Piss or Get Off the Pot
– Esquimalt residents urged to reignite the fight against CRD’s sewage treatment plan for McLoughlin Point.
By Tim Morrison
Esquimalt Council recently hosted an open Council meeting to solicit input from members of the public on the issue of mitigation for our community if we are to become the home for all of the Capital Regional District’s future sewage treatment.
A Capital Regional District (CRD) staff report offers up the possible creation of a community amenity fund – equivalent to one per cent of a portion of the estimated $800 million cost of the sewage treatment system – to help soften the impact of sewage treatment facilities. The fund is to go towards payments for local parks, trails, sidewalks or public art.
A recent media report indicates “the staff report to the CRD’s sewage committee calls for creation of a regional fund to pay for community amenities as compensation to affected municipalities such as Esquimalt, home to the selected treatment plant site of McLoughlin Point. It also said affected municipalities should be able to decide where the money goes.”
Esquimalt residents can interpret the CRD report as a blatant bribe to Esquimalt to shut up and go away.
As the CRD’s sewage committee is currently gathering municipal input on the report, it is becoming apparently obvious that the report will be shelved rather than adopted. Municipalities are likely going to want to avoid forming financial expectations from other communities negatively affected by future CRD projects.
Case in point, we hear in the news that Oak Bay Council has voted unanimously to reject any suggestion of compensating Esquimalt’s woes for having to house the CRD’s future sewage. Oak Bay referred to the compensation proposal as “irresponsible.” So, let’s talk about the word “irresponsible” while we are on the topic of CRD sewage treatment. The real irresponsibility occurring is the ramming through a boondoggle project that will be based on a site with no room to expand and thus become a useless facility for the CRD’s future growth beyond a mere two decades. Financing that bonehead decision will be an additional cost to individual taxpayers of at least $400 per year in property taxes. Finally, the project is so shortsighted in vision that it actually hurts the environment more than helps it.
These points were brought up yet again by Esquimalt residents and Council members alike at a recent public meeting. When Mayor Barb Desjardins asked if there was anyone present in the audience from the CRD to address the issues raised at the well-advertised open meeting, the room was silent. That has been the CRD’s response to Esquimalt all through the sewage treatment planning process: silence, disregard, and exclusion. And, that is the most irresponsible aspect of this whole process.
It literally stinks and Esquimalt is not going to tolerate it any longer. Forget talk of mitigation, now is the time for litigation. The CRD have cheated the people of Esquimalt every step of the way and we are organizing to fight back. We are joined by allies from all parts of the Capital Regional District. We’re not going to take it anymore. We are already seeing rays of hope with both the federal and provincial governments delaying the signing of their overdue financial contributions to the project.
Whether you are an Esquimalt resident or a resident elsewhere within the CRD, the time is now to piss or get off the pot. No more apathy. No more whining. No more being treated as if we don’t matter. Our community deserves better, our region deserves better, our tax dollars deserve better, and our environment deserves better.
The CRD sewage treatment plan for McLoughlin Point is clearly the wrong plan. But, it is up to us to fight back and put forward the right plan, one formed from responsible planning and one based on listening to the people rather than ignoring them.
Don’t let yourself be ignored anymore. For more information, go to www.thewrongplan.ca