Letter: Saanich fails politicians’ promise of open dialogue in CRD sewage site selection

Re: Saanich council rejects Watkiss Way sewage site in tight vote, saanichnews.com (June 23)

A month ago some concerned residents questioned the objectivity of information presented in the Eastside Technically Feasible Site Profiles released for discussion at roundtable meetings. Officials reassured us “that interrogating this information in a public setting, is the best thing that can happen. … it happens at the table, in real time, in front of the public.”

We were encouraged by this bold response, participated in the discussions along with many others and provided our feedback – believing once again in the integrity of the process. Now a majority of Saanich council has voted against a motion to consider a potential site on Watkiss Way put forward by its owner. This rejection is unfathomable! The reasons for denying the public its say flying in the face of the arguments made earlier for open and honest dialogue.

While I am opposed to a large single regional treatment plant, I believe this site should have been considered for the multitude of other opportunities it offered. This did not have to be a centralized facility with large pipes coming from downtown Victoria – it could have been a smaller distributed facility receiving sewage just from the Craigflower and Marigold pump stations; it could have been the site for a gasification and energy conversion site receiving residual solids from other treatment plants as well as organics; it could have been a demonstration site for the reuse of reclaimed resources from tertiary treatment facilities and a profitable vegetable operation.

Unfortunately this ill-considered decision by a few Saanich councilors has again denied the residents of this region the opportunity to consider innovative, forward-looking, broad-scope, outside-the-box solutions to our sewage problems.

Oscar RegierVictoria