Saanich not yet prepared to go ‘solo’ with sewage solution

Public can have say on wastewater options at upcoming open houses

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell’s otherwise harmless annual address on Monday night set off a torrent of discussion within the Capital Regional District sewage situation.

Atwell has already declared sewage the number one issue for Saanich in 2016. And Monday’s comment came with a caveat, that council find a “made-in-Saanich” solution if the region couldn’t come together by the end of 2016.

For some, however, it was cause for concern with the first of three federal wastewater treatment grant deadlines coming March 31.

“I’m just laying out a plan for the residents of Saanich in case this [regional solution] doesn’t work out, and I’m not alone in this,” Atwell said. “Langford has had a council meeting on this.”

During the Tuesday launch of the core area liquid wastewater management committee’s online survey, which includes seven current option sets on potential wastewater treatment and sites, questions turned to whether or not Saanich was going independent in its sewage solution.

Atwell was not at the launch, but responded later, clarifying the comments are part of a 2016 year-long forecast.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, chair of the core area liquid wastewater management committee, responded to media questions about Atwell, saying “Saanich’s mayor is the co-chair of this committee, he is [part of] the CRD, we are the CRD, and every mayor has a prerogative to do what’s best for their community.”

“If the public looks at the voting record of [Oak Bay Mayor Nils] Jensen and Atwell they’ll see we are all voting together,” she added.

The public can now complete a 15-minute survey that explains seven options for core area wastewater solutions.

Within the new CRD survey are seven option sets for treating liquid waste. It is posted at coreareawastewater.ca, one of a few ways to provide  feedback. Information will be at all municipal halls, First Nations offices and the CRD storefront at 625 Fisgard St. from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Feb. 19, as well as community and public events.

Among the seven options are a two Rock Bay options with single plants, a two-plant option in Rock Bay and Colwood, two three-plant options in Esquimalt Nation, Rock Bay and Colwood, a four-plant option in Esquimalt Nation, Rock Bay, Colwood and East Saanich, and lastly a seven-plant option in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Rock Bay, East Saanich, Saanich Core and Esquimalt. They range in price from $1 billion to $1.3 billion.

Atwell was clear on Tuesday, just as he was following the CRD meeting on Jan. 14, that he’s disappointed with the current set of options available for the public to see.

“The options now don’t show any technology, and aren’t locked down on prices,” Atwell said.

However, Atwell said he’s willing to work with his fellow CRD directors for the time being.

“I’m not looking at [a Saanich solution] at this point in time, I was merely looking ahead [during the address].”

Atwell is firm in his belief that more technologies should be explored.

 

Eastside watewater open houses have been scheduled for:

Jan. 30, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Gordon Head United Church

Feb. 09, 6 to 8 p.m. at Burnside Gorge Community Centre

Feb. 10, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre

Feb. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the University of Victoria’s Cadboro Commons

Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to noon at Burnside Gorge Community Centre

 

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