four [per cent] is from my view above that line that we should be accepting,” she said.

A financial plan overview examined by committee members this week projects an average CRD tax lift of 4.4 per cent — down from an earlier estimate of 4.9 per cent. Key drivers include a $600,000 grant to the Island Corridor Foundation, the $783-million Seaterra sewage treatment program, and a $20-per-household levy for parkland acquisition.

But several directors said the 4.4 per cent figure can be misleading, as the actual amount of the tax increase will vary dramatically from municipality to municipality, depending on which CRD services they participate in. Some municipalities will even see decreases.

Finance committee chairman Frank Leonard said in an interview that the 4.4 per cent figure is an average of the tax requisition in 13 municipalities and three electoral areas in the CRD.

“It’s an average of 16 requisitions, and some of those requisitions — most of them — have charges that municipalities have chosen and only apply to them,” said Leonard, who is also mayor of Saanich.

“So each of the 16 who will be getting requisitions will have their own number; can defend it, explain it, or attack it.”

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said directors need to see how each municipality is affected before deciding if the increase is too high.

“I think you need to see that before we can make a solid judgment on whether 4.4 per cent is too high or not,” Ranns said.

Central Saanich Mayor Alastair Bryson, who is also chairman of the CRD, agreed.

“It’s always difficult when you’re looking at the global percentages because the impacts on individual municipalities vary greatly in this particular budget — as they probably do in most years — depending on the services and programs the municipalities participate in,” Bryson said.

“So I think each municipality does have to look at those figures individually and explain that to their relative bodies.”

Committee member and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice said she would be “alarmed” if the public was given the impression that everyone was facing a CRD tax hike of 4.4 per cent given the variations from municipality to municipality and the fact that the increase may be much smaller in some communities.

CRD general manager of corporate services Diana Lokken said the average increase, excluding electoral areas, is closer to 3.2 per cent.

Desjardins said she understands that, adding Esquimalt’s CRD increase is likely to be in the 19 per cent range due to sewage treatment costs and the CRD should look at ways of “pulling back.”

“What I’m saying … is we have a significant increase again, and I have concerns about it,” she said.

“So the more detail we put into this and the more understanding we have, the better it is as it goes forward.”

- No web address yet - appears only in GVPL's Digital Reader edition of Times Colonist


City of Victoria RFPs for Stormwater Consulting

"The City of Victoria is requesting proposals from qualified consultants/consulting firms for the creation of high-level case studies assessing the feasibility, effectiveness and costs of rainwater management techniques included in the Stormwater Utility Rainwater Credit Program."






Victoria Harbour deserves more respect (Devitt)

MARCH 5, 2014

The Knowledge Network recently aired a program called Canada on the Edge, which focused on our rich ocean foreshore and history.

The program travelled by helicopter from Carmanah Light down to Sheringham, Race Rocks, Esquimalt and Victoria Harbour around to Butchart Gardens, Saltspring Island and the Gulf Islands. It included interviews at various places on the ground about our marine and military history, as well as several of our marine parks and Butchart Gardens. It also acknowledged our native heritage.

We were struck by the awesome beauty of our place and thought those in the rest of Canada would feel the same.

The program spent several minutes over Victoria Harbour. The western gateway to Canada and a southern gateway to our capital city and province, the harbour visually did not match our natural blessings shown. It needs more love and care than we have provided up to now.

We must be absolutely uncaring to even contemplate locating an industrial wastewater treatment plant at the entrance to our harbour. Such mistreatment of place, history and importance will become a major embarrassment to us as a capital city and to our province.

Our concern is the harbour, not sewage treatment — the site location is wrong.

Our harbour deserves better care, love and respect.

Celia and Bruce Devitt


CRD the real culprit in wasting time, money (Ferri)

MARCH 8, 2014

Re: “Esquimalt presents list of sewage questions to CRD,” March 5.

Although Esquimalt is portrayed as foot-dragging on the rezoning of McLoughlin Point for sewage treatment, it is simply carrying out the due diligence that should have been undertaken by the Capital Regional District in its application for rezoning.

Examining the actual timelines paints a different story. Amendment 8 to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, which picked the current architecture and location, was submitted in June 2010. Yet the CRD waited almost three years before asking Esquimalt to rezone McLoughlin Point in January 2013. The CRD then issued the request for proposals for construction of the plant mere days before Esquimalt’s public hearing for the rezoning in July 2013. Why would the CRD not consider the implications of a rezoning process? Why would the proponents bidding not be told they would have to conform to Esquimalt’s bylaw?

The current rezoning and public-consultation process is required only because the CRD again does not plan to meet Esquimalt’s rezoning bylaw. This has added a mere few months to the timelines. Compare that to the implications of the CRD-induced three-year planning pause.

The cost of the current sewage plan was set in 2010 at $783 million. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation recently estimated that inflation alone will add $48 million to the cost. That means the CRD planning pause equates to about $1.5 million per month of cost overruns.

It’s clear the CRD is the real culprit in wasted time and money.

Filippo Ferri


Esquimalt council simply doing its job (Gilbert)

MARCH 8, 2014

Re: “Esquimalt presents list of sewage questions to CRD,” March 5.

Most of Esquimalt's questions are related to public safety. Esquimalt council is doing its due diligence. The Capital Regional District should have provided this information in the first place.

The report the CRD provided to Esquimalt regarding tsunamis says that it is not to be used for infrastructure planning and that the CRD will not be liable if anyone uses that report for such planning. The CRD knowingly gave Esquimalt a report that cannot be used.

According to provincial guidelines, the six-metre sea wall is not adequate — such long-term infrastructure needs to be 7.2 metres above sea level and 15 metres back from high water. The CRD has not provided adequate information to justify its claims of one metre above and two metres back.

The concern about superbugs is also a public safety issue. The factory at McLoughlin may be a breeding ground for these. Any accident would be significant in our harbour.

Many of the “amenities” cited are normal for a developer when seeking significant variation. Look at the work around the Hillside Mall. The question about the biosolids pipe is attempting to get an answer from the CRD. It has known for five years a pipe is needed. Where will it go? If the pipe is along streets then those streets will be rebuilt and the “million-dollar bike path” is actually normal road rebuilding.

The CRD has known it needed rezoning since 2009, so it is the CRD's fault it brought this request forward at the last minute.

Bryan Gilbert


Esquimalt council doing what it is supposed to do (Henderson)

MARCH 8, 2014

Re: “Esquimalt presents list of sewage questions to CRD,” March 5.

Forty people showed up at the Capital Regional District/Seaterra open houses. Four hundred, however, from across the CRD, showed up at Esquimalt’s public hearings on the rezoning of McLoughlin Point for a sewage plant.

Albert Sweetnam of Seaterra monopolized Day 2 of the hearings with a rant of almost an hour, forcing a third date as not all speakers (permitted about five minutes each) could be heard.

Since this is really the only time CRD residents have had anything approaching the due process of public consultation on this issue, valid and well-researched concerns were raised by informed taxpaying citizens. The CRD is “engaging” the public through costly propaganda. Esquimalt council is doing what all our elected councils should be doing. This is how it’s supposed to work.

Had the CRD followed its own requirements for this process, we might be spared the often ludicrous posturing by Geoff Young, Denise Blackwell, Dean Fortin, Sweetnam, Jack Hull and Judy Brownoff in support of a very flawed proposal.

Halt the project, lay off the costly consultants, go back and consult the public. Then move forward with social licence and a better plan.

Marsha Henderson


Democratic process lacking in sewage plans (Hopewell)

MARCH 9, 2014

Re: “Esquimalt presents list of sewage questions to CRD,” March 5.

Esquimalt council is following a democratic process in conducting public hearings on the rezoning of McLoughlin Point and this takes time. The Capital Regional District has had years of opportunities to present its case publicly in Esquimalt and has chosen not to.

Until the public hearings began, there had been a total lack of democratic process by the CRD in its relationship with Esquimalt residents. In fact, I believe only one of the CRD supporters of the project has appeared at a public event on the topic in Esquimalt. Let’s hope Esquimalt council hears what the public is saying and acts accordingly.

Part of the problem is that most of us don’t elect the CRD representatives, and their accountability to us is tenuous. Let’s get the amalgamation question on all municipal ballots in the CRD this November so that we can begin the process of eliminating the CRD and finally having a democratic system in our capital.

John Hopewell