May 17, 2015

Potential west-side sewage-treatment sites identified
CRD Business Owners Petition To Quash Seaterra
40 sites identified for Victoria-area sewage treatment plant
Potential sewage-plant sites are all over the map
List of potential sewage sites gets early thumbs up from former opponent
Frank Stanford thinking Ogden Point
Oak Bay parks feasible sewage treatment sites
- Raeside cartoon - the movable sewage plant...

We should be saving up for sewage treatment (DeRoy)
Spend money fighting federal sewage rules (Ferguson)


Potential west-side sewage-treatment sites identified

MAY 6, 2015

At least 20 potential sewage-treatment sites in the West Shore communities of Colwood, Langford, View Royal and Esquimalt have been identified.

Compiled by the Westside Solutions technical committee, the sites were selected based on their size and proximity to trunk lines, potential outfalls, neighbourhoods and developments that could take advantage of resource-recovery opportunities.

The next step will be to determine which sites are truly feasible through a series of public roundtables today, May 9 and May 13, said Esquimalt Mayor and Westside Solutions co-chair Barb Desjardins.

“There’s absolutely no point in bringing forward 20 possibilities if they are not real possibilities,” Desjardins said.

The committee reached a number of preliminary conclusions, including:

• There’s at least one site in each of the municipalities that could accommodate that municipality’s sewage.

• Some of the sites are large enough to handle sewage flows from all of the West Shore communities as well as flows from both Victoria and Saanich that currently go into the Macaulay outfall through the northwest trunk.

• Several of the sites are large enough to process biosolids in addition to sewage treatment.

While the sites have the support of the respective municipal councils based on technical feasibility, “the municipalities cannot and do not guarantee successful rezoning of the sites and do not recommend any of these sites in particular,” the report says.

The committee notes that results of public surveys during open houses show a significant concern for high environmental standards, “but sometimes concern for the environment tends to fall off rapidly if the costs are too high.”

Asked to rank important features of treatment, those surveyed ranked removal of harmful materials at the bottom, while ensuring the facility was hidden and had no odour ranked at the top.

Desjardins said the findings are no surprise. “When people think of the word sewage, the two things [they think] are: ‘Uck. I don’t want to see it and I don’t want to smell it.’ ”

The locations of the potential sites won’t be released because many of them are privately owned. A joint west-side/east-side presentation of site options is tentatively planned for June.


CRD Business Owners Petition To Quash Seaterra

Letter from business owners to quash Seaterra will be item 6 on Wednesday'sCALWMC meeting. This pdf file is 11 MB in size, with a lot of that taken up by high-resolution images of the petition signature list. 

Capital Region District
625 Fisgard Street
Victoria B.C. V8W 1R7
Attention: Lisa Helps, CALWMC Chair
Re: Seaterra and CRD Issues

Dear Chair Helps,

We, the undersigned, are a group of concerned business owners from the Capital Region District. The reason for our concern is both past and recent developments regarding the Seaterra program and CRD staff.

In its relatively short history, the name Seaterra has already become synonymous with the high cost of bypassing meaningful public consultation. The project’s track record of questionable expenditures, ill advised land acquisitions and in camera decisions is already well documented. Thankfully the program was paused last year. However, in the intervening months, both Seaterra management and CRD staff
have seemed unable to adapt to the region’s new direction regarding sewage treatment.

As recently as the last Core Area meeting (April 8), directors found out that the Seaterra Commission was still meeting, via conference call, without reporting minutes and that the winning bid on the McLoughlin RFP was being extended without the committee’s input. At this point, it would seem management is either unaware of or unwilling to meet the mandated level of transparency. Regardless of the project’s status, this kind of backroom operating is just simply no longer acceptable.

Far more worrisome is the apparent cross-pollination between the project, the contracted engineering consultant and CRD staff. What has been a brewing problem within the CRD for years has finally boiled over into a palpable distrust. Suspicions that staff and consultants are attempting to steer the process towards a predetermined outcome threaten to undermine both the efforts of the Select Committees and the integrity of the CRD itself. The CALWMC’s refusal to accept a staff report on February 18th serves as a public confirmation of the conflict.

In the six months since the municipal election, itself a de facto referendum on Seaterra, considerable progress has been made in regards to creating an open and accountable process through the Select Committees. However, if a majority of CALWMC directors feel there has been any attempt by CRD staff or project management to interfere with or obfuscate the process currently underway, further action must be taken. It is certainly understandable to want to spare real people the embarrassment that can come with accountability, but any further accommodation would surely risk undoing the gains made by voters on November 15th.

As a group of business owners with a considerable stake in sewage treatment, we’d like to express our support for any democratic means necessary, including a nonconfidence vote, to bring a positive resolution to this situation. With tens of millions in unrecoverable costs, the Seaterra Program has already left an expensive and embarrassing legacy for the region’s taxpayers. We know that the CALWMC is far from
unanimous in its feelings towards the project and the Select Committees. However, we encourage the new chair and the progressive voices within to bring a definitive end to Seaterra and any related dysfunction within the CRD.

Yours Sincerely,
signatures attached

CC: Mayor Nils Jensen, CRD Board Chair
All CALWMC Directors and Alternates

40 sites identified for Victoria-area sewage treatment plant

April Lawrenceon
May 12, 2015

“If everyone says; not in my backyard, we’re never going to get anywhere. This is the 21st century.
Potential sewage-plant sites are all over the map

MAY 12, 2015

Beacon Hill Park, Ogden Point and Rock Bay are among 40 potential sites for a sewage-treatment facility on the east side of the capital region.

The Eastside Select Committee — a Capital Regional District sewage-treatment subcommittee representing Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich — released a map Tuesday showing public and private properties that have been identified as “technically feasible.”

Other potential sites include Banfield Park, Barnard Park, Royal Athletic Park, Windsor Park, Saanich Public Works, Henderson Park and private properties in the Gordon Head-Cadboro Bay and Tillicum south areas.

“In past iterations of this project, sites were purchased behind closed doors, then released to the public,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “Sites were chosen, then — some would argue — thrust on the public. We’ve learned our lesson.”

Each of the member municipalities proposed sites within its boundaries for public consultation. The committee expects to select a site or sites by the end of June.

Some sites are small and could host smaller plants as part of a network of facilities, while others are large enough to serve a much bigger area.

Private properties have not been publicly identified, but their general locations are on the map. More information about the sites will be available next week, Helps said.

The committee will host public discussions at the University of Victoria’s Cadboro Commons building on May 30 at 10 a.m. and at the Victoria Conference Centre on May 31 at 10 a.m. The committee hopes to present results at a workshop June 10 and whittle down options to about eight.

Then, the committee hopes to pool its options with those identified by Westside Solutions, a parallel group representing Colwood, Esquimalt, View Royal, Langford and the Songhees Nation.

Westside Solutions has identified 20 potential sites, but has not made them public.

Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said the region has already presented a list of options, only to have its final choice rejected by the neighbourhood.

It took four years for the Capital Regional District to settle on Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point as a site for a regional plant, but the plan went off the rails last year when Esquimalt refused to rezone the site and the province declined to overturn the decision.

“It’s a very tough road ahead for the eastside sewage committee and they may start some dialogue, but it’s not dialogue they haven’t had in the past,” Carter said.

Some options seem unrealistic, he said. Would a facility at Ogden Point compromise the cruise-ship industry? Would the coast guard have to be evicted if a plant moved in?

“For all that they are technically feasible, I don’t know which ones of those are politically palatable,” Carter said.

Rob Wickson, president of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association, said the CRD should consult directly with potential host communities.

“They want to consult us by asking us to come out to see them. They need to come see us,” Wickson said. “They’re trying to stuff it into a neighbourhood without talking to the people who live there.”

The CRD’s sewage-treatment project has a budget of $788 million; the federal and provincial governments are to contribute two-thirds of the cost, and the remainder would come from local taxpayers.

If strict deadlines are not met, the CRD risks losing federal and provincial funding.

Helps has said a site needs to be selected and zoning completed by December, with final approval by March 2016. But she said funding isn’t her only incentive to meet deadlines.

“We’ve talked about this project for 20 years or more. If we can prove to ourselves that we can actually do something on sewage, then the world is our oyster. If we can do this, we can do anything.”

List of potential sewage sites gets early thumbs up from former opponent
Ryan Price
CFAX 1070
May 13, 2015 05:10
A group that fought against the last sewage treatment plan at McLoughlin Point is encouraged by the list of new potential sites revealed Tuesday.
Those locations included Beacon Hill Park; Royal Athletic Park; Windsor Park in Oak Bay, and Ogden Point just to name a few.
Bryan Gilbert is with the RITE Plan action group. He told C-FAX 1070's Terry Moore that having treatment plants in central locations could actually be a good thing, if you're building several small, high tech plants.
Gilbert thinks that’s the direction we're heading, judging by how close to the public these locations are. "That indicates an appetite to consider very high standards of environmental and social benefit... to put them so close to people. And that's what the RITE Plan has been looking for, for a long time."
Gilbert also adds the process of choosing these sites has been better this time around.
He says the previous project failed to keep the public well informed about what options were available and feasible. But this time, Gilbert says people will be able to learn that these plants can actually benefit a community -- if done right.


Frank Stanford thinking Ogden Point

13 May 2015, 7:30am

The Eastside sewage treatment plant is going to end up at Ogden Point because it's the only place that makes any sense. Listing all of the municipal parks in Oak Bay may have been an interesting exercise for somebody, but it's never going to be allowed to happen.
Beacon Hill Park is even more far-fetched, politically, and is probably illegal under the terms of the trust that was established when it was donated to the city. If you're not allowed to sell a hot dog in the park you're probably not allowed to sell giga joules of recovered energy. Everything else on the list of "technically feasible" sites is simply too far away.
Remember you have to pipe sewage from Clover Point to whatever site you an eight foot diametre main. Trenching will be a massive undertaking...this is not the mini main that they were talking about to move sludge up to Hartland.
In order to keep the project budget within the numbers you've already approved you have to avoid adding mega-cost for digging, or for pumping that kind of volume up hill. Even Rock Bay, which is at sea level and relatively close, would require a massive trench through the heart of downtown.
Think about the traffic nightmare that would cause, assuming you could do it.
Which leaves Ogden Point.
Plenty of land, and a public owner who quite literally isn't sure what to do with it. Supposedly these plants can be designed to be tourist get on it. This decision makes itself. All the rest is just window dressing.
Oak Bay parks feasible sewage treatment sites

Christine van Reeuwyk
Oak Bay News
UPDATED May 15, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria offered a list of potential places “technically feasible” to site wastewater treatment projects in each community.

Each municipality, together called the Eastside Select Committee, brought forward potential sites earlier this week as part of the public engagement process expected to end with selection of a site or sites by late summer.

“The decision around siting is an exciting opportunity for elected officials, technical folks and the public to work together so no one is making decisions in a bubble,” said Lisa Helps, chair of the Eastside Select Committee.

“We’re revealing the technically feasible sites before we’ve made any decisions so the public can help us by bringing their values, criteria and desired outcomes into a meaningful conversation.”

The publicly owned land in Oak Bay deemed feasible is all located in parks: Henderson, Carnarvon, Willows, Fireman’s, Windsor, Lafayette, Anderson Hill, Walbran, Trafalgar and the Turkey Head Walkway. There are no private properties identified. In Saanich and Victoria many feasible sites are parks, public works yards or private property.

“Our council is well aware of the concerns people will have regarding their parks, I think that’s going to be true in all three of the communities,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “This is the first step in a multi-step process trying to identity a suitable site.”

All sites identified could technically house a wastewater treatment facility. Some of the sites are smaller and could host more compact distribution plants while others are large enough to situate a plant to service the entire core area.

The next step will be to review the locations and to use public priorities and emerging technical, social, economic and environmental considerations as filters to help narrow down the number of sites.

“The next step is to get feedback from the public on May 30 and 31 and then start narrowing down the number of potential sites,” Jensen said. “Feasible does not necessarily mean suitable … The next steps we’ll be applying the triple bottom line, social, economic and environmental filter to the sites.”

Members of the public can participate in siting charrettes on May 30, 10 a.m. at the University of Victoria, Cadboro Commons building, and May 31, 10 a.m. at Victoria Conference Centre. The sessions will offer a chance for the public to learn more and offer input into the site selection and technology selection process.

“Hopefully by early June the number of sites will be reduced to a handful on the eastside. That same process will occur on the westside and eventually we will reach consensus on a site or sites,” Jensen said, noting they’ve yet to determine most economic or environmental situations of one or more sites. “That is another issue that has to be determined.”
- Raeside cartoon - the movable sewage plant...

We should be saving up for sewage treatment (DeRoy)

MAY 15, 2015

Re: “Mayors want sewage tax cancelled,” May 8.

Although no one enjoys paying taxes, I think, in this case, the Capital Regional District had a good idea to start saving for sewage treatment early.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins compared it to buying a car. Let’s continue with that thought. When you know you need to buy a car, would it be better to wait until the day you walk into the dealership and finance the entire purchase price or, to save up money in advance as a down payment, lowering the amount you have to borrow? The former gives you a larger monthly payment; the latter reduces the amount lost to interest payments.

The money collected should be set aside for the purpose of sewage treatment, regardless of the final plan. If there is any excess (doubtful), it can go toward reducing future maintenance payments.

At the very least, fire Seaterra until an approved plan is in place.

Marcel DeRoy


Spend money fighting federal sewage rules (Ferguson)

MAY 17, 2015

Re: “Potential waste-plant sites are all over the map,” May 14.

I applaud Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps for wading into this discharge because this is where the feces really hit the fan.

People should be opposed to all of these sites, because the Capital Regional District continues to acquiesce to a mandate that fails to accept the evidence.

They’ve already dropped almost $70 million on their deliberations. Those funds could have clearly challenged legislation that has turned a low environmental priority into a fiscal carrot and stick.

Meanwhile, Ottawa is asleep, having created one-size-fits-all legislation that doesn’t fit Victoria. Our marine-based treatment system is unique and we are lucky to have mother nature providing the oxygen and the energy.

The real threat to the ocean lies in the atmosphere. The effects of carbon absorption are becoming blatantly obvious. In Victoria’s case, land-based sewage treatment will only add to a problem that we’ve yet to properly address.

Dave Ferguson