Dr. Shaun Peck on CRD’s sewage treatment fiasco: ‘the reality is that there will be more delays in planning’

There’s still time to review our sewage options

Environmental, sustainability issues yet to be answered for megaproject

by Shaun Peck – Times Colonist – September 8th 2011.

Many people in Victoria think that building land-based sewage treatment for the core municipalities is a done deal.

However, the reality is that there will be more delays in planning. There is still time to review whether there will be any environmental benefit from building these plants.

In November 2010, the Capital Regional District submitted a “business case” to the province for funding approval. This approval has not yet been obtained. Now, with further provincial financial uncertainty after the commitment to cancel the harmonized sales tax, there will likely be further delays.

The plan submitted was for a treatment plant at McLoughlin Point at the Victoria Harbour entrance. The preliminary estimate for this is $782 million onetime capital costs and $14.5 million in annual operating costs.

The capital costs (apart from land costs) are expected to be cost-shared, one-third each, with the federal and provincial governments. In most of the municipalities, homeowners will be billed on household utility bills based on water consumption, rather than on annual property taxes.

Why the planning delays? Apart from the business case approval, the CRD has been exploring whether a site closer to the treatment plant can be obtained to treat the sludge, eliminating the need to build an 18-kilometre double pipe to the Hartland landfill.

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