EVENTS HAPPENING IN VICTORIA

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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
10/1/2016 Published Article
Sewage: Moving Forward!

The treatment of sewage within Greater Victoria has been studied and debated ad nauseam, with countless interventions from well-intentioned community and activist groups, along with industry, business and labour leaders. Millions have been spent, years have slipped by, and hundreds of millions of dollars of senior government contributions have been left hanging. But on September 14th, we appear to have made a big step forward, with the Capital Regional District Board approving the recommendations from the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project Board.

The Project Board recommended a single tertiary treatment plant be located at the McLoughlin Point site in Esquimalt and that sludge be piped for processing and storage at Hartland landfill in Saanich. The plan anticipates an integrated resource management solution in the future and provides $2 million to study a proposal by Colwood for a separate wastewater treatment proposal in that community. The Project Board estimates the cost of the approved plan to be $765 million.

The Chamber has advocated for a solution that will protect our reputation as a city, be the lowest possible cost for taxpayers, have the least impact possible on business and…that will be completed! The approved plan looks like it is the option that is best able to achieve the first three objectives. The remaining concern is making sure that the project remains focused and achieves the completion deadline of December 31st, 2020.

We are still at the start of the project with a short time frame and a commitment to a specific budget. The Chamber takes hope from the fact that the Project Board, which has delivered what it has promised each step of the way so far, is staying on to drive the project and provide oversight through to completion.
The next step is to lock down the federal and provincial funding. Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of the Environment, was unequivocal in his speech to a Chamber audience September 13th, that if the plan was not approved and submitted before the September 30th deadline, the federal funding would go elsewhere. Given the good news on September 14th, I’m confident the funding will be ours.

Catherine Holt is the CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. 250-383-7191, CEO@victoriachamber.ca, www.victoriachamber.ca

Published in Business Examiner, October 2016

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