Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes applauds the decision of the Capital Regional District to save up to 50 trees by changing the route of a pipeline carrying bio-solids.
“They moved quite swiftly to complete the new approach,” said Haynes, who called the proposed changes “quite agreeable.”
Staff with the Wastewater Treatment Project announced Thursday morning that they have shifted the original alignment of a pipeline carrying carrying residual biosolids from the future wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt to Hartland Landfill in Saanich.
Residents of Grange Road had opposed the initial alignment because it would have led to the loss of up to 50 trees including threatened Garry oaks on the east side of Grange Road. This possibility prompted an outburst of lobbying by area residents, which culminated in the submission of a petition signed by 380 names against the proposed alignment by former MLA and Saanich councillor David Cubberley leading a delegation of residents.
CRD officials said last week that they would review the route of the residual solids conveyance line running almost 20 kilometres with an eye towards altering it — a move confirmed Thursday morning.
“To preserve trees we have shifted the alignment to the west side of the street, and rock will therefore need to be cleared by blasting or mechanical machinery,” said a release from the CRD. It also promised among other points that crews would work to minimize construction impacts and maintain two-way traffic wherever possible.
“[However], sections of Grange Road may need to be closed for portions of construction,” it reads.
Elizabeth Scott, deputy project director of the Wastewater Treatment Project, thanked the community for sharing their concerns and for their patience during construction.
Haynes credited residents for their diligence and “speedy” calls of concern. “As the first mayor of rural Saanich, I am personally delighted to be a part of this rebalance of our values as we look at our infrastructure needs,” he said. “These need to be done in balance with the natural capital of our trees and green spaces.”
Simon McVaugh-Smock said area residents are very happy with move, but reserve final judgement about until they know more about the effects of the work. Specifics remain unknown at this stage, he said.
He said the CRD’s response demonstrates the will of the community, whose members were “dismayed” by what the CRD had proposed.
“It’s has been really impressive to see the community come together,” he said.