We asked the Saanich mayor and council candidates to provide their thoughts and strategies on sewage treatment.
David Cubberley, mayoral candidate:
The CRD has developed a sewage treatment proposal under direction from the province to implement secondary treatment. We are currently awaiting confirmation of senior government’s two-thirds share of capital costs and plan approval. There’s work to be done to complete a plan for either beneficial reuse or waste-to-energy conversion of the bio-solids from treatment. I support the regional policy of not applying biosolids to rural and food producing lands. This leaves the question of end-use open and requiring resolution.
Frank Leonard, mayoral candidate:
The Provincial Government has ordered sewage treatment yet our financial commitments are not as formal. We must ensure that we get written commitments from senior government to fulfill each of their promises of 1/3 funding.
Susan Brice, council candidate:
The provincial government directed the CRD to provide plans the outlined options, costs and a time schedule for the provision of sewage treatment for the CORE area of the region. The CRD complied with the directive and submitted all the requirements to the provincial government in June 2010. The CRD used the triple bottom line throughout the process to examine environmental, economic and social benefits and submitted a plan that would meet the requirements of the Ministry of the Environment. The plan submitted to government identified the need for underground tanks to be positioned in the Cadboro Bay area. As a result of extensive negotiations between Saanich and CRD there was a land transfer that will result in 7.3 hectares of forested green space known as Haro Woods to be protected in perpetuity. On the issue of the sewage treatment plan, neither the provincial or federal governments have come forward to each commit one third of the costs of providing the system that was mandated for the region.
Judy Brownoff, council candidate:
We are under a Provincial Environmental Order to treat. Federally we have been told we must treat by 2020. I will ensure, for my community, that the provincial and federal governments, as promised, live up to their commitments to provide one-third funding, each.
Vic Derman, council candidate:
Ultimately, I support moving to sewage treatment but only in a manner that makes environmental and fiscal sense. Any new system should be designed around resource recovery. We could start soon, but it’s logical to phase and time implementation to take advantage of emerging technologies and opportunities new development or re-development provides. Every effort should be made to “ramp up” our very successful source control program. Finally, we should move right now to deal with the impact of storm water. The current project addresses virtually none of this and would not provide value for money spent.
Paul Gerrard, council candidate:
The BC government has mandated that sewage must be treated as a land – based procedure, and not released untreated from our outfalls. The provincial and federal governments have promised to pay 1/3 each of the cost of sewage treatment, with the CRD paying the remaining 1/3. However, the funding has not been forthcoming, and the CRD has already paid a substantial amount for consultants and staff time on this project. There is a problem regarding the sludge that is left in this process. One suggestion is to pipe it to the Hartland landfill, and I do not support this option.
Ingrid Ip, council candidate:
I think that most Saanich residents don’t think we need sewage treatment and that we are being forced into it by the province and by pressure from other countries.
Dean Murdock, council candidate:
Our region was mandated by the provincial government to treat its waste water. The CRD spent three years engaging, planning, and developing a proposal that it delivered to the provincial Minister a year ago. The proposed system is nearly one-third cheaper than initial estimates – a testament to the work of CRD politicians, planners, staff, and the community. The delay from the Province is discouraging and threatens the implementation of the plan. It sends a message that our region’s needs are unimportant. I support the implementation of the project and expect senior governments to live up to their commitments.
Vicki Sanders, council candidate:
This is an ongoing issue and I support the direction of the CRD. We need to look at long range, affordable solutions.
Nichola Wade, council candidate:
I am concerned that the Region has moved toward treatment, expending significant funds on the understanding that senior level governments not only supported the initiative but mandated it. Now these funds are in jeopardy. The CRD must comply with these regulations but cannot afford to build an enterprise of this nature without senior level support. Saanich must ensure the previous commitments of two thirds of the capital costs are honoured by the Provincial and Federal Governments.
Leif Wergeland, council candidate:
Secondary sewage treatment was mandated by senior levels of government 4 years ago. As a result the CRD made the decision to move forward and over the past 4 years have worked on a business plan under the oversight of a team of consultants and an international peer review committee. Now the decision rests with senior levels of government as we wait on a funding decision for 2/3 of the cost.
Rob Wickson, council candidate:
All of our waste, liquid or solid, needs to be handled in the most modern way. There are many options for sewage treatment that have not been put on the table for discussion. With the current provincial statements about funding, we may have some time to consider other options.
Harald Wolf, council candidate:
I must admit that I changed my position two years ago, when I re-examined the issue from a scientific perspective. We have been saddled with a flawed system, based on a decision made for the wrong reasons. I completely agree that the issue was put off for too long, but the solution before us now was developed without a clear mandate to fix a defined problem. (Making Mr Floaty go away is not sufficient justification to spend almost a billion dollars.) We need to go back to the drawing board! I do not accept the argument of most other candidates that “it is a done deal”. Until the finances are in place, and the bidding starts, it could be brought up for review.