Public ahead of politicians

The press has focused on the political decision-making on this issue, as if it was a given that the politicians are actually right

Thank you for doing the series on the sewage issue in Victoria. I have several comments, as follows.

First, the sequence of articles may be wrong if they don’t start by examining the rationale for treatment and the actual science that suggests there is very limited net benefit from it. It’s true that governments want treatment, but as has recently been pointed out by others, the environmental situation in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is clearly not high risk, but rather, quite low risk. Spending a billion dollars on a low-risk discharge seems like it bears investigation.

Second, the article on Halifax was interesting and useful, but the geography is not mentioned, and is relevant. Halifax is on a relatively narrow channel leading to an enclosed basin; not the same situation at all.  Also, the shoreline contamination there was resolved with treatment, but here, there are no plans to fix the actual culprits of that, the combined sewers in Oak Bay. So we could spend a billion dollars and still get shoreline contamination there.

The press has focused on the machinery of the political decision-making on this issue, as if it was accepted as given that the politicians are actually right, and know what they are talking about. To not be questioning the fundamentals of why they are so intent on pushing this project seems to me to be wasting a journalistic opportunity. I believe the public is way out ahead of the local politicians in understanding that spending a huge amount of public money for limited net benefit is simply unacceptable.

Brian Wilkes



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