More treatment options than west vs. east

Colwood, Langford and View Royal join Township of Esquimalt, Songhees Nation in group split off by CRD board

The newest sewage treatment tactic divides the region into west and east.

Capital Regional District directors approved a new framework to gauge the value of subset wastewater treatment options at a meeting last week. This new framework gives Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan participants the opportunity to have subcommittees, or work individually with the support of CRD staff, to develop and evaluate treatment options for their communities.

“It is a positive, because at least we are conversing. Stuff is happening – at least small steps – but still we are moving forward,” said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, whose municipality is the only one to have plans already in place for its own treatment. “The CRD is still the controller of the money. They still own the plan that requires sewage treatment. We are the worker bees that will tailor-make that plan to fit.”

Hamilton said the subcommittee provides a legal entity or branch (of the CRD) under which things can operate and gives the license to be going ahead to finding a solution to getting any work done regarding any potential site location.

Colwood, Esquimalt, Langford, View Royal and the Songhees Nation make up a west side subcommittee that will work with CRD staff and a technical working group to develop a sub-regional wastewater treatment plan. It could be, however, that the options include a partnership between only Colwood and Langford, with another option for Esquimalt, View Royal and the Songhees Nation. Colwood could still even go it alone.

“We are working in parallel planes, one in Colwood on a standalone and another involving another municipality perhaps. Logically it would be Langford, because they pipe through Colwood,” Hamilton said. “It is another iron in the fire. We still have approval from our board to look for something suitable for Colwood and (we are) looking forward to moving ahead to see what that means.”

Hamilton was in Sechelt on Thursday (Oct. 16) for the grand opening of their new wastewater treatment facility, which she said could be one of the options for Colwood. She said the the new CRD framework could be a step towards making a potential tertiary option such as Sechelt’s a reality, whether it is alone or with other municipalities.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said working toward a wastewater treatment option in Greater Victoria could still be quite a long and complicated process.

“That subcommittee will begin to review options that they might consider for those four municipalities in terms of a subregional wastewater treatment plan,” he said. “That opens the way for us to do the same on the east side: Oak Bay, Victoria and Saanich. We’ve already started down that path, so yesterday was just the formalization of the west side. We have a working group of chief administrative officers who have had a number of meetings and have begun looking at the issue of what would an east side plan look like.”

– with files from Arnold Lim

alim@goldstreamgazette.com