Posted by: Editor | October 7, 2010

Community Values

Community Values

 – Local Esquimalt residents call for Socio-Economic Impact Study on CRD Sewage Treatment

Bruce Cuthbert and Rick Mandy care deeply about the future of Esquimalt. They want to determine the potential value of our community.

In response to community-wide opposition to the Capital Regional District’s plans to locate a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, the two local residents decided to add to the discussion with a particular focus. They have put together a study framework that deals specifically with the Socio-Economic and Community Development Impact Assessments (highest value and best use of land) as it relates to the CRD Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and to the Esquimalt Strategic Plan. They presented their proposed study to Esquimalt Council this week. The CRD has conducted many sewage treatment studies at great expense, but they have all focused on the technical aspects, construction, and operation costs while largely ignoring socio-economic impacts.

Rick Mandy moved into Esquimalt five years ago despite realtor warnings not to invest in Esquimalt. Cuthbert and Mandy first began working together collaborating on various projects for the provincial government. Their work involved taking an analytical approach to problem-solving.

“Esquimalt has been a great place to live, near enough to the downtown, and other amenities for easy access,” says Cuthbert, a 30-year resident of Esquimalt. “I am looking for a safe, healthy, vibrant, economically stable place to live in.  I think Esquimalt needs help now from within our community to rejuvenate. This is our home.”

Pointing out that the CRD project would effectively wipe out prime, high-demand waterfront property in a region with very little remaining waterfront development opportunities, Cuthbert says: “We also need to look at the highest and best land use as part of a Socio-Economic assessment of the Sewage Treatment plan options to ensure that the implemented option meets the needs of the future of the whole CRD.  Let’s make this an investment that we will all be proud of being part of, not just (being) NIMBYs.  There is no new waterfront.”

Hence, Cuthbert and Mandy are calling on the CRD to conduct a full socio-economic impact study of the McLoughlin Point controversy. Without this step being taken, the two men predict that both Esquimalt and the CRD will lose out on major socio-economic potential for the site as part of our ongoing regional revitalization.

The study would examine such questions as:

  • What is the “highest and best use” of the land? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highest_and_best_use
  •  What is the social impact (positive and negative) on the residents and businesses in the community? (health, wellness, well-being of community, community stability, safety, crime, violence, land plan )
  • What are the financial impacts on the community? (future tax base, property values, business development opportunities, community development, tourism))
  •  What are the impacts on surrounding communities?

Despite the site’s history as contaminated industrial land used by Esso, Mandy pointed out that was also true of False Creek in Vancouver prior to Expo86, but which is now one the most valued real estate areas in the country.

Esquimalt Council agreed unanimously with the approach of Cuthbert and Mandy.

 “I am pleased with the response of the Council,” says Cuthbert. “They are having staff check things out and they provided us with support in principle.  From the comments of the Council and Mayor, I think we have a good level of support. It would be great if more people step up and help out as well. Perhaps a Town Hall type workshop/discussions with some brainstorming related to Esquimalt Revitalization 2020 might be helpful.”

For more information and to become involved in this grassroots, community-driven important project, contact Bruce Cuthbert at tc1@shaw.ca and Rick Mandy at rmandy@thebaintreegroup.com

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Responses

  1. YES! Cuthbert & Mandy are SO right – this CRD Core Area sewage treatment project absolutely NEEDS a socio-economic impact study. Will it get one from the CRD sewage planners? At best, they may cook up a shoddy little review, but probably nothing will happen. How can they get away with that?

    Simple – although sewage plant could be a billion-dollar project, it falls under BC’s Municipal Sewage Regulations, with no real environmental assessment, and virtually none for socio-economic impacts. BC Environment Minister Penner says NO to covering the project with a much more serious assessment under the BC Environmental Assessment Act. Hopefully, the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act will cover the project, and a serious environmental assessment will be undertaken.

    Its incredible to think that McLoughlin Point could be restored as a beautiful, natural entrance to Victoria Harbour, but now could be condemned to being just a concrete footprint of sewage plant.

    There is NO marine environmental benefit to additional, land-based sewage treatment for our region, but there will surely be a HUGE environmental and socio-economic COST to our region – and especially to Esquimalt residents.

    For more information on the unnecessary sewage treatment plant:
    aresst.ca
    rstv.ca
    victoriasewagetreatment.ca/ccost/
    sites.google.com/site/sewageplantsvictoria/

  2. Thanks for the article Tim. We appreciate your support and that of your readers. I look forward to seeing some follow-up comments, hopefully of support.

    We are back at City Council on Tuesday night to get the report out from City Hall staff.

    Projects over $500M benefit from Socio-Economic (eg.) and Highest and Best Use (HBU) analysis.

    Other surplus DND properties have been developed to provide major benefit to their communities.

    See the Calgary Garrison Woods http://www.clc.ca/success-story/garrison-woods & Green http://www.clc.ca/success-story/garrison-green, Currie Barracks and Chilliwack Garrison Crossing http://www.clc.ca/properties/garrison-crossing for example. http://www.clc.com These redevelopments are bringing amazing social and financial benefits to these communities which will last forever.

    The Chilliwack Garrison Crossing is in Minister Penner’s home riding, so he should recognize the value of this type of re-development for Esquimalt. I have sent him a letter as well as other MPS and MLAs asking for their support of the HBU and Socio-Economic analysis for our CRD project.

    Regards,
    Bruce Cuthbert

  3. Esquimalt Council’s Committee of the Whole agenda for 12 October included:

    RECOMMENDATION:
    That Council support the addition of a Socio-Economic and
    Community Development impact Assessment to the CRD Core Area
    Liquid Waste Management Plan prior to final approval of the
    McLoughlin Option.
    (http://www.esquimalt.ca/files/PDF/Agendas_and_Minutes/2010_10_12_COTW_Agenda.pdf)

    Esquimalt examines sewage impact

    Victoria News
    October 14, 2010

    Esquimalt is adding another layer to its opposition to the region’s secondary sewage treatment plan.

    Staff will conduct a “socio-economic and community development impact assessment” after council unanimously approved the action Tuesday.

    The assessment will look at how the liquid sewage treatment plant, which will sit at McLoughlin Point, will affect the community. It will focus on quality of life, lost development opportunities and the municipality’s long-term plan.

    Chief administrative officer Laurie Hurst said the assessment would complement Esquimalt’s current take on the sewage situation.

    The CRD was ordered to create a secondary sewage treatment centre by the B.C. Environment Ministry. Costs to construct and run the facilities could be as high as $800 million.

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/victorianews/news/104966549.html

  4. HARBOUR SOCIETY OBJECTS TO PROPOSED SEWAGE PLANT LOCATION

    CFAX 1070
    Nov 24, 2010

    THE VICTORIA-ESQUIMALT HARBOUR SOCIETY (http://www.vehs.ca/) 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

  5. 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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