Taxpayer costs rise for sewage plant

CRD rushed to meet a deadline for a funding amount that totalled less than five per cent of the total estimated project cost

On Sept. 14, CRD directors voted 14-1 to approve the CRD Project Board’s omnibus recommendation to go with a single sewage plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, with my vote as mayor of Saanich as the only dissenting vote.

While media releases pointed to a McLoughlin-based project that cost less than the one that was abandoned by Seaterra in 2014, the cost sharing formula lay hidden in plain sight on Page 5 of the report.

The cost share for CRD taxpayers has risen from $281 million in 2014 to $311 million, and this $30 million increase has raised our contribution to 40 per cent.

At stake, if we missed the Sept. 30 deadline: $83 million in P3 Canada funding. However, when the final report was delivered to CRD directors and their taxpayers, this funding had suddenly shrunk to $36 million.

In other words, we rushed to meet a deadline for a funding amount that totalled less than five per cent of the total estimated project cost.

Why had a draft business case already carved up the costs into CRD, provincial and federal funding contributions, with P3 Canada saving $47 million and CRD taxpayers on the hook for a further $30 million, even before CRD directors could negotiate this with senior governments?

Fundamentally, as elected officials, we are here to protect the taxpayer, and as mayor, I must question the project board’s preferred procurement approach to deliver the McLoughlin wastewater plant.

It has now been revealed that the project board has been working with a single company and plans to sole-source the McLoughlin wastewater plant in spite of the fact that the CRD had previously qualified three competing consortiums to reduce costs for the taxpayer and who all bid in 2014.

If these companies were good enough for the CRD to qualify them to compete, why then has the competition been closed for a project that we are being told is “substantially different” from the earlier incarnation?

When I am asked by residents if this project is a done deal, I have to be brutally honest and reply yes with regard to the wastewater plant, however, the request for proposals (RFP) for the Hartland-situated sludge processing infrastructure has yet to be put out for RFP.

This half of the project – and it has always been this half – has the potential to return the highest social and environmental outcome and the greatest cost savings for taxpayers, but only if the RFP is part of an open procurement process and only if innovative technology is allowed to compete.

If the RFP once again, as it was in 2014, calls for the production of biogas, the costs will be staggering and we will simply be landfilling biosolids at great expense.

I firmly believe and have seen strong proof that $200 million in cost savings is at stake, and as a community we have to continue to be involved in this project and demand the best outcome from the CRD and project board and I will continue to do so as well as your representative.

Richard Atwell is the mayor of Saanich.

 

Just Posted

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read