Since directing the capital region to come up with a sewage treatment plan ten years ago, the province maintained a “hands off” attitude.
That changed today with a meeting today.
The minister responsible for community, sport and cultural development says he wants to help the CRD come up with a solution.
“In 2006, the Minister of Environment for British Columbia, requested that the CRD begin planning to upgrade its wastewater treatment.”
Ten years ago, the province mandated a sewage treatment plan for the region.
“And in December 31st, an amendment to the existing liquid waste management plan will be finalized.”
And now that plan is seven years overdue.
“I suggest we look at other alternatives.”
“Or are we still waiting to get some more detailed information?”
“And this committee is saying, no we don’t want to go to Rock Bay but at the outfall.”
“Here we are putting apples to oranges again.”
“The time for study is over.”
But after years of wrangling among regional politicians, the province is stepping in.
“We are not going to be imposing a solution or saying this is what you must do.
That’s not our job in this case.”
And the chair of the sewage committee, Victoria’s mayor, says she appreciates the assistance.
“The province is concerned. The province is concerned as I am concerned. I think the additional pressure from our colleagues in Washington State has helped to bring more attention to getting this done. And to taking a step forward.”
Last month, Washington’s House of Representatives voted in favour of restricting state travel to Victoria until a sewage treatment plant is operating.
There are also looming deadlines for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and provincial funding.
Fassbender says the province wants to facilitate a decision.
“We did want to do today is to say today is ‘can we help?’ And we’re prepared to come to the table with expertise that we might be able to bring in that discussion and facilitate that path.”
“OK, those opposed please.”
The help appears to be working. The committee voting for a dual plant option at Clover Point and either McLoughlin or Macaulay Plain in Esquimalt.