Posted by: Editor | July 27, 2010

Whatever It Takes!

Whatever It Takes!

– Esquimalt residents ready to fight CRD’s sewage treatment plan

It was a hot summer evening last week at Esquimalt Municipal Hall…hot in temperatures and hot in tempers. It was standing room only as more than a hundred local concerned residents packed into Council Chambers to express their outrage, frustrations, and constructive input in response to the Capital Regional District’s hasty decision to locate the CRD’s new centralized sewage treatment plant at McLouglin Point in Esquimalt.

Of note, there was absolutely no CRD representation in attendance to hear the concerns of the community during this traditional Town Hall-style Meeting….not even one CRD official had the decency or, more likely, the courage to face the people most impacted by a the CRD’s irresponsible planning. One speaker after another lined up to point out the many foibles of the project, often referred to as a “billion dollar boondoggle”.   

The crowd included experts, engineers, and environmentalists, all of whom pointed out that the project is not only too costly at $300 per year per household, but that it also hurts more than helps the environment.

The people of Esquimalt stressed that this is not about NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard syndrome), but rather more about common sense and doing what is in the best interests of the environment and the taxpayers. All of the public input pleaded with Council to do “whatever it takes” to halt the project from becoming reality, a message heard loud and clear by Council.

“This is not just an Esquimalt problem,” declared Mayor Barb Desjardins. “This is a regional disaster that is occurring. This is not the right plan.”

Councillor Don Linge, a lawyer by profession, described the situation as “a classic class-action case in which we are all impacted” in referring to the need for all CRD residents to join forces in stopping the project through whatever legal means available.

Councillor Randall Garrison vowed that he was willing to play nice with the CRD and approach the matter rationally to negotiate a solution in the best interests of Esquimalt, but if the CRD continue to ignore our community, then he is prepared to have Council obstruct the project through whatever means possible including bylaws that would ban trucking in/out of the site.

As the evening wore on and as both the public and Council expressed themselves so passionately, it became abundantly clear that the CRD have picked a fight with the wrong community and one that will not standby and allow this project to be bulldozed into our home.

“We are Esquimalt, we are proud, and we have a voice,” declared Councillor Meagan Brame.

Esquimalt’s next move will likely involve legal action against the CRD in a case of taxpayer suing taxpayer…a mess all of the CRD’s making and a mess much more revolting that anything in our sewage system.

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Responses

  1. It was amazing to hear Judy Brownoff boast on CFAX today that “we are so lucky to have a resource like UVic in our midst and be able to call on their expertise” in referring to evolving CRD stormwater improvement plans.
    Isn’t this the same cheerleader who has ignored the many marine scientists (including the now-former Dean of Science) at UVic who have said over and over what a total waste of money this treatment project is ? Selective hearing, or the unbridled misuse of taxpayers dollars to build a monument to her self-importance ?
    And before she bleats that Penner forced them, nowhere did Penner call for land-based secondary treatment. He actually called for a “fixed schedule for the provision of sewage treatment”, including options for the type of treatment. Brownoff made the motion on Oct. 11/06 that the CRD commit to secondary treatment or better … not Penner.
    True.
    Bob Wheaton

  2. […] Esquimalt Review.com, Tim Morrison, July 27, 2010 at 6:03 pm […]

  3. There is one golden rule at the CRD that will never be broken: No municipality will be forced into doing something it does not want. Break that rule and the CRD will unravel. If Esquimalt or any other municipality says NO, loud and clear, the CRD will not force it to participate in an increasingly bad sewage plan.
    But, it takes guts, smarts and massive public support to say NO convincingly. It is now up to Esquimalt residents to show massive, unwavering support for their Mayor and Council.
    And it is not NIMBYism driving Esquimalt to say NO. As pointed out by so many at Equimalt’s Town hall meeting, it is a truly BAD sewage plan that will cost an obscene amount of money to make matters WORSE for the environment.

  4. Work in progress on the arterial Craigflower Road suggests to me that the decision to truck large volumes of Victoria’s excrement past my bedroom window has already been made.

  5. Mayor Desjardins:

    Re: McLoughlin Point as sewage plant site.

    Esquimalt Council can challenge the choice of McLoughlin Point as sewage plant site by passing a resolution demanding that Environment Minister Penner reconsider his decision to allow the project to go ahead without the benefit of a full environmental impact assessment under the BC Environmental Assessment Act.

    Currently, the project falls under the BC Municipal Sewage Regulations – a VERY inadequate process given the expected environmental, social and economic impacts on our community.

    Also, because the project doesn’t fall under the BC Environmental Management Act, the Penner decision to allow Amendment 8 cannot be appealed to the BC Environmental Appeal Board.

    However, a resolution of Esquimalt Council demanding that the CRD sewage project be “opted-in” to the more rigorous environmental assessment act would certainly show Esquimalt residents and McLoughlin Point neighbours that Esquimalt Council is leaving no stone unturned in this issue.

    Thanks.
    John Newcomb

  6. Anti-Esquimalt commentary in The Olympian (Olympia, Washington State):

    http://www.theolympian.com/2010/09/07/1360690/victoria-bc-needs-to-get-real.html

  7. PHOTO SHOOT AT MCLOUGHLIN POINT !
    Sunday September 19, 4pm at the end of
    Victoria View Road

    McLoughlin Point – THE WRONG PLAN!
    http://thewrongplan.ca/

    McLoughlin Point, at the entrance to Victoria’s harbour, has been selected as the site for the Capitol Region sewage treatment plant.

    If you think this is a bad plan, then please participate in a powerful statement of solidarity and opposition by attending a photo shoot at McLoughlin Point.

    The intention of the photo is to show the broad scope of opposition to the current sewage plan. Please forward this on to your contact list and invite people along to participate.

    Media will be present. A petition will be circulated at the event, and extra petitions will be available for those who wish to gather more signatures.

    PHOTO SHOOT AT MCLOUGHLIN POINT September 19, 4pm, end of Victoria View Road

  8. Sewage talk replaces Conservative breakfast speaker

    Sean Holman
    Public Eye Blog
    November 2, 2010

    South Island federal Conservatives have abruptly cancelled provincial Conservative president Wayne McGrath’s invitation to speak at their monthly breakfast meeting. But one of the breakfast’s organizers has said that decision has nothing with concerns about the federal party becoming too cosy with its provincial namesake. When contacted yesterday, Mr. McGrath declined to speculate on the reason for the cancellation.

    “All I know is I was asked to speak last August on November 26 and about a week ago I was advised – politely – that I wasn’t going to be speaking,” he said.

    Instead, Esquimalt mayor Barb Desjardins will now be addressing the meeting, talking to attendees about the capital region’s sewage treatment options.

    “The breakfast committee changed their plans at the last minute,” explained breakfast organizer Jean Howell. “And it was unfortunate it was after I sent out the advertising. But the committee itself felt that Barb was a little more topical for here.”

    So Mr. McGrath’s de-invitation had nothing to do with the federal Conservatives keeping their distance from the provincial Conservatives? “Not that I’m aware,” Ms. Howell replied.

    “The committee made a decision that with municipal things happening it’s probably a good idea to keep (the speaker) topical.”

    http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/005413.html


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