Posted by: Editor | September 20, 2010

Not Smiling for the Camera

Not Smiling for the Camera

-Esquimalt United in Outrage Against CRD Sewage Plan

Concerned citizens gather at McLoughlin Point for photo-op protest against the the CRD's Sewage Treatment Plan. September 19, 2010. Photo by John McKay.

An otherwise rainy Sunday afternoon opened up a spot of sunshine this past weekend as dozens upon dozens of local Esquimalt residents among other concerned citizens of the Capital Regional District assembled to express their united opposition to the CRD’s plans to build the region’s new sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.

Along with Esquimalt Council members and other community leaders, the multi-generational group of protestors gathered on-site at McLoughlin Point for a media group photo-op and to provide faces to the widespread opposition across Esquimalt as well as the entire region.

The grassroots event was organized by local resident, Carole Witter, who stated, “The intention of the event is to send out a powerful message of solidarity, and to show the broad range of opposition to the current CRD sewage treatment plan.”

“The CRD’s current plan is to squeeze a substandard facility onto a site that is too small, and then get us to pay for it,” added Witter.  “Every property owner in the capital region will be investing in this plan through a tax increase ranging from $300 to $500.  One way to offset these costs and show environmental stewardship would be to recover resources (heat, natural gas, water, phosphate, etc) from the sewage as it is treated.  The CRD has chosen a plan that will in no way maximize the recovery of resources from treated sewage. The CRD knows that liquid and solid waste should be processed on the same site, yet they have chosen a site which is too small to host both facilities and instead will pump the liquid waste to Hartland Landfill at great cost.  In addition, the water reuse portion of this plan was dropped just to make this facility fit this site.  Other jurisdictions reuse this water, are able to generate income and lessen the burden on precious water resources.” 

“This initiative organized by residents of the region indicates the growing concern about putting a sewage plant at McLoughlin,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins. “A picture definitely tells a thousand stories and, from these photos, it is clear that CRD Liquid Waste Management Plan: Amendment 8 is definitely the wrong plan!”

The Township of Esquimalt recently launched a new website dedicated to raising public awareness of the many flaws involved in the CRD’s shortsighted sewage treatment plan. The site can be accessed at www.thewrongplan.ca

“Members of the public should take the time to go to the site, politicians of the region should take the time to go to this site,” added Desjardins. “It will enhance their understanding of what the potential impact this site may be on our tourist based economy.”

Esquimalt remains strongly opposed to the CRD’s sewage plan being forced upon our community without any prior consultation.

A summary of the Township of Esquimalt’s concerns with the McLoughlin Point Site include:

  • The first glimpse of BC’s capital city that some 400,000 visitors a year would see from cruise ships and approaching float planes would be a wastewater treatment facility.
  • Consultants have indicated that odours, even with closed containment technology, will be present.
  • McLoughlin Point is across and downwind from the highest residential density areas of Victoria, James Bay and Songhees.
  • Limited site capacity.
  • No risk management plan, even though the site is within a provincial tsunami zone.
  • The site, formerly a fuel storage area, will have to be rehabilitated. What are the costs?
  • No environmental resource recovery.
  • The distance between liquid and solid waste treatment sites is 18 kms. Pumping sludge this distance represents an enormous energy expenditure.
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Responses

  1. Mayor and council have done a lot to challenge the waste of McLoughlin Point as a sewage plant site. Would be wonderful to see the Point environmentally restored and become a great welcoming to Victoria Harbour.

    The odour issue centres on McLoughlin Point being upwind from major residential areas, not downwind.

  2. Esquimalt, region have sewage concerns

    Letters
    Carole Witter
    Times Colonist
    September 21, 2010

    Re: “McLoughlin option best for sewage plan,” Sept. 17.

    Downplaying concerns around the current plan for sewage treatment at McLoughlin Point as “unwarranted” is an insult to Esquimalt and the entire region.

    Every property in the CRD will see a tax increase of $300 to $500. We have every right to be concerned.

    If the CRD is committed to providing the full picture, why not share the other possible scenarios for wastewater treatment facilities in
    the region, along with the financial and environmental benefits and drawbacks, of those options. Those investigations have never been
    seriously pursued.

    Purchasing this prime piece of waterfront real estate on Victoria’s harbour is also going to cost us a pretty penny.

    Carole Witter
    Esquimalt

    http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=9316210e-60be-4803-a889-66808b8eaca2

  3. Short video of Sunday’s McLoughlin Point event, with Carole Witter: http://www.bcdailybuzz.com/media/6915/McLoughlin_Point_protest/

  4. CRD TO RECEIVE FEASIBILITY REPORT OF TUNNELLING TO PIPE SEWAGE ACROSS
    ESQUIMALT HARBOUR

    CFAX 1070
    Sep 22, 2010

    CRD ENGINEERS ANTICIPATE A REPORT WITHIN THE NEXT TWO OR THREE WEEKS
    ON THE FEASIBILITY OF TUNNELLING, TO PIPE SEWAGE ACROSS THE MOUTH OF
    ESQUIMALT HARBOUR TO A TREATMENT PLANT SOMEWHERE ON THE WESTSHORE

    IT WAS CONFIRMED AT A LENGTHY MEETING OF THE REGION’S SEWAGE TREATMENT
    COMMITTEE THAT A WESTSHORE OPTION FOR THE PLANT IS STILL ON THE TABLE,
    BUT IT WOULD COST SEVERAL TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE THAN
    MCLOUGHLIN POINT, AND IT MIGHT BE COST-PROHIBITIVE BECAUSE OF THE
    DIFFICULTY DELIVERING SEWAGE THERE. BUT SENIOR STAFF ASSURED THE
    COMMITTEE THE IDEA IS BEING STUDIED THOROUGHLY

    DESPITE THAT THE COMMITTEE DECLINED TO PASS A MOTION PUT FORWARD FROM
    ESQUIMALT COUNCIL THAT A DETAILED BUSINESS PLAN BE PREPARED ON THE
    WESTSHORE OPTION

    ESQUIMALT MAYOR BARB DESJARDINS IS DISAPPOINTED

    “I have a concern as Mayor Saunders put forward, with moving toward
    procurement, we talk about the flexibility of allowing new sites, but
    clearly proponents are concerned that, that won’t occur so we are
    sending mixed messages, and this motion was meant to clear that up”

    SUPPORTERS OF THE WESTSHORE OPTION SAY A SITE COULD BE FOUND THAT’S
    LARGE ENOUGH TO HANDLE RESOURCE RECOVERY ON SITE, RATHER THAN TRUCKING
    OR PIPING SLUDGE TO THE HARTLAND LANDFILL.

    – ANDREA BOYES

    http://www.cfax1070.com/newsstory.php?newsId=15315

  5. HARBOUR SOCIETY OBJECTS TO PROPOSED SEWAGE PLANT LOCATION

    CFAX 1070
    Nov 24, 2010

    THE VICTORIA-ESQUIMALT HARBOUR SOCIETY HAS JOINED THE OPPOSITION TO LOCATING A REGIONAL SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT ON MCLOUGHLIN POINT.

    THE SOCIETY IS CALLING ON THE CAPITAL REGIONAL DISTRICT TO CONSIDER OTHER SITES, THAT WOULD BE ABLE TO ACCOMODATE BOTH LIQUID AND SOLID WASTES.

    THE HARBOUR SOCIETY SAYS A WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE “FIRST GLIMPSE” OF THE CAPITAL CITY FOR THE 400 THOUSAND TOURISTS WHO VISIT ANNUALLY BY SEA…AND THE REPURCUSSIONS WOULD BE “DISASTROUS” IN THE EVENT OF A SPILL.

    http://www.cfax1070.com/newsstory.php?newsId=16271

  6. CRD study explores piping sewage under Victoria waterways

    Edward Hill
    Goldstream News Gazette
    Updated December 02, 2010

    The Capital Region’s wastewater treatment committee has released a report that contemplates piping effluent under the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour, potentially as a part of an alternative sewage treatment plan.

    The submarine pipeline study outlines cost estimates, routes and methods to pipe wastewater from Saxe Point in Esquimalt to the south end of the Coburg Peninsula in Colwood.

    It also outlines options for tunneling and piping waste across Victoria Harbour between Ogden Point and McLoughlin Point, part of the CRD’s current planning.

    The Royal Roads route, as the Colwood crossing is called, would cost anywhere from $70 million to $145 million, depending if a tunnel were drilled or if a trench were dredged in the sea floor.

    Tunneling beneath Victoria harbour is estimated at $24 million and could save the $790-million wastewater project $17 million if horizontal directional drilling is used, according to the report.

    Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said she and other members of the wastewater committee pushed for the Royal Roads study to see if an alternative treatment plan was feasible for Colwood.

    The submarine pipeline study indicates the lowest cost option to pipe sewage to Colwood is still at least $44 million more than the existing plan.

    Desjardins, who vocally opposes the McLoughlin Point plan for a treatment plant, said she will push to have CRD staff conduct a cost-analysis between siting a plant in Esquimalt versus piping effluent to a plant in Colwood.

    The pipeline report is encouraging, she said, and showed that moving effluent across Esquimalt Harbour is possible.

    “There could be cost savings,” Desjardins said. “It makes the most sense siting (a treatment plant) in Colwood, now and in the future.”

    Last year a consultant report recommended the CRD build a major treatment plant in Royal Bay, which was roundly rejected by Colwood council. Thousands of potential Royal Bay households could be built to take advantage of an energy recovery plant, Desjardins said.

    Colwood Mayor Dave Saunders, who sits on the wastewater committee, said all options remain on the table, including piping wastewater to a treatment or energy recovery plant somewhere in Colwood.

    There are at least five sites on the West Shore that could take a plant, including public land near Royal Bay, near city hall and West Shore Parks and Recreation. Saunders said Colwood is willing to look at any plant that will generate no noise, no odour and has amenities that benefit the community.

    “Colwood is interested in looking at any innovation that makes the current plan by the CRD less expensive to citizens,” Saunders said.

    CRD wastewater committee chair Judy Brownoff said the piping report hasn’t changed anything — the project remains as a centralized sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, storage tanks in Saanich and a biosolids facility at Hartland Landfill.

    The committee needed to understand tunneling options across Victoria Harbour, she said, and decided to include Royal Roads waterway in the study.

    Brownoff noted that the submarine piping report could be handy during the procurement stage of the wastewater treatment project.

    “For anyone who applies at the procurement stage, this document highlights the challenges to overcome of pipes on the ocean floor,” she said. “The topography of the ocean floor is challenging in certain areas.”

    Meanwhile, the CRD is still trying to find land closer to Esquimalt for the biosolids and energy capture facility, currently earmarked for Hartland. It is also waiting for the province to approve a governance model for wastewater treatment.

    “We are also waiting for money from both levels of government,” Brownoff said. “Hopefully there is good news in the new year.”

    editor@goldstreamgazette.com

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/goldstreamgazette/news/111080049.html


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