– 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.”