Ever since the Capital Regional District’s 2012 decision to proceed with a wastewater mega project without scientific justification, I’ve had hopes – hopes that more than one of the directors on the board of the CALWMC will stand up for the truth. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all regulation is inappropriately obligating Victoria to spend big money on a small priority – and the province drank the Kool Aid.
Scientists on both sides of the international border have concluded more than once that Victoria’s current sewage treatment system is not cause for concern. The truth about it all is no secret to engineers at the CRD. However, around the wastewater table, the only truth that seems to be acceptable is the mandate requiring it to be done. And so, you propose to build the most expensive project in Greater Victoria’s history plus a multi-million dollar annual operating cost.
Imagine yourself as the head of a household with a limited budget and a number of urgent priorities. Would you spend the highest amount on the lowest priority? I doubt that you would. Yet that’s exactly what the CRD is doing with public money in the case of Victoria’s already functioning and proven wastewater system.
Yes, Washington state officials have made a political stink about Victoria’s wastewater. All the while, tourism in Victoria continues to grow. Their uninformed perspective is unimportant. What’s important is the truth and the leadership to stand by it.
The CRD is under threat of penalties for non compliance and that is understandable. So were high level officials and soldiers in Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Many knew that what they were doing was wrong. Their failure to challenge authority resulted in the deaths of millions of people. Blind obedience has led to many historical calamities, even in the face of the truth.
CRD directors were not elected to be like obedient children to federal and provincial parents or to please a neighbour state that knows not what they speak. They were elected to think independently and do the right thing for local citizens and the global environment. We count on the CRD to use our hard-earned tax money to address the highest priorities.
Challenges to inappropriate laws can be made – and they can be won. San Diego is a good example when it comes to wastewater regulations.
The CRD’s courage to challenge a flawed federal regulation could prevent Greater Victoria from wasting billions of dollars and most likely causing environmental degradation instead of perceived improvement. Think about it. It’s never too late.