Posted by: Editor | July 8, 2010

Note to CRD: Dumping Your Sewage on Us May Lead to Us Dumping You

Note to CRD: Dumping Your Sewage on Us May Lead to Us Dumping You

-Time for Esquimalt to consider a new regional governance model

Excellent guest editorial column in yesterday’s Victoria Times Colonist by Mayor Barb Desjardins that reveals the true story of the Capital Regional District’s severely short-sighted sewage treatment plant project being forced on the people of Esquimalt. If you haven’t already read it, then be sure to check it out at: http://www.timescolonist.com/Flawed+sewage+plan+pushed+done+deal/3245113/story.html

Not only is this project poorly planned and fraught with peril, but it is also being done without any meaningful consultation with the community of Esquimalt. In essence, the CRD has unequivocally expressed utter disregard and disrespect for the people of Esquimalt. Why would we possibly want to remain a member of a club that treats us so poorly?

The CRD governance system is severely flawed in its decision-making process in which Esquimalt is all but reduced to begging and pleading for fair treatment.

Esquimalt Residents Association founding president Beth Burton-Krahn put it best when she declared: “Due to the undemocratic and unbalanced decision making process at the table of the CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee, the representative for Esquimalt, Mayor Desjardins, with only one vote, but the highest stake in the entire sewage venture, is effectively persona non-grata in the minds of the CRD.  This has been the underlying problem with this project all along reaching back many, many years.”

It is time to cancel our membership in the CRD. It’s time to consider forming a better, more equitable regional governance system for Esquimalt and our neighbouring suburban municipalities by seceding from the CRD and working with the Western Communities of View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Highlands, and Sooke to form a new West Shore Regional District.

As a regional district, we would all be relatively small but growing communities with much in common and much more suited to work cooperatively with each other on efficient, effective and equitable regional planning.  We could amalgamate many of our regional services that are in need of great attention such as policing. We would have a more common sense approach and a more respectful consideration of consulting each other’s communities when it comes to major decision-making.

The CRD is taking us for granted. Esquimalt should not take that any more. Perhaps, I am completely wrong and perhaps a new West Shore Regional District is more fantasy than probability. But, we certainly could not do any worse than the current status quo of being a member of a regional district that decides to dump the entire region’s sewage treatment on our municipality, and waits to “consult” us after the decision has already been made.

CRD, do what you want with us, but heed these words: You are not our only option for regional governance. If pushed, we may just opt for a better deal.

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Responses

  1. Esquimalt taxpayers are going to end up paying a huge increase in tax costs no matter where a treatment plant goes. Maybe they would like to know that the entire project is unnecessary, when you read what health officers and marine biology professors have been saying for many months. Check out RSTV.ca for the facts. This project should be stopped – not relocated.
    Bob Wheaton

  2. I think many people have been so disappointed by the lack of meaningful consultation by the CRD sewage planners. However, under the Municipal Sewage Regulation for environmental impact assessment, they don’t have to do ANY consultation. None! Nevertheless, I think that there may be other legislation that WILL haul up the CRD and produce better consultation.

    I agree with Bob Wheaton that this project shouldn’t be in anybody’s backyard in the CRD – we just don’t need it. I’ve listed the oceanography researchers on my opposition to sewage treatment website:
    sites.google.com/site/sewageplantsvictoria/

  3. A very cynical thought occurs. Somebody with big clout is going to make big bucks out of this project! Do we have enough clout to stop him/them?

  4. Mitch: A billion-dollar sewage + sewage sludge mega-scheme can easily be sniffed by opportunists of all sorts, big and small.

    So far, we’ve had numerous engineering and environmental companies make a lot of money just off the initial reports.

    We have CUPE wading in to demand that their members get a share, and we have local construction firms bellying-up to the bar to demand they get some of the “action” (ie, pots of money) too.

    …and the real flow of largesse hasn’t even started yet!

    If Esquimalt does become the “host” to this sewage scheme, what will it get in return? I think that one demand Esquimaltonians can make is that everybody who works at the plant in Esquimalt should live in Esquimalt, and include the Esquimalt Band reserve too.


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