Esquimalt mayor opposed to CRD plans for biosolids sewage plant in township

Mayor Barb Desjardins calls closed-door process "disrespect to population"

Esquimalt’s mayor is fuming over Capital Regional District plans to put a second sewage treatment facility within the township’s borders.

The CRD is purchasing a $17-million industrial property in the 800-block of Viewfield Rd. as a possible site for a Biosolids Energy Centre, the second major component in the region’s $783-million secondary sewage treatment project.

The CRD says it undertook an exhaustive process to whittle down alternative properties throughout the core municipalities for its biosolids centre, but in the end, only the Viewfield Road site and Hartland landfill in Saanich were deemed viable for social, environmental and economic reasons.

Mayor Barb Desjardins was unable to disclose the details of closed-door CRD meetings, but said several other sites would have been appropriate for the sewage facility.

“When you compare the Viewfield site to some of the other sites that are alluded to by the CRD, they are not in residential areas, they’re not next door to a school, to grocery facilities,” she said.

Esquimalt has already reluctantly accepted a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. Construction on that project begins in 2014.

But a second sewage treatment facility in the 7 km sq. municipality is an “inequitable burden to a community,” Desjardins said.

“The process to purchase this site prior to any public knowledge or input denies the public their rights, and it denies the municipality their rights that this was all done in-camera.”

The CRD hinted for months the Hartland location was being reconsidered as a potential cost-saving measure, although the $17 million spent on the Viewfield Road property is an additional expense.

About 18 kilometres of underground pipelines would be needed to connect the McLoughlin Point plant to a biosolids treatment facility at Hartland landfill, while the Viewfield site is only 2 kilometres away.

Esquimalt’s director of development, Bill Brown, said the CRD plan is counter to well-established community planning principles, particularly because a food distribution centre and residential neighbourhoods surround the proposed site.

A biosolids sewage plant would also further reduce the township’s limited industrial land, something Brown has been looking to expand as he anticipates a boom from the shipbuilding and ship repair sectors.

Denise Blackwell, the CRD’s core area wastewater management committee chair, promised a public consultation process will take place in the coming months to gauge whether residents prefer Esquimalt or Saanich for the biosolids facility.

“Frankly, I’m saddened as a leader in not only my municipality, but as a leader in the region, that this process has occurred the way it has and the public is finding out the way they are,” Desjardins said, adding she expects the issue to affect the upcoming provincial election in May.

“It’s a disrespect to the population.”

More to come.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Peninsula students taking advantage of French activities

Canadian Parents for French help organize and promote activities

Monday sees rain with high of 10 C

Plus your weekly forecast

Number of ancient humans continues to grow after discovery

Scientists identify at least 12 species outside of Homo sapians following discovery in Philippines

Peninsula grandmothers salute Roaring ’20s fashion

May 3 event in Sidney benefits Grandmothers Helping African Grandmothers

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

Most Read