Posted by: Editor | June 30, 2010

Mayor’s Monthly Musings for June, 2010

Everyone in Esquimalt agrees that the Capital Regional District’s Sewage Plan is wrong on many accounts. Our community leaders are speaking out and our Mayor is leading the charge to oppose the plan. In this month’s mayoral report, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins outlines the reasons why all Esquimalt residents should join her in putting a stop to the CRD’s sewage plan.

Mayor’s Monthly Musings for June, 2010

-By Mayor Barb Desjardins

Mayor Barb Desjardins

Sewage treatment for the region has taken a significant step in the wrong direction in my view. As the Esquimalt CRD representative, I have actively voiced my concerns throughout the process.

The Minister of Environment, in December of 2007, gave some precise directives for the CRD to follow in this process:

1)   Minimize total project costs to the taxpayer by maximizing economic and financial benefits including beneficial reuse of resources and generation of offsetting revenue

2)   Aggressively pursue opportunities to minimize and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

3)   Optimize ‘smart growth’ results, e.g. district services, density, Dockside Green’ like innovation

The CRD has not met these directives with the configuration it approved on June 23, 2010. There are basic reasons these could not be met in my view.

The CRD did not look at this project from the view of directive number 1, which would have had the CRD looking for sites based on where best resource recovery and revenues could be achieved. The CRD has not used GHG reduction, a key directive for site selection and process, but as a factor that must be added in when options are presented. The CRD has not addressed directive number 3 in any way and this is a key reason for us being where we are today. The site selection premise started with where the pipes in the ground are, and absolutely this should have been one point for consideration, but not the only one.

This premise has lead the CRD to a large centralized liquid waste management plant with no beneficial reuse or resource recovery component. The biosolid management site at Hartland Landfill may or may not integrate solid waste and organic waste streams.

The CRD Board’s strategic direction is toward zero waste and closure of Hartland in the future. These decisions and those of the Core Liquid Waste Committee of the CRD are directly opposed.

The key factor for resource recovery is the ability to combine the waste stream management processes, which will optimize revenue and resource recovery. There is no combination occurring when the two sites chosen are 18 km apart! The pumping of sludge this distance will require huge amounts of energy for its entire lifecycle.

Combine these shortfalls with the problems associated with the McLoughlin site itself, a constrained, contaminated site, a focal point of the entrance to our City of Victoria, and the CRD has missed the point entirely!

It is important for the region’s public to understand these shortfalls.

There is also a significant problem with the community engagement process that has been followed. Appropriate and timely community consultation is a process that has been mandated by the Province.

Beyond general open houses, Esquimalt and Hartland have not been engaged in dialogue and consultation with respect to these sites within their communities.

I encourage all residents of the region to get involved now. We are all going to be challenged with significant tax increases for the future without the significant additional benefits that a properly planned system should have.

Please do all that you can to understand this situation and make your thoughts known to the CRD.

Barb Desjardins is the Mayor of Esquimalt and Esquimalt’s representative on the Capital Regional District Board of Directors. Email Mayor Desjardins at:

Public feedback can also be sent directly to the Capital Regional District at:

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